On September 26, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an interim policy memo granting military physicians a blanket designation as civil surgeons to facilitate medical exams required for active military service members, veterans of the Armed Forces and certain eligible dependents. The interim memo is in effect indefinitely. Comments are due October 16, 2012.
Previously, the licensing requirement for civil surgeons -- which requires a license to practice medicine in the state where the physician renders services -- discouraged military physicians from becoming designated civil surgeons for immigration purposes. As a result, military service members and their dependents paid for immigration medical exams even though services could otherwise have been offered at no cost. Service members also had to locate civil surgeons -- a time-consuming task often distracting to military duties. The new policy makes it easier for service members and dependents to obtain immigration medical exams through lessening the time investment and financial burden involved in seeking civil surgeons. A copy of the policy memorandum may be found here.
For more information on these changes to civil surgeon designations, please contact one of our immigration attorneys. For a description of Cox Smith's Immigration & International Trade Practice Group and a full list of attorneys, click here.