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Immigration Medical Examination

Almost all green card applicants need a medical examination as a part of their application. Whether you are adjusting status or consular processing, this examination must be done by a designated civil surgeon.

Preventing Spread of Disease

The United States wants to control the spread of dangerous diseases. The government is also concerned about physical or mental illnesses that might lead to dangerous behavior and could harm people. Therefore, if you are applying for a U.S. green card, you must have a medical examination by a physician who is approved by Immigration. These physicians are called designated civil surgeons. Your medical examination cannot be done by your own physician or through your health insurance.

Where can I Find a Civil Surgeon?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a list on their website where you can find a civil surgeons in your area. If you are consular processing, your consulate will list the civil surgeons in your area.

Up-to-Date Vaccinations

The civil surgeon will ask for proof of vaccinations for certain diseases or will give you the vaccinations at your exam. However, vaccinations from a civil surgeon can be really expensive. You can save money by getting the vaccinations from your own doctor and using your health insurance.

If you have already had your vaccinations but can’t find any record of it, you can get a blood test called a titer. It looks for antibodies in your blood, and if the antibodies for a diseases are present, then you do not need a vaccination. But if you use your health insurance to get the vaccinations, you need to wait at least a month before going to the civil surgeon.

Controlled Substances

The civil surgeon may also examine you for any controlled substances. Remember, even if marijuana is legal in your home state, the United States federal government still considers it illegal.


The civil surgeon will give you the results of your examination in a sealed envelope. DO NOT OPEN IT! If you are consular processing, the civil surgeon may give you the results or they may send them directly to the consulate.

Refugees and Fiance Visas

If you are a refugee or came to the United States on a Fiance visa, you will have had a medical examination before you arrived. However, you will still need to have a medical examination in the United States to ensure that your vaccinations are up to date. Again, you can save money by getting the titer or vaccinations through your health insurance before going to the civil surgeon.

Check the Timing of Your Medical Examination

Depending on your Immigration application, your medical examination will be valid for a certain period of time. For the most up to date information, please check the policy manual at

Last updated: 5-7-2019

Immigration law is always changing. We will do our best to keep our website as up-to-date as possible, but the latest information might be more readily available at These pages were written to help you better understand your legal options, however, none of the information published by Catholic Charities Milwaukee should be considered legal advice. If you plan to open your own immigration case, hire an immigration attorney to consult you personally.