To become a permanent resident of the United States, you have to pass an immigration exam. The purpose of the immigration exam is to screen for medical conditions outlined by the U.S. Public Health Service.

This article provides a quick overview of what an immigration exam is and what you can expect during the examination.

What is the immigration exam?

When you apply for a green card, an immigration medical examination is done to help ensure that foreign nationals meet the health standards required to enter the U.S.

Ultimately, the immigration exam is supposed to help protect the health of U.S. citizens. There are four health conditions that may result in the denial of your application, these include1:

  • A communicable disease of public health significance
  • Failed to receive the necessary vaccinations
  • A physical or mental disorder associated with harmful behavior that is likely to reoccur
  • Drug abuse or addiction

Who can perform an immigration exam?

If you need an immigration exam, you can’t go to any doctor. An immigration exam performed in the U.S. must be done by an immigration doctor, known as a civil surgeon. Civil surgeons are authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).2

Exams performed outside of the United States must be performed by a panel physician who is authorized by the Department of State.

What is examined during an immigration exam?

An immigration exam is not a full physical exam. The civil surgeon is evaluating you for specific medical conditions outlined by the U.S. government. The exam includes a mental status examination to assess intelligence, thought, comprehension, judgment, mood, and behavior.  The civil surgeon will also perform a physical examination that includes an exam of your eyes, ears, throat, nose, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, and skin.3

You can expect the physician to examine your past medical records and vaccination records. Required vaccinations at the time of writing include4:

  • COVID-19
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Influenza type b (Hib)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal
  • Mumps
  • Pneumococcal
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
  • Varicella

Those over the age of 15 typically require blood work for three infectious diseases:

  • Quantiferon Blood Test: Screen for Tuberculosis
  • RPR Blood Test. Screening for Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea Urine Test: Screening for Gonorrhea

After the immigration medical exam, the civil surgeon will complete the I-693 Form and put the form in a sealed envelope for you to submit to USCIS.

What documents should I bring to an immigration exam?

  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • Government-issued photo ID such as a valid passport or driver’s license
  • Vaccination records
  • Medical records
  • Health insurance card
  • Payment for exams

Preparing for your immigration exam

If you are currently applying for a green card or considering applying, there are things you can do to prepare for your immigration exam. Start by gathering all relevant documentation related to your medical and vaccination history, and then be prepared to answer the civil surgeon’s questions honestly. You can locate an immigration doctor near you by using a locator tool.


  1. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Inadmissibility and Waivers. Accessed April 22, 2023.
  2. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Designated Civil Surgeons. Accessed April 22, 2023.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical History and Physical Examination. Accessed April 22, 2023.
  4. Travel.State.Gov. Medical Examinations FAQs. Accessed April 22, 2023.

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