Medical Information for Applicants

The Peace Corps provides all necessary and appropriate health care for Volunteers during service.

Jump to:

Medical clearance process overview

Once you have received an official invitation letter from the Peace Corps, you must undergo and clear a comprehensive medical and dental assessment before becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer. 

Our process is an individualized assessment based on your medical records, including immunizations, current medical conditions, and ongoing treatment.

Because of the nature of the countries where Peace Corps serves, the conditions under which Volunteers live and work, and the scope of medical care available in those countries, Peace Corps may not be able to support some medical conditions.

Watch video: Medical clearance process

About the Health History Form

Filling out the Health History Form accurately and completely will expedite the medical screening process. You will be asked to complete this form when you submit an application.

Medical information is confidential and will be sent to the Office of Medical Services. Failure to disclose complete information on your application can be grounds for disqualification or administrative separation from Peace Corps.    

Medical review step-by-step

Once you are invited, the Office of Medical Services will process your medical review as follows:

  1. We will assign medical and dental tasks that need to be completed for medical clearance. The tasks will appear in your secure medical portal at various times, requesting all exams and specialist evaluations, if applicable. Any assigned lab and health screening tests are mandatory.
  2. If your medical history appears complex, we may first ask you to complete specialist evaluations before asking you to complete the full medical exam.
  3. You will complete the required medical exams and documentation and submit that information in your medical portal. 
  4. We will review your submissions and contact you if we require additional information.
  5. We will either clear you for service, or determine that you cannot be medically cleared for service at this time and your invitation will be withdrawn. 

Receipt of medical clearance is based on your medical and dental status at that time. 

If, after your clearance, you become ill, undergo surgery, add to or change medications, undergo therapy or treatment, or develop any condition for which you seek medical assistance, please notify us immediately.

Any significant change in your health may affect your medical clearance. 

Failure to disclose such information may seriously affect your health overseas, as well as your status as a Peace Corps Invitee, Trainee, and Volunteer. For further information, you may call the Office of Medical Services at 202.692.1504, from 10:00 am-4:00 pm Monday-Friday (Eastern Time).

Medical conditions difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps

Because Volunteers serve at the same socioeconomic level and in similar conditions as member of the community to which they are assigned, and because of the available health infrastructure in Peace Corps countries, the following conditions cannot typically be supported by the Peace Corps.

Although your complete medical application will be individually assessed, the conditions below might lead to you not being cleared for service if you are not likely to complete 27 months of service without unreasonable disruption due to health problems.

Notice regarding COVID-19

As Peace Corps looks forward to resuming operations, we are committed to facilitating the service of Volunteers in the safest possible environment. As we plan for the future departures of Volunteers, the medical clearance process will continue.

However, please note that final medical clearance determinations for applicants in certain high-risk categories for serious COVID-19 disease may temporarily be placed on hold, or these applicants may not be medically cleared to serve at this time. This reflects guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that older adults and people of all ages with serious underlying medical conditions should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for being exposed to COVID-19 disease, which includes avoiding crowds and non-essential air travel.

Moreover, older adults and those with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for serious COVID-19 disease. Please see People Who Are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness on the CDC website for a current list of conditions to see if you fall into a high risk category.

Condition Notes/Examples
  • Anaphylactic reaction
  • Multiple antibiotic allergies
Autoimmune conditions that require or have required in past 5 years immunomodulators or oral steroids for control (see medication list below)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Mixed connective tissue disorder
  • Polymyalgia rheumatic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Vasculitis
Other autoimmune conditions requiring immunomodulators or oral steroids for control
Cancer Recently treated (within past 5 years) or metastatic
Cardiovascular conditions
  • Aneurysm
  • Arrhythmias including but not limited to atrial fibrillation, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, recurrent supraventricular tachycardia, re-entrant tachycardia
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Endocarditis – recurrent
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Pacemaker
  • Peripheral vascular disease (symptomatic)
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Stent(s)
  • Valvular disease with stenosis or regurgitation
Chronic pain Requiring regular use of opiates (narcotics) or ongoing chiropractic care or physical therapy
Dermatology conditions
  • Acne – currently using Isotretinoin (oral)
  • Eczema – severe
  • Melanoma
  • Psoriasis – severe
  • These and/or other dermatology conditions that require immunomodulators or oral steroids (see medication list)
Endocrine/metabolic conditions
  • Diabetes – poorly controlled
  • Hyperthyroid – under active treatment
  • Pituitary tumor – functional, unstable size
  • Thyroid nodule – requiring ongoing surveillance
Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Achalasia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Diverticulitis – recurrent
  • Esophageal varices
  • Gastroparesis
  • Hepatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome – poorly controlled
  • Pancreatitis – recurrent
Hematological (blood) conditions
  • Blood clot (venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, central venous thrombosis)
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hemophilia
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenia
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome
  • Sickle cell disease
Infectious diseases
  • HIV without sustained undetectable viral load
  • Active Tuberculosis – currently under treatment
Kidney conditions
  • Kidney and/or bladder stones – recurrent
  • Stage III-V chronic kidney disease
  • End stage renal disease
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Bone fracture – recent
  • Herniated disc – symptomatic
  • Joint dislocation – recurrent
  • Joint injuries – such as meniscal tears with symptoms or limitation of activity
  • Osteoarthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease – severe
  • Osteoporosis – without clear demonstration of response to treatment
  • Paget’s disease
  • Recurrent musculoskeletal injections (steroid/other)
  • Spinal stenosis
Neurologic/Neuromuscular conditions
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Concussions – recurrent
  • Dementia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (pseuodotumor cerebri intracranial)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Stroke
  • Seizure disorder – poorly controlled or recent change in medication
  • Ventricular shunt
Ophthalmologic conditions
  • Optic Neuritis, Uveitis, and/or Iritis – recurrent
  • Retinal detachment – recurrent
Other complex conditions with multiple diagnoses Including solid transplant organ recipient requiring immunosuppression
  • Eating disorder
  • Major depression – recurrent severe
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders
  • Recent changes in psychotropic medications
  • History of psychiatric hospitalization
  • History of suicide attempt
  • Recent history of suicidal ideation
  • Recent history of self-harm
  • Substance abuse or dependence (alcohol or drug)
  • Complicated psychiatric medication regimes including mood stabilizers and antipsychotics
Pulmonary Disease
  • Asthma – persistent/poorly controlled
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Emphysema, COPD
  • Interstitial lung disease/pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pulmonary embolus
Sleep disorders
  • Insomnia – poorly controlled or requiring sedative/hypnotic/other medication (see medication list)
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep apnea – untreated/poorly controlled
  • Extremely high or low body mass index

Medication Examples (Only generics are listed; list is not inclusive of all medications in these categories)
Benzodiazepines Alprazolam, Chlordiazepoxide, Clonazepam, Clorazepate, Diazepam, Estazolam, Flurazepam, Lorazepam, Oxazepam, Quazepam, Triazolam, Temazepam
Blood thinners and anticoagulants other than aspirin Clopidogrel, Apixaban, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran, Edoxaban, Warfarin
Immunosuppressives Abatacept, Adalimumab, Anakinra, Azathioprine, Baricitinib, Belimumab, Certolizumab pegol, Chronic oral steroids, Cyclophosphamide, Cyclosporine, Denosumab, Etanercept, Everolimus, Fingolimod, Golimumab, Infliximab, Leflunomide, Mercaptopurine, Methotrexate, Mycophenolate, Sirolimus, Tacrolimus
Opiates (Narcotics)-ongoing use Codeine, Hydrocodone, Dihydrocodeine, Morphine, Hydromorphone, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Levorphanol, Methadone, Meperidine, Buprenorphine, Butorphanol, Naloxone, Naltrexone,Tramadol, Tapentadol
Psychotropic Medications
  • Lithium, Modafinil
  • Antipsychotics – Aripiprazole, Clozapine, Ziprasidone, Risperidone, Quetiapine, Olanzapine
  • Anticonvulsants prescribed for psychiatric conditions – Carbamazepine, Gabapentin, Levetiracetam, Lamotrigine, Pregabalin, Tigabine, Topirmate, Phenytoin, Valproate, Zonisamide
  • Recent changes in psychotropic medication regimen
REMS Program Medications (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) Medication in need of special health care professional training or patient registry prior to dispensing, e.g. clozapine, thalidomide, anti-PAH medication
Sleep Medications
  • See Benzodiazepine list
  • Nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonists – Eszopiclone, Zaleplon, Zolpidem
  • Orexin receptor antagonists – Suvorexant
  • Trazodone
Specially Compounded Medications Drugs requiring professional pharmaceutical expertise
Weight Loss Medications Orlistat, Phentermine, Lorcaserin

Medical reimbursement

The Peace Corps reimburses certain medical expenses incurred during the medical clearance process. However, you may generate expenses above the maximum reimbursement amount. Please see the following chart for maximum reimbursement amounts:

Coverage Female Under 50 Female Over 50 Male Under 50 Male Over 50
Medical Physical exam, lab work, diagnostic tests, any other requested exams including specialist evaluation $495 $870 $375 $525
Medical reimbursement rates are based on required tests for age and gender.
Dental Exam and X-rays (treatment not included) $180 $180 $180 $180
Vision Exam $60 $60 $60 $60
Total   $735 $1,110 $615 $765
Peace Corps Volunteers
Polio Booster is 100% reimbursed and Invitees to countries which require a Yellow Fever vaccination are eligible for 100% reimbursement. No other vaccinations are reimbursed.
Peace Corps Response Volunteers
Peace Corps Response Volunteers will receive reimbursement instructions

Any expenses incurred during the medical clearance process that are above the maximum reimbursable amounts listed are the responsibility of the applicant. Any exams that were not specifically requested by Peace Corps, or that were completed prior to the start of the medical clearance process, are also the responsibility of the applicant.

The number of tasks that are requested of you during the medical clearance process varies significantly based on your medical history and host country requirements.

Medical services that are reimbursable up to the maximum allowable amount:

  • Physical exam/labs (including additional labs that may be required)
  • Specialist evaluations (if requested) including services such as:
    • Mental health evaluation
    • Allergy-related services, including allergy testing
    • Cardiology-related services, including EKG
    • GI-related services, including colon cancer screening
    • Evaluation for latent TB
  • Imaging: X-rays, ultrasounds
  • Yellow fever vaccination and polio vaccine booster (fully reimbursed if required for service)

Examples of services that are NOT reimbursable:

  • Childhood immunizations
  • Dental treatment—tooth extraction, fillings, crowns, and retainers/mouth guards
  • Eyeglasses
  • Treatment of any type—including but not limited to:
    • Surgery
    • Prescriptions to bring to post
    • Vision correction surgery

Vaccinations required before service

Before you depart the United States for Peace Corps, Invitees are required to have proof of immunity to, or vaccination against, the following diseases:

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) - Exempt if born in U.S. before January 1, 1957
  • Polio (childhood series plus booster after age 18 )
  • Tetanus (childhood series plus a current booster, not more than 7 years old)
  • Varicella (chicken pox) - Exempt if born in U.S. before January 1, 1980

These are vaccines you should have had as a child, or have immunity to because you had the diseases. 

If you do not have access to your childhood vaccination records, positive antibody titers for MMR, Polio and Varicella will show that you have immunity. 

You may also be required to have a yellow fever vaccine (or have proof) before departing because it is required to enter the country of invitation or required for transit. Your yellow fever vaccination must be documented in the WHO International Certificate of Vaccination (yellow card).

Vaccinations provided during service 

The Peace Corps will provide all other required vaccines in your specific country of service that you have not already received. You do not need to receive any of these before you leave for service. If you do choose to receive them prior to entering service, you will not be reimbursed.

Peace Corps Response Volunteers will be required to obtain additional vaccinations prior to service and will receive specific instructions during the medical clearance process.

These may include:

  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Tick-Borne Encephalitis
  • Meningococcal 
  • Seasonal influenza (flu)

For more information, contact [email protected] or 202.692.1504.