The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated a key requirement to obtain permanent residence or a green card in the United States effective Dec. 9.
The agency issued a policy alert on Thursday temporarily waiving a hurdle in the obligatory — and sometimes feared — medical and vaccination examination for immigration purposes, which makes sure there are no health issues that would deem the applicant inadmissible to the United States.
The medical examination is a key requirement for all legal immigrants filling for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The results are submitted to USCIS through Form I-693.
During the Trump Administration, the agency instituted a rule stating that a Form I-693 is valid only when a civil surgeon signs it no more than 60 days before the date an applicant files the application for the underlying immigration benefit.
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Known as the “60-Day-Rule,” it has placed a burden on immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic because of chronic processing delays, immigrant’s advocates say.
According to the policy alert, the “60-Day-Rule” will be temporarily waived until Sept. 30, 2022.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related processing delays, USCIS has experienced delays in all aspects of operations. Applicants have also experienced difficulties beyond their control, including delays with completing the immigration medical examination,” the Department of Homeland Security agency acknowledged.
“To address these issues, USCIS is temporarily waiving the requirement that the civil surgeon’s signature be dated no more than 60 days before the applicant files the application for the underlying immigration benefit,” it added.
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USCIS designates civil surgeons to conduct immigration medical examinations and record the results in Form I-693, which remains valid for two years after the date the civil surgeon signs, as long as the date of the signature is no more than 60 days before filing for an immigration benefit such as a green card.
But because COVID-19 has caused processing delays, many times when the time comes for an immigration benefit to be adjudicated, the Form I-693 is no longer valid. This forces applicants to obtain an updated medical report.
The new temporary waiver allows “applicants to submit their underlying application for an immigration benefit with a completed Form I-693, even if the civil surgeon signed more than 60 days prior,” USCIS said in a news release.
The temporary change “will allow individuals to complete the application process without the need to undergo another immigration medical examination if Form I-693 is otherwise valid,” the news release stated.