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If you are coming to the US as an immigrant, you need a visitor insurance plan for temporary medical coverage. You will be considered a visitor to this country until you get your green card. Once you get your green card, you can switch to domestic plans and other government-sponsored insurance programs only if you are eligible.
Typically, visitor insurance plans cover eligible medical expenses, lab and diagnostics, prescription drugs, hospital stays, and more. But these policies do not cover immunizations and medical exams that are needed for immigrants entering the US. Therefore, when you apply to immigrate to the US, a medical examination is needed as part of the process.
The rules and conditions for the medical exam vary from one country to another. So, you need to be sure about the medical exam with your local US embassy or consulate. In addition, the US government has specific guidelines for which vaccines are needed for green card applications.
Which vaccines are required?
The vaccines that are needed for green card applications- COVID-19 vaccine, Mumps, Measles, Rubella, Polio, Tetanus and diphtheria, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), Hepatitis A and B, Rotavirus, Meningococcal disease, Varicella, Pneumococcal disease, and Seasonal influenza.
The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) determines the vaccinations needed by individuals before entering the country. Unfortunately, immunizations are not covered by any visitor or medical insurance. Green card holders need to pay these from their pockets.
What are the vaccination criteria?
You must follow the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidelines:
- You must receive at least one dose for each vaccine, but you must have two doses of the Covid vaccine.
- You must be vaccinated against diseases that are risked of outbreaks.
- You must be vaccinated against diseases that are extinct in the US.
- You must receive an age-appropriate vaccine.
Vaccination requirements as per age:
- Tetanus and diphtheria Pertussis- 2-11 months (DTP/DTaP/DT), 7-10 years- sometimes (Td/Tdap), 11-65 years (Td/Tdap)
- Polio- 2-11 months
- Measles, Mumps, and Rubella- 12 months to 64 years (if born in 1957 or later)
- Rotavirus- 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) to 8 months old
- Hib- 2 months to 59 months (about 5 years)
- Hepatitis A- 12 months to 23 months (about 2 years)
- Hepatitis B- From birth to 18 years old
- Meningococcal- 11 years to 18 years
- Varicella- Over 1 year
- Pneumococcal- 2 months to 59 months (PVC), over 65 (PVS or PPSV)
- Influenza- Over 6 months
How to prepare for the medical exam?
The medical examination is a crucial step in the immigration process. It is required for everyone seeking a green card, including family. A government-authorized doctor must do the exam. This includes:
- Medical history and records of immunization
- Evaluation of mental and physical health
- Drug and alcohol screening
- Various tests for diseases
The green card medical exam aims to ensure that you are in sound physical health before entering the US. If not, you may be considered ineligible to receive a green card. However, if a medical condition complicates obtaining your green card, you can request a waiver.
There are two kinds of doctors who can perform medical exams. Of course, this also depends on where you are applying from.
- Within the US- a civil surgeon designated by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Outside the US- a panel physician authorized by the US Department of State.
Typically, your medical insurance plans will not cover these medical exams. Still, you can ask the doctor whether they accept health insurance. The applicant is responsible for all costs associated with the medical examination and the required vaccines before entering the US.
Immigrating to the US can be expensive. Visitor insurance plans do not cover immunizations and medical exams, but these plans cover eligible medical expenses and hospital stays that can occur once you are there. Hence, it is wise to buy a temporary health insurance plan than to be in the US with no insurance coverage.
If you wish to know more about visitor insurance plans’ benefits and limitations, call Visitor Guard®.