Published:  June 25, 2014

Foreign nationals, residing in the U.S., who are applying for lawful permanent residence by way of an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status, are required to file a certified and sealed medical examination report in support of their applications.  The report, known as Form I-693, includes, among other details, an attestation by a Department of Homeland Security accredited physician regarding the results of various tests for contagious diseases as well as the applicant’s up to date vaccination history.

In a recent policy statement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) announced that effective June 1, 2014, 1) an applicant’s Form I-693 must be submitted within a year of its completion and certification by an accredited physician AND 2) the I-693 will be valid only for up to 1 year after submission to USCIS.  Further, the submission of a certified and sealed I-693 is no longer required to be submitted with the initial I-485 filing and that it may be submitted at any time after filing and up to the time the application is ready to be decided.  Accordingly, if the I-693 is not submitted with the initial I-485 application filing, CIS will eventually issue a “request for evidence” (RFE) asking the applicant to submit a current I-693.

Additionally, CIS is encouraging applicants not to submit their I-693 reports with their initial I-485 filing package, instead recommending that they wait until CIS issues a RFE, or if an interview is scheduled, that they simply bring the I-693 when appearing.

From my point of view, as long as processing times of I-485 applications are less than 1 year – as is the case with most family based I-485 applicants these days, including Chicago based applicants – it still may make sense to include the I-693 report with the initial I-485 application.  Further, in the case of an employment based applicant, it also may still make sense to include the I-693 report with the initial filing on the chance the application will be decided within 1 year, and so as to avoid having to respond to a RFE and the possibility that documents do not get properly matched up to the right file in the RFE response process.  In the worst case, the applicant may have to pay the additional fee to a physician for a current report if it takes CIS more than a year to decide the application.  If and when it becomes a certainty that it will take CIS more than a year to decide an I-485 application, then holding off on filing the I-693 with the initial I-485 package will be the right call.

PUBLISHED June 25, 2014 “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2014, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois