USCIS Policy Manual
VOLUME 8: ADMISSIBILITY
PART B: HEALTH RELATED GROUNDS OF INADMISSIBILITY
Applicants who have physical or mental disorders and harmful behavior associated with those disorders are inadmissible. See INA 212(a)(2)(A)(iii). The inadmissibility ground is divided into two subcategories:
Current physical or mental disorders, with associated harmful behavior.
Past physical or mental disorders, with associated harmful behavior that is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior.
There must be both a physical or mental disorder and harmful behavior to make an applicant inadmissible based on this ground. Neither harmful behavior nor a physical/mental disorder alone renders an applicant inadmissible on this ground. Harmful behavior is defined as behavior that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others.
Physical or mental disorders with associated harmful behaviors are diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Officers should consult the Technical Instructions for additional information, if needed.
Under the Technical Instructions, a diagnosis of substance abuse/addiction for a substance that is not listed in Section 202 of the Controlled Substance Act (with current associated harmful behavior or a history of associated harmful behavior judged likely to recur) is classified as a mental disorder.
Under prior Technical Instructions and the July 20, 2010 or older versions of the form, these conditions were summarized under the drug abuse/addiction part of the form. An officer, however, should not find an applicant inadmissible for “drug abuse/addiction” if a non-controlled substance is involved.
1. Alcohol Use and Driving
Alcohol is not listed in Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, alcohol use disorders are treated as a physical or mental disorder for purposes of determining inadmissibility. As a result, an applicant with an alcohol use disorder will not be deemed inadmissible unless there is current associated harmful behavior or past associated harmful behavior likely to recur. The harmful behavior must be such that it poses, has posed, or is likely to pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others.
In the course of adjudicating benefit applications, officers frequently encounter criminal histories that include arrests and/or convictions for alcohol-related driving incidents, such as DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated). These histories may or may not rise to the level of a criminal ground of inadmissibility. See INA 212(a)(2). A record of criminal arrests and/or convictions for alcohol-related driving incidents may constitute evidence of a health-related inadmissibility as a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior.
Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is clearly an associated harmful behavior that poses a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others. Where a civil surgeon’s mental status evaluation diagnoses the presence of an alcohol use disorder (abuse or dependence), and where there is evidence of harmful behavior associated with the disorder, a Class A medical condition should be certified on Form I-693(http://www.uscis.gov/i-693).
Some applicants may fail to report, or may underreport, alcohol-related driving incidents in response to the civil surgeon’s queries. Where these incidents resulted in an arrest, they may be subsequently revealed in the criminal history record resulting from a routine fingerprint check. Consequently, a criminal record printout revealing a significant history of alcohol-related driving arrests may conflict with the medical examination report that indicates no alcohol-related driving incidents were reported to or evaluated by the civil surgeon.
In such an instance, an officer may require the applicant to be re-examined. The re-examination would be limited to a mental status evaluation specifically considering the record of alcohol-related driving incidents. On the Request for Evidence (RFE), officers should use the following language: “Please return to the civil surgeon for purposes of conducting a mental status evaluation specifically considering the record of alcohol-related driving incidents.”
Upon re-examination, the civil surgeon may refer the applicant for further evaluation to a psychiatrist or to a specialist in substance-abuse disorders as provided for under the Technical Instructions. After such referral, the civil surgeon will determine whether a Class A medical condition exists and amend the Form I-693(http://www.uscis.gov/i-693) accordingly. The determination of a Class A condition is wholly dependent on the medical diagnosis of a designated civil surgeon.
Re-Examination for Significant Criminal Record of Alcohol-Related Driving Incidents
Only applicants with a significant criminal record of alcohol-related driving incidents that were not considered by the civil surgeon during the original medical examination should be referred for re-examination.
The actual criminal charges for alcohol-related driving incidents vary among the different states. A significant criminal record of alcohol-related driving incidents includes:
One or more arrests/convictions for alcohol-related driving incidents (DUI/DWI) while the driver’s license was suspended, revoked, or restricted at the time of the arrest due to a previous alcohol-related driving incident(s).
One or more arrests/convictions for alcohol-related driving incidents where personal injury or death resulted from the incident(s).
One or more convictions for alcohol-related driving incidents where the conviction was a felony in the jurisdiction in which it occurred or where a sentence of incarceration was actually imposed.
One arrest/conviction for alcohol-related driving incidents within the preceding five years. See CDC’s Technical Instructions for Physical or Mental Disorders with Associated Harmful Behaviors and Substance-Related Disorders, available at http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/exams/ti/civil/mental-civil-technical-instructions.html.
Two or more arrests/convictions for alcohol-related driving incidents within the preceding ten years. See CDC’s Technical Instructions for Physical or Mental Disorders with Associated Harmful Behaviors and Substance-Related Disorders, available at http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/exams/ti/civil/mental-civil-technical-instructions.html.
If the officer finds that the criminal record appears to contradict the civil surgeon’s finding in the medical examination report, then the officer should request a re-examination.
Example: An applicant’s criminal record shows that she was convicted for DWI-related vehicular manslaughter. However, the medical examination report reflects that no Class A or B physical or mental disorder was found. In this case, the officer should request a re-examination because the medical examination report finding should have reflected that the applicant has a history relating to an alcohol-related driving incident that could indicate a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior.
3. Determination Based on Re-Examination
Upon completion of the re-examination, the officer should determine whether the applicant is inadmissible. If the civil surgeon annotated a Class A condition, the applicant is inadmissible. If no Class A condition is certified by the civil surgeon, the officer may not determine that the applicant is inadmissible. In exceptional cases, the officer may seek review of the civil surgeon’s determination from CDC.
If the applicant is inadmissible, he or she may file an application for waiver of inadmissibility. See Volume 9, Waivers, Part C, Waivers for Health-Related Grounds of Inadmissibility [9 USCIS-PM C] for more on waivers.
The guidance relating to alcohol-related driving arrests or convictions described above applies to any similar scenario where the record of proceeding contains evidence that may indicate inadmissibility due to a mental or physical disorder with associated harmful behavior that was not considered by the civil surgeon in the original medical examination. Such evidence includes, but is not limited to:
A prior finding of inadmissibility due to a mental disorder.
A history of institutionalization for a mental disorder.
A criminal history other than drunk driving arrests/convictions, such as assaults and domestic violence, in which alcohol or a psychoactive substance was a contributing factor.
Any other evidence that suggests an alcohol problem.
Other criminal arrests where there is a reasonable possibility of a mental disorder as a contributing factor.
Accordingly, where the record of proceeding available to the officer contains evidence suggestive of a mental disorder, and the Form I-693(http://www.uscis.gov/i-693) medical report does not reflect that the evidence was considered by the civil surgeon, the applicant must be required to undergo a mental status re-examination by a civil surgeon specifically addressing the adverse evidence that may not have initially been revealed to the civil surgeon.
D. Parts of Form I-693(http://www.uscis.gov/i-693) Addressing Physical or Mental Disorders
The civil surgeon must check the appropriate findings box on the medical examination report. The civil surgeon should also either annotate the findings in the remarks section or attach a report, if the space provided is not sufficient. However, the officer should not RFE simply because the civil surgeon has omitted the remarks or failed to attach a report.