Panel Physicians

Introduction and Background

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Public Health Service (PHS), is responsible for ensuring that aliens entering the United States do not pose a threat to the public health of this country. The medical examination required by CDC regulations is a means of evaluating the health of persons applying for entry into the United States.

These instructions are in accordance with CDC regulations and are for the use of panel physicians evaluating aliens applying for immigrant or refugee status, as well as non-immigrants who are required to have an overseas medical examination, hereafter referred to as “applicants.”

Medical Examination

Applicants must undergo a physical and mental examination as part of the visa application process. The purpose of the visa medical examination is to identify the presence or absence of certain disorders that could result in exclusion from the United States under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Role of the Panel Physician

Panel physicians must follow specific identification procedures, prescribed by the U.S. Department of State, to ensure that the person appearing for the medical examination is the person who is actually applying. The panel physician is responsible for the entire examination, including the required chest radiograph and any necessary laboratory procedures. The panel physician is also responsible for reporting the results of all required tests and consultations on the prescribed forms and for ensuring that the completed medical report forms are sent directly to the consular officer. The panel physician is not responsible for determining whether an applicant is actually eligible to apply to enter the United States; that determination is made by the consular officer after reviewing all records, including the report of the medical examination.