Change in Type of TB Test for Green Card Applicants

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated instructions for civil surgeons regarding medical screening for tuberculosis (TB) for applicants for permanent residency, otherwise known as green card applicants. The new instructions replace the tuberculin skin test (TST) as the initial tuberculosis screening method with a TB blood test (interferon-gamma release assay or IGRA).

Blood Test Better at Detecting TB

Civil surgeons are physicians who have been authorized by the USCIS to provide the medical examinations required by nearly all I-485 applicants. TB tends to be a difficult disease to detect. The IGRA testing method has been found to be more accurate at detecting TB than traditional skin tests, which is what prompted the CDC to update the testing requirements.


Generally, an I-485 applicant generally is not expected to be familiar with the types of tests a civil surgeon is required to perform. Given that there has been a recent change in the testing requirements, however, it may be prudent to check with one’s civil surgeon to verify that s/he is aware of the change.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.