Recent changes to the rules governing the Form I-693 medical form could be helpful to business immigration applicants who plan to eventually file for permanent residency. The changes give green card applicants more time to file the form following a medical exam.
The changes should not have a significant impact on foreign-born workers not planning to seek permanent residence. But for those who do want to stay in the U.S., including those who might be here on visas other than the H-1B visa, the change is significant.
More About Form I-693
Gaining entrance into the U.S. as an immigrant involves a ton of paperwork. The same goes for applying for a green card. One of the forms green card applicants must submit is the Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. Why is the form required?
It is required to prove that an immigrant seeking a green card is not otherwise inadmissible to the U.S. due to public health concerns. It is filed by immigrants already in this country on any type of temporary visa.
The thinking is this: a foreign-born national who would be denied admission to the United States for medical reasons might not have any issues when first coming to this country to work or visit. Perhaps a worker comes on at H-1B visa while in perfectly good health. But after arriving, that person develops some sort of medical condition that makes them inadmissible.
The form is proof that no such condition exists. It needs to be completed and signed by a civil surgeon and submitted along with the applicant’s green card forms. The form simply attests to the fact that a medical doctor has examined the patient and determined that there are no health concerns that would prevent issuing a green card.
60 Days to 2 Years
With all the formal stuff out of the way, let us talk about the big change. In the simplest possible terms, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has changed the timeframe for completing and submitting Form I-693. Gone is the 60-day requirement. Applicants can now file the form within two years of completion.
This is extremely helpful for those who get their medical examination completed, but then have their case delayed for one reason or another. Instead of needing to redo the medical exam, applicants can use the one previously acquired so long as it is less than two years old.
Changing from 60 days to two years is pretty significant. Immigrants no longer need to scramble to see a doctor and get the form submitted within such a short window. Given the amount of time it now takes just to get a doctor’s appointment, 60 days is cutting it close anyway.
Extending the timeframe to two years also helps in the sense that immigrants here on work visas might not always stay in the same place during their entire tenure. That can make finding a civil surgeon capable of completing the form somewhat challenging. With the change, an immigrant can start looking for a civil surgeon the moment the decision is made to apply for green card status. A completed form is now valid for two years.
We Are Here to Help
We do not expect the Form I-693 change to affect the vast majority of immigrants in the U.S. on H-1B visas. Still, it could have an impact on those who choose to apply for green cards.
As an immigration law firm, we are here to help employers and their foreign workers in whatever way we can. Immigration law is complex and quite difficult to navigate. Our immigration attorneys are here to answer questions, assist with form completion and submission, and more. If you would like to know more about how Form I-693 could impact you, feel free to contact us. Our doors are always open.