Understanding the Impact of DUI or Alcohol Abuse on the Immigration Medical Exam

General Considerations

During the interview for an immigration medical exam, all applicants are queried about their history of illegal drug use, misuse of legal drugs, alcohol abuse, and DUI arrests. The focus is on identifying any past harmful behavior, such as DUI offenses, violence, or criminal activities associated with substance abuse.

Detailed History

Applicants with a history of alcohol or drug abuse undergo detailed questioning regarding the frequency and severity of their substance use. If the applicant has ceased substance use, the examiner will inquire about the date of the last usage.


The current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders guides the classification of substance use disorders. If an applicant’s disorder is deemed to be in remission, typically defined as at least one year since the last episode of abuse and absence of harmful behavior, they are classified as Class B, Medically Qualified. Conversely, individuals with ongoing or recent substance abuse issues are classified as Class A, Medically Disqualified.


The immigration medical exam is just one aspect of the extensive application process. While passing the medical exam is often necessary for adjusting immigration status, individuals failing due to substance abuse issues are usually given the opportunity for reexamination. Collaborating with the Civil Surgeon, applicants can develop rehabilitation plans, typically lasting a year and involving periodic random substance testing. These efforts aim to demonstrate rehabilitation and mitigate concerns regarding substance abuse for immigration status adjustment.


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