P 142133Z SEP 01
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS PRIORITY
SPECIAL EMBASSY PROGRAM
POUCH AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
UNCLAS STATE 159440
VISAS -- INFORM CONSULS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS, CMGT
SUBJECT: K3/4 VISA PROCESSING AND REQUIREMENT FOR PANEL PHYSICIANS
REFTELS: A) STATE 57338 A) 9 FAM SECTION 42.66 N4. B) 97 STATE 240218
1. An ALDAC will be coming out shortly to provide an update on K visa processing. Because K3 visas must be issued in the same foreign state in which the marriage occurred, many posts that do not issue IVs will be required to issue K3s and K4s and will need panel physicians equipped to perform the standard IV medical exam.
2. Any post that does not have a panel physician should appoint one as soon as possible. Consular officers have the authority to appoint panel physicians without prior approval from the Department. The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) recommends that consular officers, in selecting panel physicians, seek the advice of the local medical community, medical associations in the area, and any U.S. Government physicians who may be available locally. RMOs may provide advice when there are no medical resources at Post.
3. Basic criteria include the physicians satisfactory completion of medical education and possession of a medical degree from an accredited medical school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that the consular officer should request and verify two professional references from the physician. A hospital facility may be used, if appropriate, if one or two physicians are designated as responsible and accountable for the medical examinations of all the visa applicants. Medical examination forms must be completed in English so the physican should write and speak English. USPHS recommends that the physician have special competence in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with tuberculosis and venereal disesases and should be able to recognize mental illness. The physician should have reliable X-ray facilities or access to such facilities and should be able to make arrangements for laboratory work to be performed by a laboratory of recognized competence. The panel physician should sign an agreement with the consular officer to provide services for one year.
4. The consular office should monitor the services and facilities provided by the panel physician. (Again, the RMO may be able to assist with monitoring.) CDC teams visit selected posts periodically to evaluate panel physicians. RMOs and consular officers are welcome to join them. As a monitoring device, some posts are conducting periodic exit interviews regarding procedures used in the medical exam. When applicants come to pick up their immigrant visas, officers pose a series of questions about the exam that CDC developed.
5. Consular officers who are not familiar with the IV medical exam requirements and forms should review the steps outlined in 9 FAM 42.66 N4 and the procedural notes for 42.66. 97 State 240218 discusses working with M/MED on panel physician selection and monitoring. In addition to the current FAM notes, CDC and VO have drafted a more detailed guide to selecting panel physicians that includes a detailed checklist for monitoring the Medical Exam for Immigrant Visas. This document, entitled "How to Select a Panel Physician and Monitor the Medical Examination for Immigrant Visas," will be circulated via the next Consular E-Zine and added as a FAM Exhibit.
6. Posts with questions may contact CA/VO/F/P for more information regarding establishing and monitoring a panel physician program.