Friday, October 19, 2018
USCIS Updates its Policy on Required Medical Documents for Certain Immigration Benefits
By Elizabeth M. Klarin
At long last, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its policy and guidance on when to submit medical documents required for certain immigration benefits. In a Policy Alert published on October 16, 2018, the USCIS announced that the validity of reports of medical examination and vaccination records (Form I-693) submitted in support of certain immigrant benefit applications will now be considered valid for two years, doubling the current validity period, as of November 1, 2018. This document is used by the USCIS to determine whether applicants for certain immigration benefits in the U.S. are admissible, based on the health-related grounds of inadmissibility specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. While the regulations do not lay out a specific period of validity for these reports, USCIS has historically established the validity period of these records as one year. For many years, USCIS gave an automatic extension on medical exams that had expired under the one-year validity period; however, that policy ended on June 1, 2014. Since that time, the one-year policy has been problematic for applicants for benefits such as adjustment of status to a permanent resident (Green Card holder), as adjudication of these applications can take longer than the one-year validity period considered current policy.
As a result of the change effective November 1, applicants required to attend an appointment with a designated U.S. civil surgeon to obtain this record will be far less likely to have to pay additional fees—and experience the inconvenience of attending an additional appointment—associated with updating their medical reports due to government delays in processing their underlying immigration benefit applications.
In addition, the new policy states that applicants must obtain this record no more than 60 days prior to submitting their related application for the related immigration benefit to the USCIS.
To see the policy alert published by the USCIS, please click here.
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