Saturday, March 28, 2009

US Immigration: Medical Examination - What do they look for?

I thought I'd post it here for quick reference when someone asks me what do medical examiners actually look for when they are examining immigrants/aliens prior to going to the USA for immigration purposes.

Below is a set of guidelines that tells the medical examiners specifically what to look for:

If you are planning to immigrate and are having medical exam, having a high BP is not a reason for you to be banned from immigrating to the US, although the doctors will feel safer to "clear" you if you are being managed appropriately, taking your medications, and your BP is controlled. That way, even if you suddenly suffer from a stroke on your first day upon setting a foot on the US soils, the medical examiner will not be apprehended for "clearing" you.

However, the major concerns are:
1. Communicable diseases - Tuberculosis is easily transmittable. However, if just diagnosed, based usually on x-ray (presents as nodule at the apex), then you will be required to have treatment for 9 mos, but they can clear you, I believe, as early as after two weeks upon starting treatment, but you have to continue treatments.
2. STDs - HIV, AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, etc. Of course, there is no treatment yet for HIV or AIDS so don't bother if you have this. With other treatable STDs, have them treated first.
3. Mental or Psychological issues - No to drug abuse! Psychological problems that will pose threat to the public safety or yours (e.g. suicidal, homicidal tendencies), or will be a burden (I believe mental retardation used to be a factor to prevent one from coming to the US since this will be of so much burden to the government, but I did not find that anymore in the guidelines, probably it is now acceptable unless there is homicidal/suicidal/violent tendency).

Of course, vaccination requirements must also be met as part of preventive measures of the government, especially for minor immigrants.

For a full set of information, check out

Now, if you are already in the US and is currently applying for permanent residency, you will probably need another medical exam (or not; I believe it depends on how long you had the last medical exam done by panel physician), here is the link to the guidelines that medical examiners use to examine the applicant:

DEFINITION of TERMS in my simple words:
Panel physicians are the medical examiners in the Philippines designated by US embassy to conduct your medical screening prior to immigration
Civil surgeons are the medical examiners in the US designated by US embassy to conduct your medical screening prior to approval of your application for permanent residency or citizenship(?)

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