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When you decide that you would like to gain entrance and citizenship into the United States, you’ll be required to undergo, and pass a physical exam. The reason this physical is needed is to ensure your admission to the United States by verifying you don’t pose a public health risk.

The caveat is that you cannot simply go to your doctor for your physical examination, you must go to a civil surgeon who has been designated and approved by the immigration department. These surgeons are qualified to treat and perform green card physicals, and they receive specially designed training.

A Civil Surgeon’s Exam

The physician will speak with you and ask questions about your medical history, review your vaccination history, perform a physical examination, a blood test, and a chest X-ray. Normally kids under 15 won’t be given blood tests or X-ray procedures.

The X-ray may possibly be considered for a postponement if you are pregnant, though this can depend on which country you are coming from. There are different regulations for different circumstances.

During the physical portion of the examination, the doctor will, at the very least, examine your eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin, and external genitalia. How these tests go will determine the vaccines you’ll need to receive to gain entry to the United States.

The vaccines you’ll need to satisfy include, but are not limited to:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Influenza (type B as well)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal
  • Mumps
  • Pneumococcal
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
  • Varicella

What to Expect

You shouldn’t expect this to be a full medical exam. The immigration doctor will actually only be checking for things that could get your admission to the United States denied. There is a federal list that can be found here that includes communicable diseases that are of significance. Among them are active tuberculosis, certain venereal diseases, and infectious leprosy.

You may not become a citizen if you suffer from physical or mental disorders with a behavior or history associated with any disorder that may pose a threat, property, safety, or welfare of other aliens or something that may recur or possibly lead to more harmful behavior. It should be noted that a conviction of driving while intoxicated has been and is currently being interpreted to signify inadmissibility as a medical disorder or harmful behavior. The same goes for addiction to or abuse of drugs or alcohol. You will be denied entrance and citizenship if you have a record of abuse or addiction. Though these are guidelines and rules, some of them may be legally waived or forgiven with the help of an attorney.

More resources can be found here to help you along your way.