SLEC Medical Exam Experience US Visa
About SLEC Medical Exam Experience US Visa
Today, we give you information about the SLEC medical exam experience for a U.S. Visa.
St. Luke Extension Clinic (SLEC)is specifically the Philippine U.S. Embassy’s accredited panel physician. In other words, SLEC is the only medical facility for a U.S. Visa medical examination.
We want you to feel comfortable going to your US Visa medical exam at SLEC. Therefore, we provide this post about the SLEC medical exam experience to give you the knowledge and understanding of what happens inside.
For most people, it is more relaxing if they understand before hand how things work.
For our guide on the SLEC medical exam experience, we provide the following information:
- Medical Fees
- What to Bring
- Hotels Near SLEC
- When to Arrive
- Medical Exam Process
- New TB Testing Procedures
For more information in detail, visit the SLEC website at http://www.slec.ph/.
If you have not already done so, please visit our previous blog post, “US Visa Medical Exam Registration SLEC Manila“.
When you are done, come back here for he SLEC medical exam experience information.
For this purpose, this blog post tells you how to register for your US Visa medical exam at SLEC.
Remember, this is a registration, not making an appointment. In fact, SLEC does not make appointments for the initial two-day exam.
However, if you complete your registration beforehand, it makes your SLEC medical exam experience a lot easier.
If you do not register beforehand, you will need to take the time to register at SLEC. Then, many people go in front of you.
Therefore, take the time before and register.
SLEC is located at 1177 J Bocabo Street between the intersections of Antonio Flores and Arquiza Streets in the Ermita District of Manila, Philippines.
Hotels Near SLEC
By the way, remember to visit our previous blog post on, “Hotels Near St. Luke Medical Center Extension Clinic (SLEC), Ermita, Philippines“.
Also, remember, that for SLEC and other places you need a hotel, that we are now a Travelbook.ph official blogger.
Travelbook.ph is a great site for both Filipinos and foreigners to use because of:
- Pay at hotel feature. Thus, no requirement for credit card.
- Best price guarantee. Therefore, they always have the lowest price in the Philippines.
- Pay over the counter at a bank or mall. In fact, this is a big feature in the Philippines.
Conversely, also on the blog post, “Hotels Near St. Luke Medical Center Extension Clinic (SLEC), Ermita, Philippines” there is the ability to book through Expedia. Expedia is a great hotel booking site for those from the USA or those with a credit or debit card.
What to Bring
See the “Required Documents” page of the SLEC website to see what documents you are specifically required to bring for your visa category.
In addition, see the “Additional Documents” page of the SLEC website for information on any additional documents that pertain to your situation. For example, additional documents include items for the following:
- Old Chest X-Ray Films
- Existing Immunization Records
- Previous or Current Medical Conditions
- Female Applicants of Child Bearing Years
Bring all the requirements needed as stated in the clinic’s website and a black ball pen to sign forms.
Also, bring a jacket or sweater, something that will keep you warm. It’s pretty cold inside as they run the a/c at a low temperature.
In addition, bring a book or something that’ll keep you busy while waiting.
Effective October 1, 2017, began charging new medical examination fees:
- 17,025.00 PHP for adult immigrant visa applicants ages 15 and above and,
- 9,583.00 PHP for children ages 14 and below.
Payment is only in the form of Philippine Peso (php) cash. As a consequence, SLEC does not accept checks, credit cards or debit cards for payment.
The medical fee is inclusive of all vaccinations. Also, any inter-specialty consultations within the clinic are a part of the fee. However, any psychological evaluations have a separate charge to the applicant.
In addition, any sub-specialty clinics outside of SLEC have a separate charge to the applicant.
If you have to complete the 6 months of TB DOT treatment, you pay for a second medical fee upon completion.
When to Arrive and Fall in Line
When to Arrive
SLEC is open weekdays on Monday through Friday except for scheduled holidays. The clinic opening time is specifically at 6:00 am.
However, because SLEC operates on a first come, first serve basis, many people arrive way before the opening time. If fact, some people start falling in line at 3:00 am in the morning. SLEC, though, asks that people wait until 4:30 am at least to start falling in line. For example, Lea arrived at 5:00 am and was about the 100th person in line.
For those with young children, its is advisable to get there early. Children 2 -14 years of age get the new IGRA blood TB screening test instead of the old skin test. See our previous blog post, “SLEC New Fees and TB Test Procedure“. On the condition that the blood is collection is before 12 pm, the IGRA test result is available by 2 pm the next day. On the other hand, if the blood collection is after 12 pm, the IGRA test result is not available until 2 pm after 2 days. In the hope to get your results within the 2 days of the exam, get in line early if you have children.
Therefore, it is really important to get a hotel near SLEC.
Fall in Line
There are three lines that form. The line that you want to be in is the line for initial U.S. visa exams. The other lines consist of people returning for sputum testing and the other for those from countries other than the U.S.
Many people have a friend or relative accompany them in line. The extra person is helpful to hold your place in line if you need to use the CR, get food or water. In fact, this help is especially helpful if you have small children. However, only those that are taking an exam are allowed inside the clinic.
There are people who rent out chairs that for you to sit on. Plastic chairs with backrest cost about 15 PHP to rent and plastic stools are at about 10 PHP.
Make sure to eat before going to the clinic as food is not allowed in the clinic.
We highly recommend that you bring a bottle of water. Also, it’s a good idea to be hydrated so that you can pee in a cup when asked to do so.
Snacks that will fit in your purse may be taken into the clinic.
Medical Exam Process
Day 1 Flow Chart
The Day 1 medical exam process flow chart is shown below. Thus, learn the process to make your Day 1 SLEC medical exam experience a better one.
The length of the day varies. If you are toward the front of the line, you should be out by 12 noon. However, if it is very busy, it can go till 3 – 4 pm. In addition, if they are not very busy, you may, in fact, complete everything in just one day. Although, if you have complications or children 2-14 years old, it will take two days.
Verification by Guards
Around 5:30 am, the guards start accepting applicants. For this purpose, have your papers ready.
Subsequently, the guard looks at the documents that you bring as part of the requirements we gave above.
After looking at your documents, the guard then check your papers and hand you a Patient Data Sheet (PDS) form to fill out.
Then, you receive a number.
After that, you move to the inside to the ground floor waiting area. Here, you fill out the PDS form and wait.
At around 6:00 am, the U.S. reception counters starts calling out numbers.
When it your turn, you hand all your papers to the receptionist. Next, she asks for your name, birthday, educational attainment, and civil status.
After that, she takes a picture of you. In addition, she takes a finger print scan.
Then, she hands back to you your PDS form with your patient number.
Now, you go to 5th floor for payment.
Look above for the medical fees. As shown above, SLEC only accepts cash in PHP.
Usually, there are only a few applicants are waiting in line. Therefore, it does not take long for you to make your payment.
After paying, you will be asked to go to the X-ray on the 3rd floor.
Radiology or IGRA Phlebotomy Room
See our previous blog post, “SLEC New Fees and TB Test Procedure“, for the new SLEC TB testing procedures. After reading the article, come back here.
In summary, However, there is no change of the x-ray procedure for those 15 years of age or above. Similarly, the same is true of x-rays for children that have had exposure to TB.
As a result, all visa applicants ages 15 or above,or children who had exposure to TB cases or history take a chest x-ray.
At radiology, the lady takes your PDS form. Subsequently, go to the X-Ray room when they call you to get your X-ray done.
Pregnant women are given proper shielding as a precaution measure of radiation hazards. Also, pregnant applicants have the opportunity to defer their medical examination including chest X-Ray until after delivery.
The waiting time at radiology varies depending where you are in the line from outside.
Children 2-14 years of age take the new IGRA blood test.
Therefore, if you have a child 2 – 14 years old, now go to the 2nd floor Phlebotomy room for the IGRA TB test for your child.
The following are the advantages of the new IGRA TB test or the old skin test:
- Requires a single patient visit to conduct the test.
- Results are available within 24 hours.
- Does not boost responses for subsequent tests.
- Prior BCG (bacille Calmette-Guérin) vaccination does not cause a false-positive IGRA test result.
In fact, the single patient visit is a great improvement. Thus, there is no requirement to return to SLEC in order to read the results as was the case with the TST skin test.
Also, the IGRA does not affect subsequent TB testing like the sputum test.
Above all, there is no false positive for any one with a BCG vaccination. This is a very big deal in the Philippines as most people have the BCG vaccination. As a result, this should significantly decrease the number of false positives.
Please remember, for those with young children, its is advisable to get to SLEC early. Children 2 -14 years of age get the new IGRA blood TB screening test instead of the old skin test. On the condition that the blood is collection is before 12 pm, the IGRA test result is available by 2 pm the next day. On the other hand, if the blood collection is after 12 pm, the IGRA test result is not available until 2 pm after 2 days. In the hope to get your results within the 2 days of the exam, get in line early if you have children.
After the X-Ray or INGRA test, go to the 5th floor for medical evaluation at the USA counter.
Medial Evaluation at USA Counter
The medical exam consists of vital signs, eye test, height, weight and physical exam.
Here, there is a big crowd. Also, the medical exam has the most waiting time. In fact, you can wait upwards of 30 mins. or more to have your preliminary exam (vital signs, eye test, height and weight taken).
Leave your PDS form with the nurse and wait for them to call your number for your preliminary testing. Subsequently, the preliminary testing goes quickly.
After your preliminary testing is finished, you are given a number for the physical examination.
Female visa applicants are given a female doctor.
The wait to inside the doctor’s office is usually 10 or so minutes then you’ll go inside to the doctor’s office.
Firstly, the doctor asks you for some medical history and current medical conditions. Be sure to honestly tell them any medical conditions that exist currently or in the pass.
Next, you will disrobe and get have a paper smock in which to cover up with, then the Doctor performs the exam.
Typically, it takes about 15 minutes to complete the doctor’s exam.
After the doctor’s exam, go to 4th floor for laboratory blood and urine tests.
Laboratory for Blood and Urine Tests
At the laboratory, you have blood a sample taken.
In addition, you give a urine test.
Your blood is analyzed for many things. Also, you get those results on the second day when you return.
A syphilis test is a requirement for all applicants 15 years of age or older.
In addition, a gonorrhea test is a requirement for all applicants 15 years of age or older.
The nurse then instructs you to return tomorrow at 7:30 am for your results.
Also, they remind you to bring your passport and 2 pieces of 2×2 passport photos.
Next, go to the 2nd floor for the immunization interview. If there is still time, you might even completion of your vaccinations on the first day.
At the immunization section, you are given a form to fill-out. In addition, if you have previous vaccination records, provide them here. Then, wait for them to call your name.
See the USCIS information for vaccination requirements.
The doctor asks for some personal details. This is where females may have problems if they have had “personal contact” recently. The doctor asks this question at immunization. If you have had personal contact recently, they may not allow you to have immunizations for fear that you may be pregnant. There is a risk to unborn children with some immunizations.
The vaccinations are part of your medical fee. Therefore, there is no additional fee for vaccinations.
After your immunization interview and possibly vaccinations, you then go to the check out counter.
Check Out Counters
At the check out counters for each area, they look over your PDS form for completeness.
Please check your own PDS form beforehand. Make sure all laboratory and examinations has a Nurse or Doctor’s initials or signature. Having their initial or signature means you have completed that exam. Otherwise, you have to go back and determine the issues to secure a signature.
In addition, they let you know if you are all done in one day or if you have to come back tomorrow to finish.
If you finish everything on the first day, see the Releasing Section for Day 2 below.
Day 2 Flow Charts
On the second day, you don’t go so early. Plan to arrive at SLEC around 7:20 am.
After arriving, go straight to the guard and show your receipt from the previous day. Don’t line up again like the previous day, just go to the guard.
The guard checks your PDS number on the computer and coding on the PDS form. Then, the guard instructs you where to go.
There are two different flow charts for Day 2.
For example, one flow chart is specifically for applicants who did not undergo IGRA testing. On the other hand, the other flow chart is for those who did undergo IGRA testing. The latter is typically for those applicants 2 – 14 years of age.
Day 2- For applicants Not Taken IGRA Testing
The Day 2 medical exam process flow chart for applicants not taken IGRA testing is shown below. Thus, learn the process to make your Day 2 SLEC medical exam experience also a better one.
Patients over 40 years old go to the laboratory for a pregnancy test before immunizations.
If your only last requirement is immunization, then go directly to the 2nd floor for immunizations. Then, go to the releasing section after on the ground floor. For this purpose, see the immunization and checkout sections above for Day 1.
If your chest X-rays on Day 1 are abnormal findings suggestive of TB, then you go to the laboratory on he 4th floor. Here, you schedule for a sputum exam in the near future to confirm if it is or is not TB.
However, if your first day’s X-Ray were inconclusive, you may have to go back to radiology. Here, you get additional chest X-Ray views. Then, if normal finding, go to immunization and releasing.
Anyone needing psych/psycho or dermatology referrals go to Counter A on the ground floor. Anyone that has had a marriage annulment previously is scheduled for a Psych referral. As stated above, any sub-specialty clinics outside of SLEC have a separate charge to the applicant.
Also, anyone for pending medical reports go to Counter A on the ground floor.
Day 2- For Applicants That Underwent IGRA Testing
The Day 2 medical exam process flow chart for applicants taken IGRA testing is shown below. Thus, learn the process to make your Day 2 SLEC medical exam experience also a better one.
The IGRA Test is for those 2 – 14 years of age. The IGRA test results are not available until 2 pm if the blood was drawn by 12 pm on Day 1. Therefore, there is a wait for that result. Moreover, if the blood was taken after 12 pm then the results are not available for another day at 2pm.
If the IGRA test is negative, then the child goes directly to the immunization section on the second floor.
However, if the IGRA test is positive, then the child goes to the 3rd floor at radiology for a chest X-Ray.
If the chest X-Ray is of normal findings, then the child goes directly to the immunization section on the second floor.
However, if the chest X-Ray is abnormal findings then it is suggestive of TB. Therefore, the child goes to the 4th floor to the laboratory for sputum exam instructions and scheduling
At the releasing section, the nurse has you sign some papers. Then, sit down and wait for 5 to 10 minutes at which time they call you again at one of the releasing counters. This time, they ask for your passport and 2 pieces of the 2×2 passport photos. In addition, they ask for personal details to confirm your identity.
Next, you place your finger on the fingerprint scanner, As a result, your patient profile appears on her computer. Subsequently, the nurse double checks everything. In addition, the nurse asks you to also double-check your information on the screen and papers.
Once everything is done and found correct, the nurse asks you when is your embassy interview date. Normally, they forward the Medical results directly to the embassy. If your embassy interview is in the next day or two, then they may give you your medical results in a sealed envelope. If you do hand carry it, do not open the envelope.
Also, the nurse gives you a copy of the vaccination form DS-3025. For this purpose, use it to give to your new doctor in the USA. In addition, for fiance visa applicants, use it once marry and file for your AOS.
Finally, the nurse hands you your passport back and a CD with your X-ray results. After the explanations are given, you are done with your medical exam.
We hope that your SLEC medical exam experience was a good one.
What if My Fiance or Spouse is TB Positive
In fact, it is very hard and deflating news to accept at the beginning.
However, it is not the end of the word.
This is due to the fact that subsequent sputum testing may rule out TB.
Those testing positing with the new IGRA test receive a chest x-ray. If there is a normal finding, then they are clear of further testing. If there is an abnormal finding, then they go onto sputum testing.
Also, if the sputum test confirms TB, you can still get your embassy interview after 6 months of TB treatment.
SLEC does not cancel an interview appointment, but they are supposed to notify the USEM that your case will be delayed pending the culture/passing the medical exam. Hence, make sure you cancel your interview appointment if you are undergoing sputum testing.
Initially, SLEC collects 3 sputum test samples over 3 days. This occurs sometime around a week or so after the a positive IGRA blood test or initial x-ray showing signs of past or present TB.
SLEC evaluates these cultures over an 8 week (2 month) period.
Those samples are used to determine if the suspect case is in fact TB. It only takes one of those samples to go positive for the case to be classified as TB positive.
SLEC may contact you earlier than 8 weeks. However, this usually means that there is a TB positive result. It sucks, but it is also a good thing as TB kills. Moreover, it now can be cured and still attend your interview appointment after treatment.
If the sputum culture is negative, then the person doesn’t need to be treated. However, if its positive, then that’s when the 6 month DOT treatment comes in.
If you had to complete the sputum culture test, keep close track of the your visa validity date. This is because of the fact that it is tied to the initial medical date. Hence, you will be short of the 6 months to enter the U.S. As a result of this, you may only have 90 to 120 days before the visa expires.
6 Months DOT Treatment for TB
After positive determination, SLEC requires the person to receive medication daily (5 days per week) at their facility for 6 months.
If your spouse, fiance or child is from outside the Manila area they will require suitable accommodations in Manila. A bed-spacer close to SLEC costs approximately 5,000 php a month. An apartment is about 15,000 php plus utilities. Most chose the apartment route and budget about 30,000 php a month for everything.
See our Travelbook.ph site and search for vacation rentals in Manila.
Also, see our previous blog post on, “Asian Vacation Home Rental- Using HomeAway Asia or airbnb” for a home rental. Also, search local classified for apartment or bed spacer availability.
After the start of treatment, SLEC does a series of 3 sputum tests during the 6 month DOT process. Each test is 2 samples. SLEC collects the final 2 sputum samples at the end of the 5th month of DOT. They take these over 2 days, 24 hours apart. That culture will marinade for 2 months. The DOT is weekdays at SLEC and they’re not open on weekends and holidays. There’s a return trip required at the end of the 7th month to get the final sputum results, redo medical and to get the treatment paperwork.
Therefore, it’s a 9 month process from the point of X-ray or blood detection if the sputum is positive. That’s if all goes well.
If you have to complete the 6 months of DOT treatment, you pay for a second medical fee upon completion. However, this allows you a fresh 90 days to enter the USA.
After you are officially clear of TB, then make your embassy interview appointment.