USCIS has announced that it would temporarily suspend the civil surgeon's requirement to sign Form I-693 (Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record) within 60 days of submitting an application for the underlying immigration benefit. This temporary waiver is effective from December 9, 2021, and will last till September 30, 2022.
Previously, USCIS required civil surgeons or USCIS-designated doctors to sign Form I-693 within 60 days of application submission and required a medical examination, such as Form I-485 (Application for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident). Medical examinations signed more than 60 days before filing was declared expired by USCIS, and petitioners were required to seek and pay for a new examination.
COVID-19 has led to this significant flexibility. However, the disease has also been added to the list of mandatory vaccinations for applicants to avoid inadmissibility. The new vaccine record is part of the standard medical examination. A civil surgeon cannot sign the medical examination report unless the applicant is "fully vaccinated" with one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
This waiver will benefit all applicants with a green card in the US. Furthermore, the temporary waiver is intended to help Afghan nationals who have been evacuated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of Operation Allies Welcome. Earlier, the evacuated Afghan nationals who completed immigration medical examinations at government-run facilities could not apply for adjustment of status within 60 days of completing the examination.
However, despite the 60-day waiver, USCIS advises that the medical examination should be scheduled as near to the adjustment filing date as practicable because the medical examination is only valid for two years. Some applicants may anticipate that their cases will not be adjudicated within the two-year's validity period. Still, with the advice of counsel, such applicants can choose to submit Form I-693 for the medical exam later in the process rather than risking invalidation and the need to redo the medical examination.