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US Visa Thailand: Medical Exam Requirements for Consular Processing

Transcript of the above video:

This video is just a quick informational piece regarding medical examinations and how they pertain to US family visas from the Kingdom of Thailand. To be clear, we’re talking specifically with respect to marriage visas, fiancée visas, sort of specifically.  In a broader sense, this piece may actually pertain to virtually any type of non-immigrant visa that has sort of dual intent which you can maintain both the intent to return to Thailand or remain in the United States or immigrant visas of any sort as a medical examination is often times the routine, one of the routine requirements of any immigrant visa to the United States. The medical exam, it’s a routine part of consular processing which is one of the final phases of the US immigration process.  The initial phases involve the Department of Homeland Security, next usually comes the National Visa Center or simple processing with the United States Embassy here in Bangkok directly.  One of the things they’re going to ask for is a medical exam. In most cases they are only going to except a medical exam from a hospital which has a certified civil surgeon pursuant to the guidelines and mandates set forth by the embassy itself so there are only certain hospitals which have a civil surgeon on staff who is qualified to provide medical examinations for UD immigration purposes so one needs to ascertain where they sort of stand with respect to where they  are going to need to go in order to obtain a medical examination that’s going to be qualified for purposes of immigration. Something to keep in mind, or something just of note, here recently, the medical examination here recently process has undergone some fairly significant changes just since I started practicing a little less that a decade ago at least specifically in the US Immigration field and those changes pertain to (A) the types of vaccines that are required when going into the United States. There was a time when vaccinations of various sorts were required to get into the US that are now no longer required. There are also, various guidelines with respect to diseases that one may have with respect to being eligible to enter the United States. So at one time there were various diseases that were on the list that could keep one, or things that could find one ineligible for entering the United States. Some of those diseases have been stuck off the list.

As a practical matter though here recently one of the things I’ve noticed is that overall the medical examination process is taking a longer amount of time. There was one point, actually for most of the time I have dealt with these matters, where medical examinations would take about a day sometimes maybe two days depending on sort of a unique case;  very rarely, about once maybe twice a year, I would see someone who had had a tuberculosis infection in the past and in those circumstances a far longer test is required to ascertain whether or not that person is any longer infectious with tuberculosis and that test can take quite a while longer frankly for the overall test but for the most part, routine cases, a medical examination can conceivably take maybe only one day. That is no longer the case. These days medical examinations,  I‘m usually telling people to expect about 7 to 10 days for relevant civil servants to fully test an individual seeking admission into the United States and in those circumstances it should be noted that they’ve changed some of the criteria most notably. It sees to be that they’re testing for antibiotic resistant gonorrhea which previously was not part of the testing criteria. I am assuming that’s based on probably advice or information probably from some, and again I’m speculating here, so to be clear, this is speculation but I suspect there’s probably some sort of advice from the CDC; they may have said “Look, it might not be a bad idea to go ahead and test for that kind of an infection”, and it appears that the practical impact of that kind of testing is that the overall process is taking longer.  The only point to take away from this video is that in the past it was quite frequent, in fact quite common to see a medical exam issued in 24 hours. These days that is not the case. It has been our experience that here recently, in the past 3 or 4, maybe 6 months now, our personnel have been seeing that it has been taking 7 to 10 days to get this process completed.  To be clear, what our firm does, is we usually, not usually, in every case we assist the applicant by taking that individual to the hospital with a qualified civil surgeon assisting them in undertaking the procedures, obviously an attorney is not going to go in with the doctor for the actual examination but simply having someone there to sort of assist with the overall procedures who understands, sort of the protocol for getting this stuff done, that is one service we provide here. But to be clear, it should be noted that “Yes, in the past, and if you are reading information on the Internet, yes in the past it would take only a day to get a medical exam.  These days that’s not the case; it’s taking a more significant amount of time. So it should be noted that and expected that obtaining a medical examination is not going to just be a one day occurrence,  it’s going to take more time than it used to in the past.