Tools and Resources
Prospective Civil Surgeons
NOTE: The application process for civil surgeon designation will change on March 11, 2014. See USCIS’s Policy Manual Updates for more information on the new process.
Depending on the immigration benefit sought, an applicant may be required to undergo medical examination. Immigration medical examinations conducted inside the United States must be performed by a civil surgeon who has been designated by USCIS. (Immigration medical examinations conducted outside the United States must be performed by a panel physician who has been designated by the Department of State.)
In order to perform immigration medical examinations, you must be a physician designated by USCIS as a civil surgeon. Physicians must meet the following professional qualifications to be designated a civil surgeon:
Civil Surgeons’ Responsibilities
Civil surgeons must perform the immigration medical examination according to the Technical Instructions for the Medical Examinations of Aliens in the United States (Technical Instructions or TIs) and any updates to the Technical Instructions, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Technical Instructions updates can be obtained from CDC’s website.
CDC does not mail hard copies of these documents; it is the responsibility of the civil surgeon to obtain these documents online and comply with the requirements of the Technical Instructions.
Failure to comply with the Technical Instructions may result in the revocation of civil surgeon designation by USCIS.
Applying for Civil Surgeon Designation
Physicians interested in applying for civil surgeon designation should submit the following to their local USCIS Office:
See our Field Offices page for the address of your local USCIS office.
An agency may not conduct or sponsor an information collection and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number. The public reporting burden for the Application for Civil Surgeon Designation Registration is estimated at 60 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing the instructions and completing and submitting the form. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, 20 Massachusetts Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20529-2020 and include OMB Control Number 1615-0096 for reference. Please do not mail your completed information collection to this address.
Blanket Designation of Certain Physicians Working at Health Departments
USCIS has the authority to designate individuals or members of an entire group as civil surgeons , provided the physicians meet the legal requirements to be a civil surgeon, as specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 232(b), 8 CFR § 232.2(b), and 42 CFR § 34.2(b).
A memorandum dated July 30, 1998 (HQ 70/21.1.1, 96 Act 074, HQOPRD), designated all state and local health departments as civil surgeons for refugees applying for adjustment of status to ease the difficulties encountered by these applicants when obtaining their vaccination sign-off. This blanket designation does not cover asylees seeking to adjust status under INA section 209 or refugees who are required to have a full medical examination.
Participation in this HQOPRD blanket civil surgeon designation is entirely voluntary and at the discretion of the individual health department. As long as the designated physician meets the requirements of a civil surgeon, the health department may participate by completing the vaccination sheet of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. The health department and the physician do not have to apply for the designation.
USCIS will accept a Form I-693 vaccination report completed by a health department on behalf of the refugee seeking adjustment of status, provided it was completed in accordance with the form’s instructions and the following:
Blanket Designation of Certain Physicians Employed by the Armed Forces
To ease difficulties encountered by physicians and applicants in the military, USCIS issues a blanket civil surgeon designation to qualifying military physicians to permit them to perform the immigration medical examination and complete Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, for eligible members and veterans of the armed forces and their dependents.
Participation in this blanket civil surgeon designation is entirely voluntary and at the discretion of each military medical facility. This blanket designation only applies to military physicians who:
Medical facilities or physicians who qualify for and wish to participate in the blanket designation do not need to obtain approval from USCIS before performing immigration medical examinations for armed forces personnel, veterans, and dependents at a MTF.
A military physician operating under the blanket civil surgeon designation is required to certify the Form I-693 by providing the following on the form:
USCIS Civil Surgeon Locator
A public list of designated civil surgeons is available online through the Civil Surgeon Locator.
Because blanket designated health departments or blanket designated military physicians do not have to apply for civil surgeon designation, they are not listed in the Civil Surgeon Locator.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/28/2014