USCIS Waives 60-Day Signature Rule for Form I-693 Medical Exam

December 10, 2021 Ian Love

Overview

Due to processing delays and related impacts from COVID-19, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is temporarily waiving a requirement that the Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, must have been signed by the civil surgeon (physician) performing the examination no more than 60 days before an applicant applies for an immigration benefit. This includes the Form I-485 application to register permanent residence or adjust status, which requires submission of the Form I-693 before the application can be approved.

 
What are the Changes? 
The waiver is in effect through Sept. 30, 2022. This is intended to aid applicants who have been affected by application processing delays that have prevented them from completing their required medical exam prior to submission of their related application. The waiver allows applicants to submit their completed Form I-693 along with an application for an immigration benefit even if a civil surgeon signed the form more than 60 days before submission. If an applicant had previously submitted an I-693 that was signed by the civil surgeon more than 60 days prior to the immigration benefit application, then the application may be approved without the applicant needing to get a new Form I-693, if the examination is otherwise valid.
 
Looking Ahead
The waiver will benefit a number of applicants, including all applicants able to apply for Adjustment of Status through Form I-485 or those specifically from Afghanistan in Operation Allies Welcome who completed their immigration medical exams but could not apply for adjustment of status within 60 days.
 
Question and Answer (Q&A)
Q: Does this news mean I can submit a previously obtained Form I-693 that was signed by the civil surgeon more than 60 days before I file my I-485 application?
 
A: Yes, this temporary measure effective Dec. 9, 2021 allows for previously obtained Form I-693 documents to be submitted with new I-485 applications. Specifically, medical exams can be submitted with an I-485 application even if the civil surgeon signed the form more than 60 days before submission of the I-485. The temporary policy is in place until September 30, 2022.
 
Q: What does USCIS consider as too old for an issued Form I-693?
 
A: According to USCIS, the Form I-693 should still be signed as close to the I-485 application as possible because medical exams are no longer considered valid evidence more than two years after being signed by the civil surgeon.
 
Q: Does this new policy apply to dependent/derivative applications? 
 
A: Yes, since each applicant must have their own I-485 application and accompanying I-693, this policy applies to primary beneficiaries of immigrant petitions as well as their dependents. 
 
Q: Can I submit my I-485 without Form I-693, assuming I am eligible to apply? 
 
A: USCIS does not require the Form I-693 to be submitted at the same time as the initial I-485 filing, but a completed Form I-693 must be submitted before USCIS can approve the I-485 application. Applicants who file their I-485 without the Form I-693 should expect to receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS requesting the completed Form I-693. 
 
Q: My priority date is close to being current, thus allowing me to possibly file Form I-485 soon. Should I obtain a medical exam now since the Form I-693 will be valid even after 60 days? 
 
A: The USCIS advises Form I-693 be signed as close as possible to the I-485 application date. However, under this temporary policy, the USCIS will accept Form I-693 signed more than 60 days before the submission of the I-485 application. This policy will end Sept. 30, 2022. Applications filed after that date are expected to require Form I-693 signed no more than 60 days before the filing of the application unless USCIS extends the policy. Unless you anticipate difficulty finding an appointment with a USCIS-authorized civil surgeon, it is still advisable to wait until you know when your priority date will become current before scheduling your medical examination. 

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ian Love, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates (GIA), one of the two independent U.S. law firms Envoy exclusively works with on the Envoy Platform (the "U.S. Law Firms").

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative. 

About the Author

Ian is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates. His practice focuses on immigrant and nonimmigrant matters for companies ranging from small startups to Fortune 500 companies.

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