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We had our medical yesterday and I think it went ok. This is the stage that I've been dreading the most so I'm relieved it's over. I've needed last night and this morning to think it over and recover.

 

I'm a sexual assault survivor too so I have PTSD about being physically examined. 

 

Our background is - applying for K1 and K2 visa. My son has a diagnosis of autism. It's been difficult to find out if this automatically raises a red flag so I've been attempting to pre-empt any hold ups and further delays. We are very keen to get our visa next week so that we have time to settle my son in over July and August before he (hopefully) starts high school in September. The stress of helping him to cope with the uncertainty throughout this process has been so exhausting, on top of dealing with my own stress about the uncertainty!

 

I'm writing this to pass on what we've learnt throughout this process for any families hoping to emigrate with a child with special needs, and writing is also a coping strategy for me - it helps me get things out of my head and move on to the next stage. 

 

The documents I took with us for the medical were:

 

  • The completed U.S. Medical Questionnaire (answered truthfully!)
  • Child's immunisation records
  • Child's patient summary
  • A letter from child's SENCO briefly outlining his current difficulties and behaviour within school
  • Child's latest school report
  • Child's current EHC Plan
  • A letter from the GP detailing current treatment for child's condition ( cost £15.50)
  • Report from Educational Psychologist from 5 years ago (the most current "professional" paperwork I have for my son)

 

The email that the visamedicals send you when you book your appointment gives directions to the location. I researched the best way to get there from St. Pancras station as my son is not keen on travelling on the Underground. I decided to get the Victoria line to Oxford Circus then walk from there (10 minutes according to Google). Visamedicals states that Bond Street is the nearest Underground station. If we'd gone there it would have meant changing to Central Line and would have only saved 3 minutes of walking. I took our lunch with us and we sat in Cavendish Square under the shade of the trees to eat. Our appointment was at 2:10. As others have said before, it isn't easy to see where the place actually is. My son noticed the brass plaque on the building as I was looking on Google to see where it was. The practice is basically a flat (apartment) in a large residential building. There are 3 steps up from the pavement. The double doors can both be opened (a gentleman in a wheelchair was being carried down when we arrived). 

 

We got there 20 minutes early. The receptionist told us to wait in the waiting room until our appointment time, then she would start processing our paperwork. The waiting room is quite spacious with seating for about 20 people. There are toys for children to play with. There is water to drink.

 

There is only 1 toilet for the public and we had to wait for it to be available - this is because all adults (people over 15 years of age) are required to give a urine sample, so it is in use a lot. 

 

At the right time I took our paperwork to the receptionist. We were given another form to fill in each, much like the questionnaire they send you, but more detailed (tick boxes). She took photocopies of my police certificate, letter from the GP and our passport pages showing our ID. She gave me back the original police certificate but kept the rest. She gave me the sample pot in a bag to go do the urine sample. My son didn't need to provide a urine sample, blood test or have a chest x-ray because he is under 15 years old. She assembled our paperwork in to a bundle for the doctor. Then we went back to the waiting room.

 

I had brought a book for my son to read as I anticipated there would be a lot of waiting around. After about 10 minutes the radiologist called me in for my chest x-ray. He was very jolly and put me at ease. He asked (again) if I was pregnant. He gave me a gown and asked me to change behind the curtain in the corner of the room and put my hair up. There is a mirror and shelf, with a hair clip on the shelf provided for this, but I had my own. When I was ready he positioned me for the x-ray, which I found uncomfortable. You have to stand with your feet in the right position, back towards the x-ray machine. He then moved the plate up to my chin so my spine was very stretched, with the plate pushed right up under my chin. He then placed my hands on my hips and put a rubber protection piece of equipment against my lower back with my thumbs hooked through the handles. Then I had to take a deep breath and hold it while he took the x-ray image. It was a very hot day and I started to feel a bit queasy but it was soon over. Then he told me to get dressed again and take the gown with me and he took me to the next room to see the doctor. 

 

The doctor had my file and my son's file on her desk. She explained that she was going to get the signatures and consent done at the beginning. They had stuck one of our ID photos on a form and she signed my son's up the side and asked me to sign the bottom and put (mother) in brackets. She went through the questionnaire we had just filled in and asked all the questions again verbally. I had a depressive episode 25 years ago when my mother was terminally ill and had put that in my form with an explanation. She asked me about this and how it was treated (counselling, no medication). She then went through my son's paperwork. I had phoned ahead of the interview to say that I had extensive paperwork for my son so they scheduled extra time for us. She speed read through his EHC plan and asked questions about how he is doing educationally. She read all the other paperwork thoroughly and thanked me for bringing it as it saves them having to request more information later. 

 

She then got on with my physical examination - eye test, ear, throat and eye examination, took my temperature, my blood pressure and took the blood sample, then asked me to remove my top and listened to my heart and breathing with a stethoscope. She then told me to put my top back on and take my trousers off and lie down while she wrote down her notes about what she'd just done. Then she checked my pulse on the top of my feet for any circulatory problems, my reflex in my knees, and my stomach for any swellings or abnormalities. Throughout she explained what she was about to do and why and had a calm, reassuring demeanour. She was very good at taking the blood sample and I hardly noticed that she'd done it until it was over. I don't have any bruising from it, which I usually do after a sample has been taken. We then sat back at her desk and she told me that the urine test was to check for gonorrhea and that if everything was clear that I wouldn't hear from them. If there was a problem with any of the results from the tests they would contact me within 5 working days. 

 

She then asked me to go collect my son from the waiting room for his physical examination. She explained to him what she was going to do and why and asked him to sign the paperwork that gives her consent to examine him. She offered him the option of seeing a male doctor but that it would mean more waiting as he was seeing another person at that moment. He decided he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. She had a brief chat with him about school and how he felt he was doing and how he felt about the prospect of moving to America. My son is very high functioning so he gave good eye contact and conversation through out. He even attempted to bargain with her about taking his top off for the chest examination and they had a laugh about that. She reassured him that she sees bodies all the time and doesn't even think about it, she is looking for any problems, not how someone looks. That put him at ease (he is very self-conscious at the moment as any 14 year old is). 

 

She then did exactly the same examination as she had with me, except she didn't ask him to remove his jeans, which I thought was very considerate of her. 

 

When we were done with the doctor we went back to the waiting room again to wait for a nurse to talk through our vaccinations with us. We waited about 20 minutes. The nurse came to get us and took us to another room. She checked which visa we were applying for. She advised me to get immunity screening as it's a long time since I had a MMR booster. This is free on the NHS and she explained that I may have built up immunity naturally so it's best to check as the jab costs £100. She said my son needs a tetanus booster as it will be 10 years since his last one at the end of July. This costs £40 on the NHS. She wrote this all out on a form and signed it and stamped it. We are going to check if it's cheaper and easier to do the jabs once in America, or to get them done here on the NHS. The nurse didn't try to persuade us to get the immunisations done there and then at all, which I thought they might. 

 

We then went back to the waiting room while the receptionist finished off the paperwork and got our bill ready. We waited about 15 more minutes. When it was all ready the receptionist came and got us. She gave me 2 new forms, with a cover stating

                             " VisaMedicals

DO NOT LOSE THIS U.S. DEPARTMENT OS STATE FORM 

This is a personal copy of your vaccination record (US Department of State Form 3025), which you will be

required to present upon change of status, enrolment in school, and application for work in the U.S.A."

 

I don't know if I'd forgotten about that part because I've been so stressed about this day,  or if I'd never known it. Anyway, it made me feel that this is really happening now. 

 

Then I paid the bill - £470. £330 for me & £140 for my son because he is under 15 years old. 

 

We were there for 2 and a half hours altogether, including arriving too early. 

 

All in all it was a good experience and the staff were very good. 

 

I was very proud of how my son coped with the whole thing. It was definitely worth putting in all the preparation with him and discussing it for weeks before hand, however boring and tedious it was for both of us. I don't know if I've done enough for him to pass but I know I've done all I could. It's out of my hands now. 

 

We got home quite late and it was a hot and cramped journey so I expect some kind of fall out over the coming days - I expect my son will be less communicative than usual and need the reassurance of his routines while he processes the experience. I've tried to space out these various steps to give him time to prepare and recover from each one. It's a difficult balancing act because, after 2 years, I want to get on with building a life together and live in our new house and be a normal couple and family. It's very difficult to contain all the added pressure of how this process affects him but with a little extra planning and care it is achievable. 

 

If anyone has questions you can DM me if you'd rather keep it private. I took some photos of the entrance and the waiting room if anyone wants them for a social story in preparation for the medical. My son is too old for that now but I know how much those kinds of details helped when he was younger and non-verbal. It doesn't matter if you are reading this years down the line - I'm very happy to answer any questions and pass on what we've learnt. It's very disappointing to see a thread go cold and not know the outcome. I hope we will have a success story to tell. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As a general comment much cheaper to make sure you have everything sorted in the UK, medical costs ,Civil Surgeon etc will cost a lot more in the US.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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3 minutes ago, Boiler said:

As a general comment much cheaper to make sure you have everything sorted in the UK, medical costs ,Civil Surgeon etc will cost a lot more in the US.

Thanks Boiler. I haven't had a chance to discuss it with my fiance yet.

I knew it would feel rushed at the end so it's more a matter of fitting everything in and prioritising than cost at this stage. Packing up our lives is the priority right now. I'm leaving one child behind so it's not a straight forward move. I've been sorting through everything for over a year, deciding what will go where. Add the mixed emotions of all involved and getting a jab seems way down the list of priorities. We could be moving in 4 weeks and I'm going to have plenty of time on my hands after that (until I get a driving licence and my belongings arrive there, anyhow). 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, fip & jim said:

We are going to check if it's cheaper and easier to do the jabs once in America, or to get them done here on the NHS. The nurse didn't try to persuade us to get the immunisations done there and then at all, which I thought they might. 

 Because you didn't get your immigration jabs signed off on the DS-3025 vaccination form at Knightsbridge, you will have to find an approved Civil Surgeon in the US to fill out a new form for you. Many will insist you have another complete medical for several hundred dollars plus the cost of shots.  You might want to ring Knightsbridge and tell them to hold your results until you can get your jabs. If you have 2 MMR jabs on your sheet, you need nothing else. Your son could have been given an "insufficient time interval" waiver.  The cost in the US will be not only the shots, but the cost of another doctor to sign off.

Edited by Wuozopo

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52 minutes ago, Wuozopo said:

 Because you didn't get your immigration jabs signed off on the DS-3025 vaccination form at Knightsbridge, you will have to find an approved Civil Surgeon in the US to fill out a new form for you. Many will insist you have another complete medical for several hundred dollars plus the cost of shots.  You might want to ring Knightsbridge and tell them to hold your results until you can get your jabs. If you have 2 MMR jabs on your sheet, you need nothing else. Your son could have been given an "insufficient time interval" waiver.  The cost in the US will be not only the shots, but the cost of another doctor to sign off.

Ok. Thanks for the information. We were just discussing what to do so that's very helpful. It was such an ordeal doing this stage alone that we may decide to wait until we are together. The nurse told me we can get them here & it will be ok as long as we have the record of it. Was she wrong? I am going to have the screening like she suggested because I don't want to have an unnecessary immunisation. My fiance has very comprehensive health insurance through work so cost isn't a major factor in deciding what to do.

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If money is no issue then none of this is important.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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2 minutes ago, Boiler said:

If money is no issue then none of this is important.

Yeah. Our priorities are different because of my son's condition & we can be a bit more flexible because our finances allow it. But I appreciate being given information I may have missed or forgotten about. Thanks. 

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31 minutes ago, fip & jim said:

The nurse told me we can get them here & it will be ok as long as we have the record of it.

She failed to tell you that you will have to pay a civil surgeon in the US who may insist you and the son go through another full medical exam and TB skin test. I called 10 one day and all wanted $250 up. Some report $300-$600 each person and no insurance accepted.  It is just a hassle when you could fax proof to Knightsbridge and be done at no additional charge or finding a doctor.  Once they send your results to the embassy it's too late. 

 

Sounds like you would rather deal with it later which is fine. 

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6 minutes ago, Wuozopo said:

She failed to tell you that you will have to pay a civil surgeon in the US who may insist you and the son go through another full medical exam and TB skin test. I called 10 one day and all wanted $250 up. Some report $300-$600 each person and no insurance accepted.  It is just a hassle when you could fax proof to Knightsbridge and be done at no additional charge or finding a doctor.  Once they send your results to the embassy it's too late. 

 

Sounds like you would rather deal with it later which is fine. 

It's good to know our options though so I do appreciate you telling me. I don't expect a nurse to know the details of how the visa process works & I was so hyped up trying to get through the day that I know I'd forget something. Thanks again. 

Do you know if you can have the shots done at a regular doctor's Stateside? And how do you go about finding an approved civil surgeon? Weighing up our options right now. Our interview is next week so not sure I'd be able to delay them sending the results to the embassy at this stage anyway.

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Posted (edited)

Your options as follows:

 

Obtain all required shots before you leave the UK - keep all proofs with you when you go stateside. You can get them from your GP or from a pharmacy like Boots, for a cost of course.

 

Obtain all required shots in the US either from a US civil surgeon or from a pharmacy (Walgreens, Walmart, a clinic etc). Find a US civil surgeon that will recertify the vaccinations for you once you provide them proof of receiving them. This can be complicated as many will attempt to scam for more money and require you to have the medical over again. This is contrary to the requirements for K1s... so it's a matter of attempting to find a civil surgeon that knows and is willing to follow the rules. There's a thread on VJ regarding some doctors that do it correctly. Typically if you have already have them done and simply need it recertified (for a variety of reasons too lengthy to go into) you would read the instructions carefully for form I-693, and fill out only the portions that pertain to a K1 adjusting case that is not required to have a new medical. The surgeon completes their section, and it is closed in an envelope and stamped.

 

Remember any shots you obtain stateside will likely be whatever cost they want to charge, no insurance accepted.

 

You may choose to have this done when you send in your AOS, or wait for an RFE, or fulfill the requirements when required to if given an interview.

 

Keep in mind that having this done stateside will cost a great deal of money. Also further be advised, that for UK-specific cases or Europeans that have received a BCG at some point in their lives (it's not really given in the US) that this vax has been known to cause false positive TB tests that not every doctor is aware of. However, the CDC has specific guidelines in place on the matter that I would recommend printing out and showing any civil surgeon that should argue you need a new TB test. But hopefully with careful planning, you should avoid that altogether by finding a civil surgeon that is willing to follow the rules and just handle the vaccinations.

Edited by yuna628

K-1 - AOS & ROC Timeline  - Immigration and the Health Exchange Price of Love in the UK Thinking of Returning to UK?

 

First met: 12/31/04 - Engaged: 9/24/09
Filed I-129F: 10/4/14 - Packet received: 10/7/14
NOA 1 email + ARN assigned: 10/10/14 (hard copy 10/17/14)
Touched on website (fixed?): 12/9/14 - Poked USCIS: 4/1/15
NOA 2 email: 5/4/15 (hard copy 5/11/15)
Sent to NVC: 5/8/15 - NVC received + #'s assigned: 5/15/15 (estimated)
NVC sent: 5/19/15 - London received/ready: 5/26/15
Packet 3: 5/28/15 - Medical: 6/16/15
Poked London 7/1/15 - Packet 4: 7/2/15
Interview: 7/30/15 - Approved!
AP + Issued 8/3/15 - Visa in hand (depot): 8/6/15
POE: 8/27/15

Wedding: 9/30/15

Filed I-485, I-131, I-765: 11/7/15

Packet received: 11/9/15

NOA 1 txt/email: 11/15/15 - NOA 1 hardcopy: 11/19/15

Bio: 12/9/15

EAD + AP approved: 1/25/16 - EAD received: 2/1/16

RFE for USCIS inability to read vax instructions: 5/21/16 (no e-notification & not sent from local office!)

RFE response sent: 6/7/16 - RFE response received 6/9/16

AOS approved/card in production: 6/13/16  

NOA 2 hardcopy + card sent 6/17/16

Green Card received: 6/18/16

USCIS 120 day reminder notice: 2/22/18

Filed I-751: 5/2/18 - Packet received: 5/4/18

NOA 1:  5/29/18 (12 mo) 8/13/18 (18 mo)  - Bio: 6/27/18

 

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Find a civil surgeon https://my.uscis.gov/findadoctor

 

Call ahead and ask prices to do only the immunization sheet of the I-693 before you commit. If they say full medical exam, hang up and try another. They are in private practice and can charge anything they want, so not a fixed rate like Knightsbridge. 

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2 minutes ago, yuna628 said:

Your options as follows:

 

Obtain all required shots before you leave the UK - keep all proofs with you when you go stateside. You can get them from your GP or from a pharmacy like Boots, for a cost of course.

 

Obtain all required shots in the US either from a US civil surgeon or from a pharmacy (Walgreens, Walmart, a clinic etc). Find a US civil surgeon that will recertify the vaccinations for you once you provide them proof of receiving them. This can be complicated as many will attempt to scam for more money and require you to have the medical over again. This is contrary to the requirements for K1s... so it's a matter of attempting to find a civil surgeon that knows and is willing to follow the rules. There's a thread on VJ regarding some doctors that do it correctly. Typically if you have already have them done and simply need it recertified (for a variety of reasons too lengthy to go into) you would read the instructions carefully for form I-695, and fill out only the portions that pertain to a K1 adjusting case that is not required to have a new medical. The surgeon completes their section, and it is closed in an envelope and stamped.

 

Remember any shots you obtain stateside will likely be whatever cost they want to charge, no insurance accepted.

 

You may choose to have this done when you send in your AOS, or wait for an RFE, or fulfill the requirements when required to if given an interview.

 

Keep in mind that having this done stateside will cost a great deal of money. Also further be advised, that for UK-specific cases or Europeans that have received a BCG at some point in their lives (it's not really given in the US) that this vax has been known to cause false positive TB tests that not every doctor is aware of. However, the CDC has specific guidelines in place on the matter that I would recommend printing out and showing any civil surgeon that should argue you need a new TB test. But hopefully with careful planning, you should avoid that altogether by finding a civil surgeon that is willing to follow the rules and just handle the vaccinations.

Thanks yuna.

 

The cost isn't a factor, I didn't mean just about my fiances health insurance, we have the funds. For us it's more about my son being ok with what needs to be done. He needs time to prepare for things because of his condition, so rushing him to get a shot done in the 6 days before our embassy interview is not an option. He already has a lot to cope with - another imminent trip up to London, a possible denial of the visa, a possible relocation in the very near future, starting at a new school, making new friends, etc, etc. That's a lot of change and uncertainty for an ASD individual to deal with.

 

Once we know our options and have made a decision then we can prepare him for it. At this stage we think we will get his tetanus done here when/if there is an appointment available & I'll get the screening done. Then we'll take it from there. This isn't such a big obstacle for us to overcome but we understand that it's a requirement needed for AOS

 

It's good to get advice. Thanks.

3 minutes ago, Wuozopo said:

Find a civil surgeon https://my.uscis.gov/findadoctor

 

Call ahead and ask prices to do only the immunization sheet of the I-693 before you commit. If they say full medical exam, hang up and try another. They are in private practice and can charge anything they want, so not a fixed rate like Knightsbridge. 

Thanks Wuozopo. 

 

You guys are so helpful! We really appreciate it. 

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