USCIS Issuing RFEs on I-485s for Updated Medical Exams23 Apr 2014
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun issuing requests for evidence (RFEs) for updated medical examinations in connection with long-pending adjustment of status cases (I-485 forms). The reason for this development is that many medical examinations are set to expire on May 31, 2014, unless the USCIS provides a blanket extension, as has been done in the past. From June 1, 2014 onwards, adjustment candidates should be aware that they might be requested to obtain and submit fresh medical exams to update their medical records on pending I-485s.
Medical Exams Valid for One Year
The medical examination is a requirement for most adjustment of status to permanent residence (“green card”) cases. The medical examination report, form I-693, is part of the supporting documentation to the I-485 filing. The endorsement on the I-693 from the civil surgeon who performs the medical examination is generally valid for a one-year period.
USICS Extended I-693s Over Past Decade
Oftentimes, I-485 applications remain pending for many years. This is primarily due to a backlog in visa number availability, known as retrogression. Rather than require such applicants to obtain new medical examinations every year, the USCIS has been issuing annual policy memoranda since 2004 that extend the validity of the I-693s for an additional year. The last such memo is dated September 4, 2013, and it granted an extension through May 31, 2014. Now, however, it appears that the USCIS will not be granting these blanket extensions again, which means that all I-693s completed more than a year prior to May 31, 2014, are scheduled to expire.
USCIS Will Issue RFEs on Expiring I-693s
The USCIS provided confirmation to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that, as of June 1, 2014, medical examinations that are more than a year old will no longer remain valid. The USCIS will release a notice on this topic in the near future. RFEs have already begun being issued to applicants with expired I-693s.
Burdensome for Many I-485 Adjustment Applicants
This change has the potential to impact a large number of cases that have been pending for years, including a significant number that are expected to remain pending for many years to come. It is not yet clear whether the RFEs will be issued on all cases with expired I-693s, or whether the USCIS intends to limit these requests only to cases in which the priority dates are current or close to becoming current.
This is a substantial change in practice by the USCIS, given the large number of cases involved and the long history of providing automatic extensions. MurthyDotCom will provide updates on this topic as more information becomes available. Readers with questions on RFEs or on pending I-485s may wish to schedule a consultation with an experienced Murthy Law Firm attorney.
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