Prepare for Your Visit
Preparing for your appointments can help ensure an efficient and comfortable visit. Your dedicated International Patient Assistant will be communicating with you about the following information.
- Medical Reports
- Pathology Material
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Language Assistance
- Dress for Comfort
- Visa Information
Please plan to carry a copy of your medical reports that you have provided to your International Patient Assistant, and any new reports that you have gathered since, to your first appointment. This information will be very important for your physician to review.
It is imperative that you bring your pathology material (glass slides and/or paraffin blocks) to your appointment. Your International Patient Assistant will provide you with a letter addressed to U.S. Customs in order to avoid any problems with bringing the material into the United States. You may be asked to mail the material prior to your appointment and further instructions will be provided by your International Patient Assistant if this is the case.
Please make sure to bring the films and/or CD ROMs (DICOM compatible) of the diagnostic testing (CAT scan, MRI, PET scan, Ultrasound, Mammogram, X-ray, etc.) relevant to your diagnosis so that you are able to show these to the physician during your first visit. You may be asked to mail this material prior to your appointment and further instructions will be provided by your International Patient Assistant if this is the case.
Inform your International Patient Assistant in advance if you will require the assistance of a medical interpreter during your appointments. This service is available to all patients at no additional cost. Remember that at any time during your visit, you may ask any staff member to call Language Assistance to request an interpreter for you. Learn more about our Language Assistance services.
Be prepared for average summer temperature highs of more than 90° F (32°C) and an average winter temperature of 45° F (7°C). Wear casual clothing and comfortable shoes, and bring a sweater, as room temperatures may be cool any time of the year. If you feel cold while waiting for your appointment, the receptionist in the clinic should be able to provide you with a blanket.
In the event of severe weather, such as a hurricane, your international patient assistant will contact you regarding instructions about your appointment and travel recommendations.
Generally, children are allowed to accompany adults to their appointments. Please check with your clinic. Also, child care rooms are available, providing free short-term child care for children aged two months to 12 years.
Once you have been accepted as a patient, you will receive a packet of information that includes a visa letter from your International Patient Assistant. This document verifies your appointment at MD Anderson and estimates the time needed for your initial evaluation and treatment. This letter must be taken to a U.S. embassy or consulate when you apply for a visa. Only a U.S. embassy or consulate can grant visas. Online visa applications are now available on the U.S. Department of State Web site.
The International Center at MD Anderson strongly recommends that you obtain a B1 or B2 visa in case there is a need to change or extend your stay, which is always possible. The initial trip to MD Anderson may only require a short stay, but it is important to have the necessary flexibility to stay longer once treatment is recommended. The B1 (business) and B2 (pleasure) visa provide this flexibility when traveling to the United States for medical reasons. Under a B1 or B2 visa, the initial period of stay may be granted for up to a six-month period based on your I-94 status granted by the immigration officials upon arrival and can be extended for a fee.
Please also note that your I-94 application, which will be completed upon arrival, requires a specific address, including street name and number of any hotel or residence, in order to be processed quickly. Without this specific information your airport arrival can be extended for several hours.
Be aware that all travelers to the United States must have a machine-readable passport, even those passport holders that may travel without a visa under the visa waiver program. This includes all categories of passports - regular, diplomatic and official, when the traveler is seeking to enter the U.S. for business or tourist purposes, for a maximum of 90 days.
To insure that international patients, family members, and caretakers receive immigration services from qualified and expert professionals in the field of immigration law, a list of Houston-based law firms specializing in immigration law and have agreed to serve our international patient population may be provided upon request. All of the law firms have agreed to schedule the earliest possible appointment for internationals seeking their services and fully understand that the visa application fee and attorney fees will be paid directly to the law firm by the international patient, family members, or caretakers seeking their services.
International patients and family members may decide to handle visa matters without legal assistance or may seek assistance from any law firm they or their Embassy choose. It is not necessary to use one of the recommended firms. We provide this information as a convenience.
For more information about visa and visa extensions, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
It is also important that you prepare financially for your trip. If you have international insurance, please call your insurance company before arriving to the United States so that they can begin the authorization process for financial clearance and send your benefits to the local network in the United States. If you are paying for you own care, be prepared to pay a deposit or have your wire receipt when you register at your first appointment. Read more about financial information.