U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is encouraging certain employment-based adjustment of status (green card) applicants with approved I-140 petitions to complete their medical examinations before the end of the fiscal year (FY) on September 30, 2022. Consular closures during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a surplus of unused employment-based immigrant visas. According to USCIS, there are approximately double the usual number of immigrant visas available for FY 2022. USCIS stated that it remained committed to using "as many available employment-based visas as possible" before the end of FY 2022, though the agency indicated that its efforts had been stymied by missing or invalid medical exam filings.
Green card applicants must submit a valid Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to establish that they are not inadmissible to the United States on public health grounds. USCIS is working to identify and notify applicants whose applications lack the required Form I-693. In the meantime, to save time and facilitate the green card adjudication process, USCIS recommends the following:
- For eligible employment-based applicants within the United States who have yet to file their green card applications, USCIS recommends including a valid Form I-693 at the time of filing.
- For applicants in the United States with approved I-140 petitions and current priority dates, but who filed their green card applications without including a valid Form I-693, USCIS recommends visiting a civil surgeon to get a valid Form I-693 before USCIS sends the request. According to USCIS, applicants should not send their medical examinations to the agency until formally requested to do so. Form I-693 is valid for two years from the date that the civil surgeon signs the form.
USCIS is also working closely with the U.S. Department of State to process employment-based immigrant visas for applicants living outside the United States.
Ogletree Deakins' Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm's webinar and podcast programs.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.