U.S. IMMIGRATION MEDICAL EXAM
The green card medical examination is a crucial part of the immigration application process and is required for all family members seeking a green card under U.S. immigration law. The exam, to be completed by a government-authorized doctor, consists of several parts:
1. A review of the medical history and immunization records;
2. A physical and mental evaluation;
3. Drug and alcohol screening;
4. Tests for various diseases and illnesses.
The point of the green card medical exam is to ensure that the persons seeking a green card has no health condition that could make them “inadmissible” to the United States — meaning they’re ineligible to receive a green card.
HOW MUCH WILL THE U.S. IMMIGRATION MEDICAL EXAM COST?
The cost of the medical exam varies significantly by location and provider. It may cost between USD $100 and USD $400, but USD $200 is the average.
USCIS AND COVID-19 VACCINATION REQUIREMENT FOR IMMIGRATION MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS
Starting on October 1, 2021, any applicant for lawful permanent residence (LPR) and other categories that require the immigration medical examination must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. USCIS will implement this requirement by mandating proof of fully vaccinated status before a USCIS-approved civil surgeon can complete an immigration medical examination and sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record on behalf of an applicant.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, that it is updating its policy guidance to incorporate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) August 17, 2021 instructions to civil surgeons. That update requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to be “fully” vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, this means having received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. Applicants will be required to provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination.
The immigration medical examination is most commonly required of lawful permanent residence (“green card”) applicants to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under health-related grounds. USCIS designates eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform this immigration medical examination for applicants within the United States and to document the results. Failure to have completed the vaccination could result in a denial of the lawful permanent residence application by USCIS. This change adds COVID-19 to the list of diseases against which lawful permanent residence applicants must be vaccinated.
USCIS may grant a blanket waiver of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for applicants based on one of the following conditions:
1. The applicant is below a certain age and should not receive the vaccine;
2. The applicant cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition; or
3. Vaccines are not routinely available or are in limited supply where the civil surgeon practices.
In addition to the blanket waivers that may be implemented by USCIS, applicants may also apply for an individual waiver based on religious beliefs or moral convictions by submitting Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
The COVID-19 vaccine joins the list of other vaccines (including, among others, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, and diphtheria) that have long been necessary for immigration. Vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases has been required by federal statute since 1996 for every immigrant seeking entry or seeking to adjust status to legal permanent resident.
For now, the United States has accepted three COVID-19 vaccines, but that may be changed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as time goes on. ACIP is a group of 15 experts who make recommendations to CDC.
NEW RULE: CITIZENSHIP APPLICANTS MUST SHOW PROOF OF COVID-19 VACCINES
In yet another effort to prompt more vaccinations by the Biden administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced, that anyone applying for U.S. citizenship must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
UNITED STATES TO LIFT TRAVEL BAN FOR VACCINATED FOREIGN NATIONALS IN EARLY NOVEMBER
The White House announced on Monday, September 20, 2021, that in early November 2021, it intends to end the COVID-19 travel bans imposed in 2020 and replace them with vaccination and COVID-19 testing requirements for almost all travelers.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED TO APPLY FOR VISA STAMPS AT U.S. CONSULATES
U.S. consulates and embassies around the world are currently operating at reduced staffing levels, under stringent COVID-19 restrictions, and facing mounting case backlogs, while complying with Department of State directives to prioritize immigrant visa petitions over non-immigrant visa petitions.
The fact that the travel bans are going to be lifted does not mean that visa issuance is suddenly going to return to pre-travel-ban processing rates. The consulates will continue to struggle for quite some time under the burdens identified above, which means there will continue to be substantial delays in visa appointment scheduling.
The current process for visa issuance at most consulates requires the scheduling of an appointment several months in the future, followed by a request to expedite the appointment based on the need for immediate travel and a credible showing of NIE eligibility. Inability to prove NIE eligibility results in a denial of the expedite request. Once the travel bans have been lifted and the NIE requirement has been eliminated, this expedite process will have to be modified, but how that will occur has not yet been identified.
We recommend anyone who needs to obtain a visa from a U.S. consulate (including those who have been denied visas due to NIE ineligibility) should arrange, as soon as possible, to schedule an appointment, even if that appointment ends up being set for after the first of the year. While they will probably not be able to submit an expedite request until after the bans have been lifted, they will at least have an appointment in place for the purposes of an expedite request when possible.
Even if the expedite request is ultimately denied, these applicants will still have an appointment in place, which will take place much sooner than if they had waited until November to schedule it. In November, many are going to realize for the first time that the bans on travel no longer exist, and having an appointment scheduled now should put you in front of the flood of appointment requests the consulates will see as a result.
ALLOW US TO MEET YOUR IMMIGRATION NEEDS
Many green card applicants get nervous about medical exam, and that’s normal. But there’s no need to worry! Adequate preparation can make the entire medical exam less traumatic and also help you avoid any issues that could delay or cause denial of your green card application. Also, it’s rare to fail the medical exam. And even if you do have a condition that might complicate your green card application, you can often request a waiver.
QICMS provides valuable opportunities for foreign investors and their families members to obtain permanent U.S. residency (GreenCard) through the EB-5 Program.
Interested in moving to the U.S.? Our firm will help you find a legitimate Regional Center to maximize your probability of success through the EB-5 program. We will guide you every step of the application process, straight through to obtaining your unconditional permanent residence. Contact us today.
We will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available. If you have any questions about this new vaccination requirements, available to assist you.
For more information on the U.S. EB-5 program, please click here.
Please fill out our Free Assessment, and find out if you qualify under any of the business immigration programs offered.