Tuberculosis (TB) Requirements

Students, who are not citizens of the United States and come from TB endemic countries, are required to have a TB skin test (known also as a PPD) upon arrival on campus. The test is available at the Health Center on Mondays, 8:00 am until 3:30 pm, Tuesdays, 9:00 am until 3:30 pm, and Wednesdays, 8:00 am until 3:30 pm at a cost of $30. 

  • International students must bring their I-20 form and photo identification (such as a passport) with them when requesting the TB (PPD) Skin test at the Health Center.
  • Students with permanent resident cards must bring their permanent resident card with them when requesting the TB (PPD) Skin test at the Health Center.
  • Once a TB (PPD) Skin test is placed the student must return within 48-72 hours to have it read (tests cannot be read prior to 48 hours nor after 72 hours).
  • Students with a positive TB (PPD) Skin test will be required to have a Chest X-Ray. The cost of the Chest X-Ray is $30.  
  • If students have documentation of a positive TB (PPD) Skin test, they must provide this information to avoid repeat testing.  Students who previously had a positive TB (PPD) Skin test will be required to have a Chest X-Ray at the Health Center. The cost of the Chest X-Ray is $30. 
  • TB (PPD) Skin tests and Chest X-rays done outside the US are not acceptable.  All chest x-rays must be done in the United States.
  • TB (PPD) Skin tests with a negative test result and applied and read in the US within six (6) months prior to registration are acceptable.  Documentation may be faxed or brought to the Health Center.
  • A Chest X-Ray done in the US within six (6) months prior to registration is acceptable. Documentation may be faxed or brought to the Health Center.
  • On Thursdays or Fridays, students may choose to have the TB (PPD) Skin test performed at a Community Clinic such as an urgent care facility or a convenience clinic.  Once the test is read, students must provide written documentation of their test to the Health Center.

Note:  Students who are required to have a TB (PPD) Skin test will have a registration hold placed on their account.  Students will not be able to register for courses until the hold is removed. The hold will not be removed until the TB (PPD) requirement is completed. We recommend early arrival to have the test applied as soon as you arrive at the university in order to avoid late registration fees from the Registrar’s Office.

Students from the countries listed below are NOT required to have the TB (PPD) Skin test because Tuberculosis is not endemic in these countries.

AMERICAN REGION: USA, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada , Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Trinidad, Virgin Islands ,

EUROPEAN: Albania, Belgium, Cyprus , Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg , Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Slovakia , Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

WESTERN PACIFIC: American Samoa, Australia, New Zealand

MIDDLE EAST:   Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I need to be screened for TB?
    The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends screening individuals from countries where TB is endemic or relatively common.  This requirement was established because of concern for the health of the students to be tested and for the protection of the entire university community. A TB test can detect whether you have any form of TB infection. This is the first step in making a diagnosis and, if necessary, securing appropriate treatment.
  • What is the process for TB skin testing? First, you will meet with a health care provider who will injected a small amount of fluid called PPD under the top layer of skin on your lower arm. Next, you will need to return in person 48-72 hours later for the test reaction on your arm to be examined by an appropriate health care provider.  If the reaction is not significant, or there is no reaction (negative), then you have not been exposed to TB bacteria.  If the reaction of your arm is significant (positive), a chest x-ray will be required to rule out active TB in the lungs.
  • What if my TB test is positive? A chest x-ray will be required to check for active TB in the lungs.  If the chest x-ray is normal and you have no symptoms of active TB, you most likely have inactive (latent) TB.  If you have an abnormal chest x-ray or symptoms of active TB, you may be required to have additional tests.
  • What does a chest x-ray show?  A chest x-ray is required after a positive PPD result.  The x-ray shows whether you have active TB.  Even if the chest x-ray does not show TB, you will need to be evaluated by the Memphis Shelby County Health Department on whether you require medication to prevent the development of Tuberculosis.  All individuals with a positive TB (PPD) skin test and negative chest x-ray are strongly urged to consider taking antibiotics to prevent inactive (latent) TB infections from developing into active disease.
  • What if I am diagnosed with TB infection?
    Most people have inactive (latent) TB, which cannot be transmitted and does not cause symptoms. Treatment with antibiotics is recommended in order to prevent active TB. You can attend school normally.  Active TB can be transmitted and is very serious, sometimes causing permanent damage.  It is curable with appropriate medicine, and treatment with antibiotics is required.
  • Will TB test results affect my visa or student status? Having TB will NOT affect your visa or student status. Students who have TB infection are not discriminated against in any way. The health care provider must report cases of active TB to county health departments for investigation of possible transmission of others. Otherwise, health records are confidential and cannot be released without patient consent. Your TB test result will not appear on your academic documents.
  • What are the side effects of these tests?
    The skin test will not make you sick. It may cause swelling, itching or tenderness at the injection site, which usually disappears within a week. You can continue normal activities.  
  • What if I have dual or multiple citizenships/nationalities? The requirement for TB screening is determined by your country of citizenship/nationality as stated on your I-20 form.  
  • I already had a TB test (or treatment). Can I meet the requirement by bringing documentation? You still need to participate in the TB screening. You can meet the requirement by providing the following documentation IN ENGLISH, and including your NAME:

    1. Negative TB skin test, reaction size in millimeters, done in the United States within 6 months prior to registration,  OR
    2. Positive skin test, reaction size in millimeters performed within the United States within 6 months prior to registration AND normal chest x-ray (report preferred) performed within the United States within 6 months of registration, all chest x-rays must be done in the US.  A written medical interpretation by a licensed Radiologist is required.  A copy of the chest x-ray report from a foreign country is not acceptable, OR
    3. Documentation of treatment for active or inactive (latent) TB, completed in the United States within 6 months of registration. Chest x-ray may be required.
    The following types of documentation are not acceptable:
    • Tine test
    • QuantiFERON test
    • T-SPOT test
  • I got BCG vaccine in my country. Do I still need to test? Yes, you do.  The BCG is only about 50% effective so you can still get TB. The BCG may give a positive PPD.  A positive TB skin test in someone who has had BCG means they most likely have inactive (latent) TB.  
  • What if I don't comply with the screening requirement? You will not be permitted to register for classes until you are screened for TB.  If you are in the United States on a visa, this may affect your ability to stay in the US.  Contact the International Students Office for any questions concerning noncompliance.