What are the common health issues that can cause a person to fail the immigration medical exam?

When applying for immigration to the United States, one crucial step in the process is the immigration medical exam. This examination is designed to ensure that immigrants do not pose a public health risk to the country. While the medical exam is comprehensive and covers a wide range of health conditions, certain diseases are of particular concern. In this article, we will explore some of the diseases that can cause a person to fail an immigration medical exam for the US.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis, often referred to as TB, is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs. It is a contagious disease, and individuals with active TB may be denied immigration until they receive proper treatment. It is crucial for applicants to undergo screening for TB during the medical examination.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It can lead to various health complications if left untreated. Immigration authorities take syphilis seriously, and individuals with active syphilis may be denied entry.


Gonorrhea is another sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It can affect multiple parts of the body, including the genitals, rectum, and throat. A positive gonorrhea diagnosis can lead to immigration issues.


Chancroid is a bacterial infection that can cause painful sores in the genital area. It is a rare condition but can lead to immigration problems if detected during the medical exam.


Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. While cholera is rare in the US, it is a condition that immigration authorities take seriously due to its potential for widespread outbreaks.


Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the throat and nose. It can lead to severe respiratory issues and is a concerning condition during the immigration medical examination.


Measles is a highly contagious viral infection. With the resurgence of measles cases in recent years, it is crucial for applicants to show proof of immunity through vaccination.


Plague is a bacterial disease that can cause severe illness. Though rare, it is considered a high-risk condition for immigration purposes.


Smallpox is a viral disease that has been eradicated worldwide through vaccination. However, due to its potential for bioterrorism, it is still a concern during immigration exams.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Individuals traveling from or through yellow fever-endemic areas may be required to provide proof of vaccination.

Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

Viral hemorrhagic fevers, including diseases like Ebola, Lassa, and Marburg, are highly contagious and potentially fatal conditions. These diseases are a significant concern during immigration exams.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes

Respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and SARS are of particular concern in the wake of pandemics. A positive diagnosis may result in immigration delays or denial.

Influenza caused by Novel or Re-emergent Influenza (Pandemic Flu)

Influenza strains that have the potential to cause pandemics are closely monitored. Immigration applicants should ensure they are up to date with vaccinations.

The immigration medical exam in the US is a critical step in the immigration process, designed to safeguard public health. While the mentioned diseases are of particular concern, it is essential to note that this is not an exhaustive list. There may be other health issues that can cause a person to fail the immigration medical exam. As an applicant, it is vital to stay informed, undergo the necessary health screenings, and be prepared to provide documentation as required.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I still immigrate to the US if I have one of these diseases?

In some cases, it may be possible to overcome health-related immigration issues with proper medical treatment and documentation. It is essential to consult with immigration authorities for guidance.

2. What if I have been vaccinated against these diseases?

Vaccination against certain diseases, such as measles and yellow fever, can be a mitigating factor. Ensure you have valid documentation to prove your vaccination status.

3. Are there any waivers for health-related immigration issues?

In exceptional cases, waivers may be granted for specific health conditions. Consult with immigration authorities to explore your options.

4. How often do I need to undergo an immigration medical examination?

The frequency of immigration medical examinations may vary, but they are typically required during the immigration application process.

5. Where can I find more information about the immigration medical exam and its requirements?

For detailed information about the immigration medical exam and its requirements, visit the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or consult with a designated civil surgeon like us. You can visit our clinic or get an appointment.

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