Medical examination by a civil surgeon in the United States

Last update: March 15, 2018

What is the goal of the medical examination?

To determine whether there is a health ground of inadmissibility against the applicant. Applicants who are inadmissible are not permitted by law to enter or remain in the United States, and therefore cannot be granted a green card.


What are the health grounds of inadmissibility?

  • Having a communicable disease of public health significance such as chancroids; gonorrhea; granuloma inguinale; infectious leprosy; lymphogranuloma venereum; infectious syphilis; and active tuberculosis.
  • Having failed to receive necessary vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases: the list of required vaccines is determined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and can be found here.
  • Having a physical or mental disorder combined with a harmful behavior (harmful behavior is a threat to the property, safety or welfare of the applicant or others.
  • Being a drug abuser or addict: drug (substance) abuse of or addiction (medically called dependence) to opiates, opium derivatives, hallucinogenic substances, depressants, stimulants, cannabimimetic agents, substances

What are the main aspects covered?

Because the medical exam is looking for grounds of inadmissibility, it will make sure that the applicant:

  • Has all required vaccinations
  • Has not been infected with a serious contagious disease
  • Is not abusing drugs or addicted to drugs
  • Does not have a physical or mental disorder

Can the exam be carried out by any doctor?

No. The exam must be carried out by a civil surgeon approved by the U.S. government for such purposes.


How do applicants going through adjustment of status find an approved doctor?

Use the Find a Doctor application put together by USCIS. Enter your address or ZIP code to find a doctor near you here.


What should the applicant bring to the medical exam?

At least the following:

  • Full vaccination or immunization records (or be prepared to have the necessary vaccinations on the spot)
  • Passport (or travel document)
  • 3 photographs

What should the applicant expect during the medical exam?

  • Physical examination.
  • Review of medical history through a series of questions.
  • Collection of a blood sample to be used for various tests, including drug, syphilis and others.

What will the doctor do?

  • Determine whether or not there is the basis of a green card denial on medical grounds, for instance because of a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Decide whether the individual’s condition and behavior “posed or is likely to pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others.”
  • Combine all documentation (vaccination record, forms, x-rays) to create a file.
  • Give the results to the applicant to take to the visa interview or send the results directly to the U.S. embassy or consulate.