There is always a bit of confusion when people start a green card application.
Many wait years and years to qualify to file a Form I-485 for a green card, but don't realize that certain decisions when filing can cause the application to process differently - either slower or faster.
Much of immigration petition filing is straightforward, but much of it is also about preferences. Do you put color pages in between your exhibits? Do you put cover pages between your exhibits? Do you put any pages between your exhibits? Although you may question whether it is best to file the mandatory Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, with an adjustment of status (I-485) petition or not, USCIS has finally made it clear.
USCIS recently announced that petitioners can save time by filing their Form I-693 medical report with their I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Although USCIS is not requiring it, they strongly recommend filing your medical exam with your green card application because it can prevent a delay in the adjudication of your petition. USCIS states that “Filing Form I-485 and Form I-693 at the same time may eliminate the need for us to issue an RFE [Request for Evidence] to obtain your Form I-693. This may also help avoid adjudication delays if we decide that you do not need to be interviewed.”
Some applicants wait to file their medical report until their green card interview, thereby ensuring that their civil surgeon signature doesn't expire, but USCIS explains that sometimes that intention is misleading, since not every application will require an interview. If that is the case then having USCIS send a letter to request your medical report will delay a decision on your green card.
Another thing that makes filing the medical report with a green card application a little bit easier is that USCIS has extended its temporary waiver that a civil surgeon sign the medical report no more than 60 days before the adjustment of status application is filed. During the pandemic USCIS waived the 60-day limitation for medical evaluation signatures on Form I-693s because of an unreliability in medical appointment scheduling. That initial waiver was set to expire on September 30, 2022, but USCIS has extended it to March 31, 2023, citing the associated difficulties that green card applicants have had in completing the immigration medical exam in a timely manner.
Green card applications for family-based adjustments in Norfolk, Virginia are taking an average of 22 months to process, so we recommend taking any USCIS suggestion to speed up the decision on your application.
If you have questions about applying for an adjustment of status (green card), please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.