Migration is now a global phenomenon, and it is seen as a social determinant of health. It influences not only the physical vulnerability of individuals but also their mental and social well-being. The high rates of morbidity and mortality among migrants have resulted in the creation of stringent immigration medical exams.
The examination is a prerequisite by the U.S. immigration law for every applicant looking to become a permanent resident. The exam aims to identify inadmissible health-related conditions that tend to impact the well-being of migrants and, in turn, affect the host communities. Such conditions include persons with an infectious disease of public health significance, physical or mental disorder associated with harmful behavior, and persons who fail to show proof of having received vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases.
The physical exam includes checking out the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. It also involves examining the heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin, and private parts. While children under the age of 15 are exempted from X-ray and blood test requirements, a chest X-ray and blood test, which check for syphilis, are also required for adults.
When to Get an Immigration Physical
The applicant’s location will determine the scheduling process for the exam and the validity period of the results.
An applicant applying from within the United States can either schedule an appointment with a designated civil surgeon before initiating the application and file the result alongside the application (concurrent filing) or after applying.
- The applicant had already undertaken the exam and submitted the result with the application (concurrent filing). The medical exam results form must be signed by a civil surgeon within a period not more than 60 days before the application was submitted.
- Suppose the exam was done after the submission of the application. In that case, the applicant can either send the result to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS or present the exam result on the interview day.
Therefore, an applicant must have carried out the medical exam before the scheduled date for the interview.
If the applicant is applying from abroad, the State Department explicitly instructs applicants not to schedule their medical exam until they have been notified of their interview date.
The United States immigration law requires only a certified medical doctor to examine each applicant for health conditions that may be considered public health concerns and also to prove they are vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases.
The vaccination required include:
- Hepatitis A & B
However, in cases where an applicant doesn’t have a vaccination record, the panel physician will determine which vaccinations are required for the applicant to meet vaccination requirements.
In addition to the requirement of proof of vaccination, an applicant would also undergo a physical screening to examine the body’s organs. Some tests are carried out; blood test and X-ray.
A mental screening is also conducted to check for a record of mental illness, and questions about his medical history might be asked.