Raise your hand if you like deadlines.
Just kidding, we don't either. But they are a mandatory part of the world we live in (especially with immigration document filings!).
Usually USCIS is one of the biggest sticklers when it comes to deadlines. If a petition is filed after it is due, it is difficult to prove why USCIS should make an exception. However, even the government can sometimes admit when things are more harmful than helpful.
In a policy change that surprised us, USCIS recently announced that it is removing the requirement that civil surgeons sign Form I-693, Report of Immigration Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, no more than 60 days before an individual applies for an underlying immigration benefit, including Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (also known as a green card application).
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 then extended it to March 31, 2023, citing the associated difficulties that green card applicants had in completing the immigration medical exam in a timely manner.
So what does this mean in respect to your application?
This new policy update will allow USCIS to adjudicate cases with immigration medical examinations that would previously have been considered invalid. Now, even if your I-693 was signed more than 60 days before the filing of your I-485, if it is otherwise valid USCIS will be able to accept the Form I-693 for adjudicative purposes for up to two years after the date the civil surgeon signed the form.
Even with the two year timeline, it is still best to file your Form I-693 medical exam with your Form I-485, which is what USCIS recommends. Green card applications for family-based adjustments in Norfolk, Virginia are taking an average of 19 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 immigration petition 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.