Everything You Need to Know About The USCIS Medical Exam

Applying for a green card (either within or outside the United States) to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) can be a lengthy and complicated process full of paperwork and extended waiting periods. However, you may not know that the process also involves a specialized medical examination that’s required for green card application approval.

Related: Immigration Interview Questions You Need to Know

What is the USCIS Medical Exam? 

A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) medical exam– also frequently referred to as an immigration medical exam– is essential for the immigration process. A government-authorized doctor must conduct the exam- either a civil surgeon if you’re applying for a green card from inside the country or a panel physician authorized by the State Department if you’re applying from outside the country. The medical exam consists of several parts, including;

  • A medical history and immunization record review
  • A physical evaluation (including a blood and urine test)
  • A mental evaluation
  • A drug and alcohol screening
  • Several tests for various illnesses and diseases 

The doctor will also ask questions regarding any current prescription medication you’re taking, along with information on your past and present drug and alcohol use. 

What is the Exam Used For?

A doctor and woman talking during her USCIS medical exam.

The immigration medical exam is done with the intent to help U.S. officials screen out applicants who have certain health conditions or an inability to work. Some of the most common health conditions that can result in a denial of someone’s green card application include;

Related: When Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer?

How and When Should I Schedule the Medical Exam?

The process of scheduling your immigrant medical exam is different depending on if you’re applying inside or outside the United States.

If You’re Applying Within the United States

Those who apply for a green card from within the U.S. have two options when it comes to scheduling their immigration medical exam;

Option 1

Your first option (typically called “concurrent filing”) involves scheduling your exam when you begin the green card application process and then including the exam results when you submit your application. If you select this option, your exam results form (I-693) must be signed by a civil surgeon within 60 days of submitting your application.

Option 2

Your second option is to schedule your medical exam after filing your green card application. If you select this particular option, you’ll need to submit your exam results to either the USCIS or bring them with you to your green card interview. If you select this option, your exam results will be valid for up to four years from when your doctor signed the exam form. 

Please note that the documents are usually only valid for two years from when the doctor signs them. However, the USCIS has temporarily extended the validity to account for processing delays resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Whether you select option one or two, you’ll want to contact the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 or visit the Find a Doctor webpage to locate an authorized physician in your local area and schedule your exam appointment. Be sure to let the doctor know you are specifically attempting to schedule an exam for the immigration process. 

If You’re Appling Outside the United States

Woman signing up for a USCIS  medical exam

Individuals applying for a green card from outside the United States are only permitted to schedule their medical exam once they receive their green card interview appointment letter. They will then need to search for their local U.S. embassy or consulate to find a list of doctors authorized to perform the exam in their particular country. Exam results provided in this situation will be valid for up to six months. 

Are you currently seeking expert legal advice regarding your immigration questions or concerns? We at Brudner Law understand the importance of your unique situation and are ready and eager to help you move forward with your immigration-related cases, so please get in touch with us today if you live in the Orange County area.

How Should You Prepare for the Immigration Medical Exam?

To prepare for your immigration medical exam effectively, there are several documents and items you’ll need to collect so you can bring them to the physician performing the exam. You’ll need to bring;

  • Payment for the medical exam
  • A government-issued photo ID
  • Your health insurance card (if you possess one)
  • Form I-693 (if you’re applying from within the U.S.)
  • Your green card interview appointment letter (if you’re applying from outside the U.S.)
  • A letter from your regular doctor that outlines any medical problems you may have
  • A copy of your medical history (including your immunization records)
  • Copies of any previously taken chest X-rays

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Biometrics Appointment

After Your Immigration Medical Exam

Doctor smiling at his office

If you’re applying from within the U.S., the civil surgeon will have you sign the exam results form and give you the results in a sealed envelope (do not open the envelope or break the seal). If you’re applying from outside the U.S., the doctor will either give you the envelope or send it directly to the U.S. embassy or consulate. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions About The USCIS Medical Exam

  1. How long does the USCIS medical exam take?

The exam takes between 1-10 days to complete due to the blood and urine testing. The process may take longer if any of your tests come back positive. To help ensure that the process takes as little time as possible, please ensure you bring all of the documents detailed above when you attend your exam appointment.

  1. How much does the USCIS medical exam cost?

The cost of the medical exam can vary depending on several factors, such as your location and medical provider. Individuals have reported paying anywhere from $100 and $500, but the typical exam cost is usually around $200. 

  1. Can I eat before the USCIS medical exam?

You can eat before the USCIS medical exam, as the blood tests involved don’t require you to fast beforehand. 

Final Thoughts and Considerations to Keep in Mind

Thank you for taking time out of your day to explore the contents of this article and educate yourself on the various ins and outs of the USCIS medical exam. For more information on different parts of the immigration, green card, or U.S. citizenship application process, please consider reaching out and booking a consultation with our team of trusted legal experts here at Brudner Law today if you live in or near Orange County area. Also, don’t forget to explore our wide range of expertly crafted educational resources to help further expand your knowledge on critical elements regarding the immigration process here in the United States. 

Do you require the help of an experienced, trustworthy immigration lawyer to help you navigate your immigration-related cases? Our team of experts here at Brudner Law is ready and eager to help you move forward, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today at 714.794.9366.