The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently updated a basic requirement to get a green card. The changes are expected to affect millions of immigrants applying for a green card, visa, and/or adjusting their status in the U.S.
And in view of the many anti-immigration policies of late, the new policy changes, effective Nov. 1, are rather surprising, because they actually help legal immigrants, not the other way around.
The new requirements to obtain a green card affect the medical and vaccination examination for U.S. immigration purposes. “These medical examinations are required by U.S. immigration law to ensure that the applicant does not have any medical conditions or health issues that would deem him or her inadmissible to the country,” explains our Salt Lake City green card attorney at Familia America.
The medical and vaccination examination is a mandatory requirement that applies to all foreign nationals seeking to adjust their immigration status and become a lawful permanent resident. The immigration medical evaluation results are submitted to USCIS through Form I-693.
USCIS updates green card requirements: before and after the changes
After the policy changes, a physician designated by USCIS must sign your Form I-693 no later than 60 days before applying for immigration benefits, green card, or adjusting status. In addition to that, Form I-693 remains valid for two years from the date it was signed by the USCIS designated doctor.
Before the policy change came into effect on November 1, a physician designated by USCIS (also known as a “civil surgeon”) was not required to sign the medical examination results so close to the filing date, which resulted in long unnecessary delays and rejections.
By the time immigration authorities adjusted your status or provided you with any other immigration benefit, the Form I-693 was already invalid. Subsequently, the legal immigrant had to go through medical examination again to get an updated medical report.
The new requirements to eliminate delays
According to immigration authorities, the goal of the updated requirements to obtain a green card is to eliminate unnecessary delays in getting a green card, visa, or adjusting status, and bring down the number of requests for an updated Form I-693.
“However, you could still be required to get an updated Form I-693,” warns our experienced green card attorney in Salt Lake City. Even though the policy changes increase the time window in which Form I-693 will be valid while the immigrant’s application or petition is under USCIS review, immigration officers could still request a new Form I-693 before approving your application if they have a reason to believe that you may be inadmissible due to a medical condition or health problem.
How to calculate sufficient time for performance of immigration medical exam?
The policy changes open the door to streamlining the review process of applications for green cards and other immigration benefits because the number of requests for updated medical examination forms will be reduced.
USCIS has been focused on increasing the efficiency of immigration agencies and strengthening the enforcement priorities of U.S. immigration law. As a result of the new green card requirements, applicants will have strict deadlines, and, thus, will have to consult with a Salt Lake City green card attorney to calculate sufficient time to perform medical and laboratory testing and vaccination examination before filing an application. These medical results, in turn, must be completed, signed, and sealed by a USCIS designated doctor.