USCIS Policy Manual
VOLUME 8: ADMISSIBILITY
PART B: HEALTH RELATED GROUNDS OF INADMISSIBILITY
If a “Class A condition” is noted on the medical form, it is conclusive evidence that the applicant is inadmissible. The Class A annotation may also indicate that an applicant could be inadmissible on other grounds of inadmissibility. For example, “harmful behavior” associated with a physical or mental disorder, or illegal drug use, may have resulted in criminal convictions that make an applicant inadmissible under INA 212(a)(2)(http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-2006.html#0-0-0-1203). However, a criminal conviction should be supported by conviction records or similar evidence, and not just the medical examination report. See Section D, Other Grounds of Inadmissibility [8 USCIS-PM B.11(D)] for more information.
If a civil surgeon or panel physician only annotates a “Class B condition” (per HHS regulations), the applicant is never inadmissible on health-related grounds. The officer should remember that if the civil surgeon or panel physician indicates on the Form I-693(http://www.uscis.gov/i-693) that a former Class A condition is now a Class B condition, the applicant is no longer inadmissible. However, a Class B condition may indicate that the applicant could be inadmissible on other grounds because of the condition, such as public charge. See Section D, Other Grounds of Inadmissibility [8 USCIS-PM B.11(D)] for more information.
The officer may encounter medical documentation that is not fully completed. In this case, the officer should issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). If the physician fails to properly complete the form in response to the RFE, the applicant has not established that he or she is clearly admissible to the United States. See INA 291.
If the applicant indicates that he or she may be inadmissible based on a medical reason, the officer must order a medical examination of the applicant. Based on the results of that medical exam, the officer should ascertain whether the applicant actually has a Class A, Class B, or no condition at all that is relevant to the applicant’s admissibility. The applicant should not be found inadmissible unless the medical examination confirms the presence of a Class A medical condition.
Even if the civil surgeon or panel physician did not annotate a Class A or B condition in the medical documentation, or if the applicant was not required to undergo a medical examination, the officer may order or reorder an immigration medical examination at any time if he or she has concerns as to an applicant’s inadmissibility on health-related grounds.
The concern should be based on information in the A-file, information that is revealed by the applicant or another applicant during an interview, or information revealed during a background investigation.
1. General Considerations
Where relevant, the information contained in the medical examination can be used to determine whether other grounds of inadmissibility may apply. For instance, health is one factor to consider when determining if someone is inadmissible on public charge grounds. This factor must, however, be considered in light of all other factors specified by law See INA 212(a)(4)(B). and in standard public charge guidance. Whether the person is likely to become a public charge is determined according to standard public charge guidance: Is it likely that the person will become primarily dependent on the Government for subsistence, as shown by (a) receipt of public cash assistance for income maintained or (b) long-term institutionalization at public expense? See 64 FR 28689 (1999).
2. Criminal Grounds
An applicant may be inadmissible on criminal grounds if he or she has admitted to committing certain controlled substance violations. See INA 212(a)(2)(A). An applicant may acknowledge to a civil surgeon or a panel physician that he or she has used a controlled substance, which the physician then may annotate on the medical documentation.
USCIS does not consider this acknowledgement, in and of itself, a valid admission that would make an applicant inadmissible on criminal grounds. A valid admission (absent a conviction) for purposes of criminal inadmissibility grounds “requires that the [foreign national] be given an adequate definition of the crime, including all essential elements, and that it be explained in understandable terms.” See Matter of K-, 7 I&N Dec. 594 (BIA 1957). However such an acknowledgment of drug use may open a line of questioning to determine criminal inadmissibility. USCIS Officers should find that an applicant has made a valid “admission” of a crime only when the admission is made in accordance with the requirements outlined by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). See Matter of K-, 7 I&N Dec. 594 (BIA 1957). Even in the Ninth Circuit, USCIS officers should continue to follow Matter of K-, rather than Pazcoguin v. Radcliffe, 292 F.3d 1209 (9th Cir. 2002). Following Matter of K- will ensure that any admission the person may make is a fully informed one.
An officer should take great care to regard the privacy of the applicant. The officer should generally not discuss the applicant’s medical issues with applicants other than the applicant, his or her counsel, immigration officers, or other government officials Such as CDC. who clearly have a need to know the information.
The officer should not directly contact a civil surgeon to discuss an applicant’s inadmissibility or medical issues. If the officer has any concerns that cannot be resolved by reviewing the evidence in the record, the officer should issue an RFE.