8 U.S. Code § 1222 - Detention of aliens for physical and mental examination

(a) Detention of aliens
For the purpose of determining whether aliens (including alien crewmen) arriving at ports of the United States belong to any of the classes inadmissible under this chapter, by reason of being afflicted with any of the diseases or mental or physical defects or disabilities set forth in section 1182 (a) of this title, or whenever the Attorney General has received information showing that any aliens are coming from a country or have embarked at a place where any of such diseases are prevalent or epidemic, such aliens shall be detained by the Attorney General for a sufficient time to enable the immigration officers and medical officers to subject such aliens to observation and an examination sufficient to determine whether or not they belong to inadmissible classes.
(b) Physical and mental examination
The physical and mental examination of arriving aliens (including alien crewmen) shall be made by medical officers of the United States Public Health Service, who shall conduct all medical examinations and shall certify, for the information of the immigration officers and the immigration judges, any physical and mental defect or disease observed by such medical officers in any such alien. If medical officers of the United States Public Health Service are not available, civil surgeons of not less than four years’ professional experience may be employed for such service upon such terms as may be prescribed by the Attorney General. Aliens (including alien crewmen) arriving at ports of the United States shall be examined by at least one such medical officer or civil surgeon under such administrative regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe, and under medical regulations prepared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Medical officers of the United States Public Health Service who have had special training in the diagnosis of insanity and mental defects shall be detailed for duty or employed at such ports of entry as the Attorney General may designate, and such medical officers shall be provided with suitable facilities for the detention and examination of all arriving aliens who it is suspected may be inadmissible under paragraph (1) of section 1182 (a) of this title, and the services of interpreters shall be provided for such examination. Any alien certified under paragraph (1) of section 1182 (a) of this title, may appeal to a board of medical officers of the United States Public Health Service, which shall be convened by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and any such alien may introduce before such board one expert medical witness at his own cost and expense.
(c) Certification of certain helpless aliens
If an examining medical officer determines that an alien arriving in the United States is inadmissible, is helpless from sickness, mental or physical disability, or infancy, and is accompanied by another alien whose protection or guardianship may be required, the officer may certify such fact for purposes of applying section 1182 (a)(10)(B) of this title with respect to the other alien.


(June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title II, ch. 4, § 232,66 Stat. 196; Pub. L. 99–500, § 101(b) [title II, § 206(a), formerly § 206], Oct. 18, 1986, 100 Stat. 1783–39, 1783–56, renumbered § 206(a),Pub. L. 100–525, § 4(b)(1),Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2615; Pub. L. 99–591, § 101(b) [title II, § 206], Oct. 30, 1986, 100 Stat. 3341–39, 3341–56; Pub. L. 100–525, § 4(b)(2), (d),Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2615; Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title III, §§ 308(b)(2), (3)(C), (c)(2)(A), (d)(4)(H),Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–615, 3009–616, 3009–618.)
References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original, “this Act”, meaning act June 27, 1952, ch. 477, 66 Stat. 163, known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1101 of this title and Tables.

The text of section 1224 of this title, which was transferred to subsec. (b) of this section by Pub. L. 104–208, § 308(b)(3)(C), was based on acts June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title II, ch. 4, § 234,66 Stat. 198; Oct. 24, 1988, Pub. L. 100–525, § 9(k), 102 Stat. 2620; Nov. 29, 1990, Pub. L. 101–649, title VI, § 603(a)(10), 104 Stat. 5083; Sept. 30, 1996, Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title III, §§ 308(b)(3)(A), (B), (d)(3)(A), 371 (b)(3),110 Stat. 3009–615, 3009–617, 3009–645.

1996—Pub. L. 104–208, § 308(b)(2)(B), amended section catchline generally.
Pub. L. 104–208, § 308(b)(2)(A), inserted “(a) Detention of aliens” before “For the purpose of”.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–208, § 308(d)(4)(H), substituted “inadmissible under” for “excluded by” and “inadmissible classes” for “the excluded classes”.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–208, § 308(b)(3)(C), transferred section 1224 of this title to subsec. (b) of this section. See Codification note above.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–208, § 308(c)(2)(A), added subsec. (c).
1988—Pub. L. 100–525, § 4(b)(1), (2), amended Pub. L. 99–500and 99–591. See 1986 Amendment note below.
1986—Pub. L. 99–500, § 101(b) [title II, § 206(a), formerly § 206], as redesignated and amended by Pub. L. 100–525, § 4(b)(1), (2), substituted “by the Attorney General” for “on board the vessel or at the airport of arrival of the aircraft bringing them, unless the Attorney General directs their detention in a United States immigration station or other place specified by him at the expense of such vessel or aircraft except as otherwise provided in this chapter, as circumstances may require or justify,”.
Pub. L. 99–591, § 101(b) [title II, § 206], a corrected version of Pub. L. 99–500, § 101(b) [title II, § 206(a)], was repealed by Pub. L. 100–525, § 4(d), effective as of Oct. 30, 1986.
Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by section 308(b)(2), (3)(C), (c)(2)(A), (d)(4)(H) ofPub. L. 104–208effective, with certain transitional provisions, on the first day of the first month beginning more than 180 days after Sept. 30, 1996, see section 309 ofPub. L. 104–208, set out as a note under section 1101 of this title.
Effective Date of 1988 Amendment

Pub. L. 100–525, § 4(c),Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2615, provided that: “The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) [amending this section and sections 1223, 1227, and 1356 of this title and enacting provisions set out as a note under section 1356 of this title] shall be effective as if they were included in the enactment of the Department of Justice Appropriation Act, 1987 (as contained in section 101(b) ofPublic Law 99–500).”
Abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service and Transfer of Functions

For abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service, transfer of functions, and treatment of related references, see note set out under section 1551 of this title.
Designation of United States Military Physicians as Civil Surgeons

Pub. L. 102–484, div. A, title X, § 1079,Oct. 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 2514, as amended by Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title III, § 308(g)(1),Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–622, provided that: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, United States military physicians with not less than four years professional experience shall be considered to be civil surgeons for the purpose of the performance of physical examinations required under section 232(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1224 [8 U.S.C. 1222 (b)]) of special immigrants described in section 101(a)(27)(K) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(27)(K)).”

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8 CFR - Aliens and Nationality


42 CFR - Public Health



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