USCIS will extend the validity of the medical exam to obtain the Green Card, known as Form I-693, up to four years.
All migrants who apply for adjustment of status to become permanent residents of the United States have to undergo a medical examination that ensures that they do not have health problems that may make them inadmissible. This mandatory part of the process of applying for a Green Card requires migrants to present a certified medical examination record and a complete vaccination calendar.
Then, the results must be submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using form I-693. Until now, the form necessary to obtain the Green Card was valid for a maximum period of two years that begins counting from the date it is signed by a medical officer designated by USCIS.
But USCIS faces significant application processing delays due in large part to the shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, it has been decided to temporarily extend the validity of Form I-693 from two to four years.
“We are making this temporary change because COVID-19 has caused processing delays and affected applicants’ ability to complete the required immigration medical examination.”
Immigration officials explained in a press release.
The problems behind the delays in processing times to obtain the Green Card
Many applicants recently found that, by the time their immigration benefit is awarded, the I-693 form is no longer valid. This forces them to have to repeat the medical examination process.
To avoid problems, immigration officials recommend that applicants schedule their medical exams as close as possible to the time they will submit their application for adjustment of status with Form I-485 to receive a Green Card.
Until when will Form I-693 be valid with this new USCIS measure?
It has not been specified how long the new measure will last, but at least temporarily, USCIS indicated that it will consider a Form I-693 valid as long as it meets the following criteria:
- The signature of the licensed physician is dated no more than 60 days before the applicant submitted Form I-485 to obtain a Green Card, also known as an Application for Registration of Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status.
- No more than four years have passed since the date of the signature of the USCIS authorized physician.
- A decision on the applicant’s Form I-485 was issued on or before September 30, 2021.
Authorities urged immigrants seeking adjustment of status in order to obtain permanent residence in the United States to file forms I-693 and I-485 jointly. In this way, they seek to avoid unnecessary delays in the already lenghty processing of requests.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration also implemented a new procedure to extend the validity of the Green Card for 12 months, ensuring that permanent residents “have identity documentation, employment authorization, and authorization to return to the United States after a temporary trip abroad”, according to the agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a press release.
Nowadays, thousands of migrant families depend on the proper functioning of immigration procedures in order to access full rights and escape from vulnerable situations. We celebrate this new USCIS measure, which we believe will help many migrants complete their immigration paperwork more quickly and easily.
If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-0800!