Getting Ready for your Immigration Physical or INS
An immigration physical for a United States green card can be done in only two appointments with the right groundwork. Find a qualified doctor in your area.
If you are applying for a green card or change to immigration status, it is time to complete an immigration physical, or INS. You may use the physical results to attain a green card up to one year after the appointment. The doctor will only be looking for a few specific conditions and diseases. Having a cold or common communicable disease will not prevent you from attaining a green card. In fact, certain diseases such as HIV/AIDS have been taken off the list, making it possible for more people than ever to pass their immigration physical.
Some conditions and diseases will prevent immigration such as tuberculosis (if active), leprosy (if contagious), and certain venereal diseases. Individuals with mental and physical disorders or addictions that are considered dangerous will require special consideration. Each case is considered individually, but cases have been denied because of DUIs as well as a history of violence. It is also necessary to acquire the necessary vaccinations, though these can be taken care of during the immigration physical process.
Only a small group of doctors inside and outside the United States are qualified to provide immigration physicals. These doctors receive special training on immigration issues and are versed in all the immigration requirements. In the US, they are called civil surgeons. Outside the US, they are called panel physicians. To find a doctor by zip code, visit https://my.uscis.gov/findadoctor.
You will need:
Government ID – A photo ID provided by a national government, not a state or a school. State driver’s licenses do not qualify. A good example is a passport.
Immunization record – A full list of immunizations (vaccines). A list of required vaccines for approval can be found deeper in the article.
Form 1-693 – You may begin filling out this form before the appointment, or you may receive one at the physical exam visit. It must be in English. Do not sign or seal the form. The doctor will help you complete the form.
You may also need:
Alien registration number – If you have an alien registration number (starting with letter A), you will need to provide it.
Medical records – Information provided by a doctor regarding any chronic or serious medical problems, daily prescriptions. Information regarding any special needs including special education requirements. In most cases, these records must be provided in the English language, if requested. If you have had a positive tuberculosis test, you must provide information including the diagnosis, prescription type and dosage, written certification from the doctor of adequate treatment, and the most recent x-ray if any were taken.
If you have tested positive for syphilis, you will need written certification from a doctor that the disease was treated adequately.
Mental health history – You must provide documentation of the diagnosis, treatment, and progress regarding mental health or substance abuse problems.
If you have ever engaged in harmful behavior that endangered people, animals, or property, you will need information provided by a doctor regarding what may be the underlying cause (mental illness, substance influence, etc).
If you have ever been hospitalized for mental health problems, information from a doctor will be required regarding the diagnosis, length of stay, and progress.
At the doctor:
The full exam takes two days to complete. On the first day, you will be given a tuberculosis test on the surface of your skin. It will create a lump on your skin for a few days but is usually not irritating or itchy. 2-3 days later, the doctor will check the lump for signs of tuberculosis. (Applicants under the age of 2 can skip the tuberculosis test.) It is important to avoid touching the lump or else the process may need to be repeated. If the test comes out positive, you will be given an x-ray to see whether the disease is active. Many people have inactive tuberculosis but are unaffected by it.
Just like in an ordinary physical exam, the doctor will check your eyes, ears, nose, throat, heart, lungs, abdomen, extremities, genitalia, lymph nodes, and skin. If you are over 14 years old, your blood will be tested for syphilis.
The doctor will also fill in any gaps in your vaccination history. The requirements are based on your age, and may include the following:
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
Varicella (chicken pox)
Influenza/flu (if during flu season)
Hepatitis A and B
Meningococcal, pneumococcal, pertussis, polio
When you receive the completed Form 1-693, do not open it or break the seal in any way. You may have to hand-carry the form to apply for a green card or immigration status change, or it may be transported for you by the embassy. In either case, any signs of tampering mean starting again at square one.
With 10 locations throughout Broward County, FL Senior Medical Associates is a convenient solution to INS needs. Call (954) 659-9690 for more information or to schedule your appointment.