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How to Prepare for Your Immigration Physical

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people apply to become American citizens. Most of those applications are approved — but many are denied. Immigration physicals can play a big role in having your citizenship application approved or turned down. The key is to make sure your physical is thorough and contains all the information federal authorities need to make their decision.

At Medical Access, our team offers comprehensive immigration physicals at our locations in Germantown, Rockville, and Beltsville, Maryland, and Alexandria, Woodbridge, and McLean, Virginia. Here’s how to prepare for yours.

Purpose of immigration physicals

Most people know past criminal activity can be a major reason for a denial of citizenship. Although that might be a well-known reason, it certainly isn’t the only one. Your health status also plays a role. In the US, there are four primary health-related reasons why your application could be denied:

  • Having a history of drug abuse or addiction
  • Having a communicable disease
  • Not having proof of vaccinations
  • Having a medical disorder that can cause violent or harmful behavior

The results of your immigration physical — and how you prepare for it — can have a direct bearing on whether or not your application for citizenship is denied.

After your exam, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the information from your immigration physical to decide if your application can be accepted or denied based on your medical status and history. If it’s determined you pose a risk to public health or if your records are incomplete, that could be grounds to deny your application. 

Because a lot of your personal health information is contained in your existing health records, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re prepared for the exam before coming in to see the doctor.

Getting ready for your physical

At Medical Access, your immigration physical begins with a personal health history. Be ready to discuss past illnesses and hospitalizations, since this information will provide the doctor with the information needed to fill out your paperwork. You’ll also have a general physical exam, along with a chest X-ray and blood tests. You might also have a skin test to check for tuberculosis.

In addition to discussing past medical problems, you’ll also need to provide the doctor with proof of your vaccinations. Vaccines play an essential role in preventing the spread of communicable diseases, like:

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Polio
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza type B

Forgetting to bring your vaccination records can result in your application being delayed or even denied.

Bring a list of all medications you’re taking. That includes medications for chronic health conditions, like high blood pressure, as well as any acute illnesses you may have. 

You’ll also need to bring an official ID with your photo — a passport or driver’s license are good examples of the type of ID that’s needed. For children 14 or younger, bring a copy of their birth certificate (translated into English) or an affidavit to prove their identity. The child’s ID should include the child’s name and their place and date of birth, along with the parents’ full names.

Finally, bring along a copy of Form I-693 if you can. This is the official form from the USCIS that details your health history. Your doctor will fill it out following your exam, once your test results have been received.

Scheduling an exam

Although Medical Access does offer same-day appointments for physicals, because immigration physicals require paperwork for your application, it’s a good idea to call ahead and schedule an appointment. Two to three days after your exam, you’ll need to return to the office to pick up your results and your paperwork. To schedule an immigration physical for yourself or for your child, call one of our Medical Access locations, or use our form to request an appointment online.

How to Prepare for Your Immigration Physical

Feb 12, 2021