USCIS Extends Validity of Medical Examination to Two Years27 Apr 2023
On March 31, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) removed the requirement that civil surgeons sign the report of immigration medical examination and vaccination record (form I-693) within 60 days of the date of application for the underlying immigration benefit. The policy has been changed to accept form I-693 up to two years after the date the civil surgeon signs the form. While the USCIS issued a temporary rule in December 2021 modifying the requirement, this new policy is permanent.
New Policy Applies Immediately and Retroactively
The new USCIS policy extending the validity of civil surgeon signatures on form I-693 applies to new and previously filed cases. A pending case with a form I-693 that previously would have been considered invalid due to the age of the civil surgeon’s signature (i.e., more than 60 days at the time of filing), will not receive a request for evidence (RFE) for a new medical examination, as the form I-693 now remains valid for up to two years after the date the civil surgeon signs the form.
Fewer RFEs for Pending Applications
The processing time for an application for adjustment of status can be prolonged if the priority date in an applicant’s immigrant category retrogresses while the application for adjustment of status (form I-485) is pending. When this occurs, the initially valid I-693 included with an application may expire before the USCIS eventually resumes processing the individual’s I-485. The USCIS must then issue an RFE requesting a new I-693 from an applicant, resulting in additional expense for adjustment applicants and unnecessary delays. Under the new policy, an applicant’s I-693 does not expire until two years from the date of the civil surgeon’s signature, thereby reducing the likelihood that an RFE on this issue will be necessary.
The new USCIS policy extending the validity of a civil surgeon signature on form I-693 is a positive step towards easing the burdens of submitting valid medical examination documents to the USCIS. The new process provides an immediate benefit to applicants for adjustment of status. It also should increase USCIS efficiency and reduce processing times for adjustment of status applications.
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