What is an Immigration Medical Exam?

Immigration can be complex and time-consuming, though understanding the process makes it much less imposing. There are multiple types of entry classifications, each with different rules–but perhaps the most common requirement is a medical examination.

In this article, we’ll explain the exam process, including what to expect and how to prepare.


Medical Examination Definition for Immigration

The exam used for immigration purposes is not the same as a regular health exam.

The immigration medical examination definition actually means a screening rather than a typical trip to a doctor. This exam is meant to keep the existing population safe from communicable diseases and other health risks.

In this exam, you will only be tested for conditions specified by immigration rules: the doctor will not appraise your general health or make health-related recommendations. Although you don’t need to be completely healthy to pass this exam, you cannot suffer from communicable diseases, drug addictions, or mental disorders.


Who performs the exam?

You can’t just go to any doctor for this medical examination.

If it is conducted within the US, the exam must be performed by a specially-designated immigration doctor called a civil surgeon, who has been approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Medical examinations for US immigration conducted outside of the country are performed by a panel physician designated by the Department of State. For example, Canadian immigration exams are handled by CIC panel physicians instead of civil surgeons.


The Immigration Process

Temporary immigrants typically receive a visa, which is a conditional authorization that comes with a limit on visiting dates, length of stay, territories allowed, or other residential privileges. A “green card” is issued to permanent US residents, who can then live and work domestically without these restrictions.

Green card applicants use an i485 application. USCIS officials normally require an interview as the last step before determination. You will want to review the requirements and learn from those with i485 interview experience. Be aware this is only the application, not the medical exam itself. Those who prepare well for their i485 interview experience fewer issues.

There are many different kinds of immigration authorization. Here are common examples:

Employment-Based (EB) Immigration

There are 5 employment-based visa categories for workers with job skills, all of which can lead to permanent residency. The EB3 requirements apply to professionals, skilled workers, and other workers—each of the categories have separate requirements. You can fulfill EB3 requirements with many skill profiles.

Diversity Immigrants (DV) Visa

This program is a lottery system which gamifies the system to help avoid overt ranking, and allows participants to “win” their chance to gain a Permanent US Residency Card. You will still need to pass a DV medical screening and follow other admission processes. A DV medical exam is the same as for regular admission.

Fiance Visa Medical Exam

The K1 exam is meant for your fiancé, as it allows immigrants to marry and live in the US. The fiance visa medical exam is the same as for other immigration purposes, but the process is separate and uses different documentation. It is important to review the rules surrounding the K1 to avoid any possibility of deportation—which means permanent separation from the country.


Outside the US

Each nation has its own immigration policies.

None of the terms or regulations are universal, so it is crucial to look into the laws governing the country you are considering.

For example, Australia requires a 501 medical examination for permanent residence. In fact, Australia requires two different tests: the 501 medical examination and a 502 Chest X-ray.

Canada’s system normally uses CIC panel physi