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Low-cost US med tests & exam for employment visa
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2970
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:10 am    Post subject: Low-cost US med tests & exam for employment visa Reply with quote

I recently was asked how I'd completed all the required medical tests and the physical examination for my employment visa for around $215 USD. (One American colleague said she'd forked out more than $1200 for her lab tests and exam.) Certainly, the lack of health insurance motivated me to find resourceful ways to keep the total cost to a minimum.

If you’re uninsured and on a tight budget, here are some ideas for fulfilling the medical requirements for your Saudi employment visa:

    STD LAB TESTS: Planned Parenthood is a low-cost option; however, your local city or county health department offers free HIV and STD testing. They will ask very personal questions --- just tell them you want to be tested for peace of mind. No need to say it's for employment purposes.

    ALL OTHER LAB TESTS: It's cheaper to order the individual tests (e.g., liver function profile, hepatitis C, blood/blood sugar, and urinalysis) online versus through a hospital or clinic. Essentially, you go directly to the lab that does the actual testing. Search the Internet for 'cheap low cost blood urine lab tests', and then comparison shop between different test providers for pricing on each individual test as costs can widely vary. For example, I found a coupon for a $16 urinalysis through one provider, while other sites listed rates more than twice that amount for the exact same test. Do make sure that each lab test covers the specific components listed on the Saudi medical report. Note: Although I didn't do a stool test, my employment visa was still approved. Once I got to KSA, all the tests were completed again anyway, so...

    CHEST X-RAY: It's cheaper to get the chest X-ray at an imaging center. Plus, let them know you're uninsured. For example, my X-ray was only $45 --- half of what it would have cost if I'd been insured and hundreds of dollars less than what a hospital would have charged me. Note: Since radiation is involved, you may need a referral from your doctor in order to have the X-ray performed.

    DOCTOR'S EXAM: I used an urgent care center for my general physical exam. It set me back $80, which was my largest expense. Many of these centers also offer low-cost X-rays and some lab tests. Note: Regardless of who conducts your physical exam, your medical report must be signed by an MD and not by a physician's attendant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP).

    OPTIONAL: Along with the other lab tests, I also included verification of my 2010 vaccines for hepatitis A and B; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT); and typhoid.
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vva



Joined: 19 Sep 2010
Posts: 42
Location: NY, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Low-cost US med tests & exam for employment visa Reply with quote

This is probably a good resource and deserves to be a sticky!
thank you for taking the time to organize and share this info with everyone else Smile
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uzurisoul



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 28
Location: Dammam

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Medical Tests - Bilharziasis & Malaria Film Reply with quote

My doctor wasn't able to perform these tests-- Bilharziasis(Urine) & Malaria(Blood). I tried to plead my case since the Bilharziasis falls under urine and if she can rerform Sugar and Albumin, why not the other.

As for the Malaria Film, she stated that there was no way to justify this to the insurance company.

I did a google search as mentioned in the other post, but most companies require orders from doctor. Any suggestions on how to go about getting these tests completed?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2970
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I stated, I didn't do a stool sample nor did I test for certain diseases. These particular diseases, like malaria, either aren't present or are very rare in developed countries like the US. Your doctor can just note, "No symptoms" for each of these diseases on the Saudi med report. Frankly, the Saudi government is more concerned that you aren't entering the country with STDs or HIV/AIDS or a highly-communicable disease like tuberculosis.

By the way, have your doctor note your blood type somewhere prominent on your med report.
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uzurisoul



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 28
Location: Dammam

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you complete your visa processing in the past year or two ?

[quote="nomad soul"]As I stated, I didn't do a stool sample nor did I test for certain diseases.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2970
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

uzurisoul wrote:
Did you complete your visa processing in the past year or two

Less than a year ago. Instead of a private visa agency, I was required to use the administrative services of the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission for my visa and travel processing. It worked out well and didn't cost a bundle.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2970
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Medical Tests - Bilharziasis & Malaria Film Reply with quote

uzurisoul wrote:
My doctor wasn't able to perform these tests-- Bilharziasis(Urine) & Malaria(Blood). I tried to plead my case since the Bilharziasis falls under urine and if she can rerform Sugar and Albumin, why not the other.

As for the Malaria Film, she stated that there was no way to justify this to the insurance company.

I did a google search as mentioned in the other post, but most companies require orders from doctor. Any suggestions on how to go about getting these tests completed?

Even if medical insurance isn't a factor, some doctors won't request certain lab tests if you don't present symptoms or the test is completely irrelevant. The extreme would be a male requesting a pregnancy test to satisfy that requirement for the Saudi med report. Or the disease to be tested is nonexistent or rare in your home country; bilharziosis is one example. Additionally, I suspect some of the tests listed on the med report require a doctor's referral because they fall under the category of diseases that, by law, require notification to state and national health authorities for tracking purposes and to control outbreaks. For example, these would include diseases that were eliminated or brought under control years ago in developed countries like the US, Japan, UK, Canada, Taiwan, etc. but are still common in many developing countries.
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AbeCross



Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 83

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Awful Saudi medical form for US visa applicants Reply with quote

I went to see my doctor recently and showed him the form. He had completed it previously on two or three occasions. He looked at it and asked if there was another form we could use. I said we had to use this form. He hates it because he thinks it is unclear as to what is required and he feels some of the tests are not necessary.
Nomad Soul: You weren't tested for malaria and didn't provide a stool sample? How did you get away with that? I was tested for malaria and provided a stool sample on previous occasions and my doctor is planning to do this again.
I could find another personal doctor, but the Saudi medical form will remain problematic. Why doesn't the Saudi embassy come up with a better form?
By the way, my last medical testing for KSA cost 2,000 US dollars. Fortunately, my employer reimbursed me. This employer will not reimburse these costs, so we're trying to do it it cheaply. But according to Nomad Soul, some of the tests may be unnecessary!!
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KME0050



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 74
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My doctor wasn't able to perform these tests-- Bilharziasis(Urine) & Malaria(Blood). I tried to plead my case since the Bilharziasis falls under urine and if she can rerform Sugar and Albumin, why not the other.


I paid for all of my own tests and the total was more than $1,500--and my employer didn't reimburse for medical testing. I really wish I had seen this thread before I started the process. Also, my doctor couldn't even find a Bilharziasis test. She actually called the Mayo Clinic and they told her that this disease is unheard of in the U.S. and the test is unavailable, so she just wrote "negative" on the form.

When I got to KSA, and was supposed to repeat all of this testing, I had a rather odd experience. I went to a government hospital, sat down with an Indian doctor who looked over all of my documents and asked, "How's your health?" I said "Perfect." He then went right down the list on his own health form and wrote "negative" next to every item. Not one test was repeated.
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al-Californian



Joined: 27 Jan 2008
Posts: 95

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="KME0050"]
Quote:
When I got to KSA, and was supposed to repeat all of this testing, I had a rather odd experience. I went to a government hospital, sat down with an Indian doctor who looked over all of my documents and asked, "How's your health?" I said "Perfect." He then went right down the list on his own health form and wrote "negative" next to every item. Not one test was repeated.


Now that's the kind of doctor I need in KSA!
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readytotravel



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aren't copies of the lab results supposed to be submitted with the med form?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2970
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Awful Saudi medical form for US visa applicants Reply with quote

AbeCross wrote:
I went to see my doctor recently and showed him the form. He had completed it previously on two or three occasions. He looked at it and asked if there was another form we could use. I said we had to use this form. He hates it because he thinks it is unclear as to what is required and he feels some of the tests are not necessary.
Nomad Soul: You weren't tested for malaria and didn't provide a stool sample? How did you get away with that? I was tested for malaria and provided a stool sample on previous occasions and my doctor is planning to do this again.
I could find another personal doctor, but the Saudi medical form will remain problematic. Why doesn't the Saudi embassy come up with a better form?
By the way, my last medical testing for KSA cost 2,000 US dollars. Fortunately, my employer reimbursed me. This employer will not reimburse these costs, so we're trying to do it it cheaply. But according to Nomad Soul, some of the tests may be unnecessary!!

I agree that the Saudi med form is funky and appears outdated. I actually explained what a couple of the diseases were to the US doctor who signed off on my report. Interestingly, the form my UK friends used is much simpler and shorter.

Anyway, I just looked at a copy of my med form which indicates "no symptoms" next to each of the following: bilharziasis, helminthes, salmonella/shigella, cholera, and malaria film. No lab tests were performed for any of these diseases. However, I also listed on the med form the following vaccines received in 2010: typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT). I submitted verification of these vaccines as well. Perhaps the combination of these significant vaccines plus negative results on the tests I took gave me a pass on those tests that I skipped. Who knows. Oh, forgot to add that the med tests I did in KSA were quick and did not include a stool sample. Go figure.

It would be helpful if others who have completed the med requirements post their comments/experiences.
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uzurisoul



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 28
Location: Dammam

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you go to a private lab or to your doctor's office....?


[quote="KME0050"]
Quote:

I paid for all of my own tests and the total was more than $1,500--and my employer didn't reimburse for medical testing.
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KME0050



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 74
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My doctor could take care of some of the tests from her office, I had to go to a hospital for others and went directly to a lab for some more. It was quite an ordeal . . .
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KME0050



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 74
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a few weird challenges with the medical tests and I am curious to know if anyone else had this experience.

For one, the form that included my doctor's medical license number was supposed to be certified by either the Department of Health or some state authority. I called my county health department and was told that this is not a function they can perform. I called several State government offices looking for anyone that had some sort of oversight over the licensing of physicians and no one I spoke to had any kind of stamp or seal for this form.

At long last, I tried the hospital where my doctor has privileges and called a number of different departments asking if anyone, anywhere, had ANY sort of stamp or seal that could be added to this document. A secretary went on a search for me and found a dusty old seal that is no longer in use in an old file cabinet. I pleaded with her to just stamp the stupid form even though it meant absolutely nothing. She eventually did it.

Next, after I submitted everything, I was told that I had to come up with an actual copy of my doctor's medical license! I called my doctor's office and the office manager was pretty incredulous. She asked if she was supposed to take the thing out of the frame that was hanging on the wall and photocopy it. I said I was afraid so. She spoke to the doctor who said that she had provided her medical license number and that would suffice anywhere else in the world. She was not going to photocopy her license for me.

So I was stuck. The Saudi Cultural Mission wouldn't accept my medical report without a copy of my doctor's medical license (this is not required in writing anywhere) and my doctor wasn't going to cooperate. I called a Saudi friend living in the U.S. and learned he had enough wasta to help me. I can't really go into any detail, but I had my visa 2 days later.

What I want to know is 1). which agency did everyone else in the U.S. have stamp this form, and 2). was anyone else asked to supply a copy of their doctor's medical license???
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