Immigration Medical Examination Valid for One Year09 Jun 2014
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that medical examinations required as part of the permanent residence (“green card”) process will have a validity limit of one year. This became effective on June 1, 2014. Those with long-pending adjustment of status (AOS) applications (submitted on form I-485) can expect to receive requests for updated medical forms as a result of this change in policy.
Requirement to Submit Medical Form with AOS
In most cases, a foreign national filing the I-485 application is required to undergo an immigration medical examination and submit the results on an I-693 form. The purpose of this process is to establish that the green card applicant does not fall within a medical ground of inadmissibility to the United States. The I-693 is completed by a civil surgeon, and confirms that the individual has received all required vaccinations and does not suffer from any of a specified list of conditions. This form, which accompanies the I-485 filing, must be submitted to the USCIS by the I-485 applicant less than one year after completion by the civil surgeon. It remains valid, thereafter, for a year following the date of submission to USCIS.
USCIS Extended Validity of Medical Examination for Past Decade
Since 2002, the USCIS and legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) policy had been to extend the validity of medical examinations accompanying pending I-485 adjustment cases on an annual basis. The most-recent renewal provided for an extension through May 31, 2014. However, as explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Issuing RFEs on I-485s for Updated Medical Exams (23.Apr.2014), a recent slew of requests for evidence (RFEs) issued by the USCIS signaled that this practice of extending the validity of these I-693s soon would be coming to an end.
USCIS Confirms Policy Change Effective June 1, 2014
On May 30, 2014, it was confirmed by the USICS that, indeed, the long-standing medical examination renewal policy would be discontinued. As of June 1, 2014, the validity of a submitted I-693 is limited to one year from the date it is filed with the USCIS, and this policy applies to any application the USCIS adjudicates on or after June 1, 2014.
Expect RFEs for Medical Examinations
As noted above, the USCIS started issuing RFEs in April that ask for updated I-693s. In some cases, the RFEs also include requests for updated employment offer verification. The Murthy Law Firm has seen such RFEs in cases with priority dates that are current or close to becoming current. It is not yet clear whether the USCIS will limit medical RFEs to such cases, or whether these requests will be issued on a more expansive basis.
This is a substantial change in practice by the USCIS. Beneficiaries with cases that will be impacted by this change should anticipate receiving such RFEs, but should not send updated medicals to the USCIS until such a request is made. The USCIS is scheduled to address questions about the new policy on June 12, 2014. The Murthy Law Firm will continue to provide updates on this important topic as new information becomes available.
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