If you are applying for a green card (adjustment of status), a medical examination is a required part of the process, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The immigration exam is used to confirm that green card applicants are in good enough health to immigrate to the United States safely. To complete the immigration medical exam, applicants must find an immigration doctor.

What is an immigration medical exam?

The immigration medical exam involves a physical examination, a mental examination, and a blood test to evaluate for specific medical conditions.

The civil surgeon will also review past medical and vaccination records as part of the exam. The purpose of this examination is to help maintain public safety.

Who performs an immigration medical exam?

If you need a medical immigration exam, you can’t just go to your primary care physician. The immigration exam has to be done by a doctor designated by the USCIS.

Doctors that can perform immigration exams for those applying within the United States are known as civil surgeons.

If you submit a medical exam from a physician who does not have the USCIS designation, your results will not be accepted.

Any immigration exam performed outside of the United States has to be done by a panel physician. The Department of State appoints panel physicians who differ from civil surgeons.

Panel physicians help with the examination at embassies or consulates abroad and can’t perform the immigration exam for applicants within the USCIS.

Who is qualified to perform an immigration exam?

To qualify to become a civil surgeon, physicians must:

  • Hold a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O).
  • Have at least four years of professional experience. Internships and residencies do not count toward four years of experience.
  • Carry a license to practice medicine without any restrictions in the state they want to perform medical immigration exams1.

How to find an immigration doctor near me?

To schedule your exam, you will need to find an immigration doctor near you. And don’t forget to collect all your medical and vaccination histories so they are ready to share when you go to your exam.

Note that the government does not standardize the cost of an immigration medical exam. It can vary based on the country where the medical exam is performed and the specific doctor that does the test. You can contact a few different providers to compare the cost of the exam before selecting the civil surgeon you want to go with.

The bottom line

The immigration medical examination is a mandatory part of the green card application process. The purpose is to ensure that green card applicants are healthy enough to enter the country. There are several ways you can prepare, including locating an immigration doctor in your area and gathering your past medical and vaccination records.


  1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Chapter 1 – Purpose and Background. Accessed April 23, 2023.

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