All green card applicants seeking adjustment of status in the U.S. through the filing of Form I-485 are required to complete Form I-693, Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (“Medical Report), prepared by a USCIS authorized civil surgeon (https://my.uscis.gov/findadoctor). The U.S. Citizenship and immigration Service (USCIS), however, does not require the Form I-693 medical report to be submitted at the same time as the I-485 application. The USCIS specifically permits I-485 applicants to bring the medical examination report to an interview (if any) or wait until USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) requesting the medical examination report.
On August 12, 2021, the USCIS changed its policy and temporarily extended (through September 30, 2021) the validity period of Form I-693, Medical Report to four (4) years after the date the civil surgeon signed the I-693 Form, as long as the I-693 Form was signed no more than 60 days before the applicant filed for adjustment of status.
What does this mean for those I-485 applicants who have not submitted their I-693 medical reports concurrently with their adjustment of status applications? This means that they have the following options:
- Wait for the USCIS to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) asking for the medical exam and submit said exam at that time. Please note that the USCIS may not issue the RFE by the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2021), given their limited resources and significant caseload.
- Wait for the I-485 interview to be scheduled and bring the Form I-693 at that time. Please note that the USCIS also makes decisions to waive the I-485 interview on a case-by-case basis, so you may not be given that opportunity if your case is not scheduled for an interview.
- Submit the Form I-693 medical examination to USCIS now to save time and avoid adjudication delays. Please note that this involves certain risk, as USCIS may not link the medical exam with the proper I-485 application or may misplace the medical report, because the submission of the standalone Form I-693 is not considered a separate application for immigration benefit.
What does this mean for those I-485 applicants who have already submitted their I-693 medical examination reports? This new policy has no impact on those pending applications, so long as the I-693 Application was properly completed and signed when it was submitted. The charts below summarize the validity rules for the medical report/ Form I-693.
|Form I-693 Submitted to USCIS Before November 1, 2018|
|When did civil surgeon sign?||When was underlying benefit application filed with USCIS?||I-693 retains evidentiary value through|
|No more than 1 year before I-693 submitted to USCIS||More than 60 days after civil surgeon signed the I-693||1 year from date applicant submitted I-693 to USCIS|
|No more than 60 days before underlying benefit application filed with USCIS||No more than 60 days after civil surgeon signed the I-693||2 years from date civil surgeon signed I-693|
|After the benefit application was filed with USCIS||Before the civil surgeon signed the I-693||2 years from date civil surgeon signed I-693|
|More than 1 year before I-693 submitted to USCIS||N/A – I-693 not valid at time applicant submits I-693 to USCIS|
|Form I-693 Submitted to USCIS On or After November 1, 2018|
|When did civil surgeon sign?||I-693 retains evidentiary value through|
|No more than 60 days before applicant filed underlying benefit application with USCIS||2 years from date civil surgeon signed I-693|
|After applicant filed benefit application with USCIS||2 years from date civil surgeon signed I-693|
|More than 60 days before applicant filed benefit application with USCIS||N/A – I-693 not valid at time applicant submits I-693 to USCIS|
Thus, the timing of the filing of Form I-693 is important and there may be other case specific considerations in deciding which option to choose. Those who have a pending I-485 adjustment of status applications or are getting ready to file their I-485 applications should reach out to their immigration counsel to discuss the best strategy for them. Our attorneys will be happy to assist you and answer your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was prepared by Teodora D. Purcell, Partner, Larrabee Albi Coker, LLP.