cr1 medical conditions

CR1 Medical Conditions That Cause Visa Denial

There are several CR1 medical conditions that can cause your visa to be denied and knowing what they are can help you prepare for the medical exam. So, what is USCIS looking for when reviewing the medical exam results?

USCIS specifically looks for the following list of medical conditions that could spread inside the U.S. if you were infected:

  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Syphilis
  • Vaccine preventable diseases
  • Mental disorders
    • violent behaviour
    • multiple DUIs

You may also be concerned about common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or HIV. These diseases will not negatively affect your CR1 visa application.

Even though HIV is contagious, USCIS no longer says that it’s a reason to block someone from entering the United States.

Case Example:


Margaret is petitioning for her Cambodian husband Phillip. It’s time for him to schedule his medical exam but he is concerned because he had TB in his 20s but has since been treated.

When Phillip attends the medical exam with the USCIS approved panel physician, he tells him that he did

have TB before but not anymore. The physician performs an X-ray which showed scarring on his lungs.

This was used as evidence that he did at one time have active TB.

Phillip is then required to submit to a sputum test to be sure he doesn’t have active TB before his CR1 visa can be issued.

The sputum test is a 3-day exam where you have to spit in a cup. It is normally required for immigrant visa applicants that are applying from high TB countries.

How To Schedule Your Medical Exam For CR1 Visa

After you receive your interview letter from either the National Visa Center (NVC) or the US Consulate, you’ll then need to schedule your medical exam.

It’s important that you schedule your medical exam at least a week before your visa interview. Why? The exam results need to be available to the consular officer before the visa can be issued.

Step 1: Find a panel physician that’s approved by USCIS.

So, the first step in the process of scheduling your CR1 medical exam is to find a local panel physician that is approved by USCIS.

Thankfully, there is a list of panel physicians that’s provided by the Department of State. Find the closest physician to you as there wouldn’t be a huge select of clinic for each city.

If the location of the clinic is far away and you need to travel some distance, be sure to schedule the medical exam up to 2 weeks before your CR1 visa interview.

Step 2: Call the clinic to schedule the CR1 visa medical exam.

Once you find an approved panel physician, call the clinic to make an appointment. You must let them know that the exam is for the CR1 spouse visa.

This will make sure that they complete the medical exam to the specifications of USCIS and that the results will be accepted by the consulate.

Also, when you call to schedule the exam, make sure to ask them how much it will cost and what payment methods they accept.

Step 3: Attend the medical exam with the panel physician.

Finally, the day of your medical exam has arrived. Be sure to bring the following documents with you so that you are prepared for the appointment:

  • Visa interview letter
  • Valid passport
  • 3 recent photos of you
  • All medical and vaccination records
  • Payment of the fee (cash, check, or credit card)

All children that are immigrating to the US with you must attend the medical examination.

Step 4: Get the medical exam results and DO NOT OPEN.

Getting the medical exam results can happen in two ways:

  1. The clinic will mail the sealed medical results directly to you with an envelope that says “DOT NOT OPEN”.
  2. The clinic will mail the sealed medical results directly to the US consulate or embassy.

If you receive the results yourself, be sure to keep it somewhere safe and don’t open the envelope. If you do open it, it will become invalid and you must redo the medical exam again.

This strict requirement that the applicant not view the results is to protect the results from tampering. Who knows, you could alter the medical exam results yourself to better your chances of getting the CR1 visa approved.

Case Example:

Lisa attended her medical exam in Spain and brought her vaccination and medical records. The panel physician determined that she isn’t up-to-date on the DTap shot and it was administered to her on that day.

Lisa’s X-ray didn’t show any scar tissue on her lungs which ruled out previous TB. She also said that she hasn’t had Syphilis or any other sexually transmitted disease.

After the medical exam, the clinic sends Lisa the results in a sealed envelope that says “do no open”. She brings it to her visa interview without opening it and is approved for the CR1 visa.

Most medical exams go smoothly. Even if you had medical conditions listed above in the past, you can still get approved for the CR1 visa so don’t worry too much about it.

It’s important to be honest about your medical history because the panel physician will eventually find out what CR1 medical conditions you suffered from.

How Long The Medical Exam Results Are Good For

In most countries, the medical exam results are valid for one year.

If your medical exam results will expire before you enter the U.S., you’ll be required to redo it. I’ve seen this happen due to the CR1 visa processing time taking much longer than expected.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is any way to extend the validity period for your medical exam results.

CR1 Medical Conditions That Can Cause Visa Denial

Now let’s review the CR1 medical conditions that can cause visa denial or delay. Below are the most common types but this list doesn’t include all of them.

To learn more about health related grounds of inadmissibility, click here to read more.

Tuberculosis (TB)

If you’ve had a positive TB skin test, you must get a signed letter from your family doctor saying that you have been treated successfully. Bring this letter with you to your medical examination.

Active TB will cause your visa to be delayed until you are treated. Then you must undergo the medical exam again after treatment is complete to be sure you are no longer contagious.


If you’ve had Syphilis in the past, you  must provide a signed letter by your family doctor stating that you’ve been successfully treated for this condition.

If you have EVER had a positive VDRL or other blood test for Syphilis but were not treated, you still must get a written letter from your doctor about your condition and prognosis.

Vaccine preventable diseases

Not having up-to-date vaccinations can cause the CR1 visa to be denied or delayed.

If you aren’t sure if you have all the required vaccinations, be sure to bring your records with you to the medical examination. The panel physicians will review your medical history and determine what you may need to be vaccinated against.

Vaccinations are given based on age appropriate requirements from the CDC. If a vaccine is no longer appropriate because of your age, it will not be an issue to not get it.

Mental health disorders

Having a history of mental health issues can also be a cause for denial of the CR1 visa. This is because of the risk of harm you could pose to the U.S. public if your mental health disorder isn’t treated properly.

This can include harmful behavior such as drug use, attempted suicide, violence, and drug and alcohol abuse.


Final Thoughts On CR1 Medical Conditions

In summary, not all CR1 medical conditions will cause your visa to be denied. If you have suffered from any of the above conditions that I’ve listed, there’s a good chance you will still get the visa if you’ve been treated successfully.

Many immigrants panic about the medical examination and may even lie to the panel physician. This is a huge mistake that can cost you the CR1 visa altogether.

Never lie about your medical history!

The worst case scenario if you test positive would be a delay of a few weeks or a few months. It’s not the end of the world even though I know waiting really sucks.

Remember, once you get the medical results sent to you, do not open the envelope. It’s suppose to remain sealed until your reach the CR1 port of entry process.

At that time, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will open the sealed envelope to review the results before allowing you to enter the United States.



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