On August 12, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would temporarily extend the validity period for Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, from two years to four years.
A Form I-693 is required as part of an application to adjust status to that of Legal Permanent Resident. This is also known as a green card application, or AOS. Applicants are required to undergo a medical exam by a civil surgeon and file the sealed exam report with USCIS within 60 days of the date it is signed by the civil surgeon. Once filed, however, the Form I-693 is only valid for a period of two years. Expired medical exam reports typically result in USCIS issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) that require applicants to undergo additional exams and submit new reports.
The extension of the validity period, from two years to four years, will allow USCIS to approve more AOS applications without requiring updated medical exams. This is a temporary change—only applicable to AOS cases that are decided by September 30, 2021—designed to alleviate some of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including processing delays as well as difficulty obtaining updated medical exam reports.
Presently, USCIS is prioritizing the processing and adjudication of employment-based AOS applications in order to use as many immigrant visas as possible before they expire on September 30, 2021, which is the end of the government’s fiscal year. There are many immigrant visas at risk of being unused because of processing delays and capacity limitations at USCIS, but additional resources are being funneled into this effort during the final two months of the fiscal year to increase the pace of adjudications. In many cases, AOS interviews are being waived in order to approve cases more quickly. USCIS indicated that it is on track to approve more employment-based AOS applications than it has since fiscal year 2005.
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