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The Immigrant Visa Process

Interview Preparation - Medical Examination FAQs

General Questions

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Are children required to have chest x-rays or blood tests?

Chest X-ray and blood tests are not usually required for children under the age of fifteen.

What if the applicant has an intellectual or learning disability?

Applicants with an intellectual or learning disability must present a report of their condition and any special educational or supervision requirements.

What is the legal basis for requesting medical information for visa applicants?

Medical eligibility is a requirement of INA Sections 212(a) and 221(d). Failure to provide required information may cause delay or denial of immigrant visas. If an immigrant visa is not issued, all medical eligibility forms will be treated as confidential under INA Section 222(f).

What should the applicant expect at the medical examination?

The applicant must show his/her passport (or other photo identification) and appointment letter to the doctor during the medical examination.

The medical examination will include a medical history review, physical examination, chest X-ray and blood tests for syphilis.

The physical examination will at least include examination of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin and external genitalia.

In some countries, the panel physician will send the results to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate directly. In other countries, the panel physician will give the applicant his/her medical exam results in a sealed envelope and an x-ray which the applicant must bring to the interview.

Note:  The medical examination is not a complete physical examination. Its purpose is to screen for certain medical conditions relevant to U.S. immigration law. The panel physician is not required to examine you for any conditions except those the U.S. Public Health Service specifies for U.S. immigration purposes, nor is the physician required to provide you with diagnosis or treatment even though other matters related to your health might be discovered. This examination is not a substitute for a full physical examination, consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by your primary health care provider.

Medical Conditions/History

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What if the applicant had a positive tuberculosis skin test?

Applicants with a previous positive skin test for tuberculosis should provide a certificate from the attending doctor (giving the circumstances of the positive test result, and indicating any treatment prescribed, and its duration) to the panel physician. If the applicant has ever been diagnosed with tuberculosis, the applicant must present a written certification, signed by the attending doctor, proving that the applicant was adequately treated. The certificate must include dates and types of medications taken. Applicants who ever had an abnormal chest X-ray should borrow the last X-ray films taken and bring them to the panel physician. The actual films, not the typed reports, may be required to compare with the X-rays that will be taken at the medical examination.

What if the applicant had syphilis?

Applicants who have had syphilis must present the panel doctor with a written certificate, signed by a doctor or public health official, proving that the applicant was adequately treated. Applicants who ever had a positive VDRL or other blood test for syphilis, and were not treated must give a written explanation signed by the applicant’s doctor to the panel physician.

If the applicant is pregnant must she have a chest x-ray?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that women who are pregnant and required to have a medical examination in connection with the issuance of a visa, and are examined in a country currently using the 2007 TB Technical Instructions must have a chest x-ray examination conducted. Pregnant women will have to provide the panel physician with consent to conduct the chest x-ray. For the health of the applicant and her unborn child, CDC instructs panel physicians and laboratories to provide abdominal and pelvic protection with double layer, wrap-around lead shields when they receive the chest radiographs. 

What if the applicant has a history of harmful or violent behavior?

Applicants with any history of harmful or violent behavior resulting in injury to people or animals, or harm to inanimate objects must provide information that will allow the panel physician to determine if the behavior was related to a psychiatric or medical problem, or to drug or alcohol use. Harmful behavior includes attempted suicide or self-harm, no matter how minor in nature.

What if the applicant has been treated or hospitalized for psychiatric or mental illness, or alcohol or drug abuse?

Applicants treated or hospitalized for psychiatric or mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse must present written certification including the diagnosis, duration of treatment rendered, and prognosis.

What if the applicant is being treated for a chronic medical condition or is taking medication on a regular basis?

Applicants being treated for chronic medical conditions, or those taking medications on a regular basis, should be familiar with the medical conditions being treated, and the names of the medications they are taking. Applicants unsure of their diagnoses must present a certificate describing the condition(s), the current treatment, and prognosis with a list of prescribed medications.

Can the applicant have a medical examination if she is having her menstrual period?

Yes, the applicant may have the examination even if she is having her menstrual period.

Physicians

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Can the applicant have his/her physician perform the medical examination?

The medical examination must be performed by an approved panel physician.

Can the medical examination take place in the United States if the applicant is pursuing a visa application abroad while physically present in the United States?

Visa medical examinations may not be conducted in the United States. An alien pursuing a visa application abroad while physically present in the United States must have the medical examination conducted by a panel physician approved by the visa issuing U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

Vaccinations

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What vaccinations are required?

The following vaccinations are required for immigration purposes:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Influenza type b (Hib)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal
  • Mumps
  • Penumococcal
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
  • Varicella

For the Panel Physician Technical Instructions relating to the vaccination requirements, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

What do I do if the applicant does not have a vaccination record?

The panel physician will work with the applicant to determine which vaccinations the applicant may need to meet vaccination requirements.

What if there is a medical reason for the applicant to not receive a listed vaccination?

Certain waivers of the vaccination requirement are available upon the recommendation of the panel physician.

Who's Involved

U.S. Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy or Consulate, nearest your residence abroad, where you will apply and be interviewed for your U.S. visa.

Find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your area