Immigration Physicals

immigrationNewcomers to the United States who need to apply for permanent residency and temporary residents who need to extend their stay will have to have immigration physicals. Those who are already in Orlando must see a civil surgeon, a doctor approved by the government, for an examination and get the doctor to fill out form I-693. They must then return the form, sealed in an envelope, to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Preparing for the appointment

Patients need to bring certain paperwork to their physicals. The first is a proof of identity in the form of a picture ID issued by a government. While most clinics prefer immigration physical recipients to furnish a passport, certain other documents such as a driver’s license may be acceptable. The second thing that may be required is a blank form I-693, which can be downloaded from the USCIS. Some Orlando practices may have blank forms available at the office. Civil surgeons use the I-693 to record the results of their assessment. The last thing to bring is all the patient’s immunization records.

What happens during the examination

The exact procedure that  a civil surgeon follows during physicals depends on the documents that the patients furnish. All the information from the immunization records will be transferred to the I-693. If the further immunizations are needed, patients in Orlando can get them from the Orange County Health department or from any local doctor, or many civil surgeons will administer them on the spot. Then the patient will be screened for health problems that may affect their immigration eligibility.


Except for some very young children, all applicants for new or altered immigration status with no history of the disease have to get a tuberculosis skin test as a part of their physicals. This is a relatively painless injection under the skin of the arm. The patient will need to return to the Orlando office between 48 and 72 hours after the test is administered to have the results read. A positive result does not necessarily mean that the patient has tuberculosis. Sometimes someone who was vaccinated against the disease as a child will read positive even without being sick. If the test is positive, the patient will get a chest x ray to be sure tuberculosis is not present. Applicants who have actually had the disease need to present proof that they took the medications required to deal with it. Someone who has had a positive test at some point in the past but did not have the disease will be asked for their x rays. If the x ray is more than a year old, the applicant must get a new one.

Health Care in the US

The health care technology available in the United States is second to none, but most people need the help of a primary care physician to navigate the health care system and get the best treatment for their particular situation. In Orlando the civil surgeons who do these physicals are exemplary doctors, and they are often in practice with several other practitioners who can contribute to a patient’s health care experience. While the choice of a doctor is a serious matter and should be given a great deal of thought, it is possible that someone already dealing with immigration matters will need to look no further than their civil surgeon to find a first rate primary care physician.