As of yesterday, USCIS has enacted new guidelines that provide welcome relief to foreign nationals with long-pending green card applications, extending the validity of their Form I-693 medical examinations from one to two years, so long as the examinations in question were performed within sixty days of filing for lawful permanent residence.

Following the implementation of mandatory interviews on most employment-based adjustment filings, USCIS’ processing times for Adjustment of Status Applications across the board have increased substantially. One consequence of this trend has been the frequent expiration of Form I-693 medical examinations prior to green card adjudication. As a reminder, medical examinations documented on Form I-693 ensure a green card applicant does not pose a public health risk to the United States, and must be valid at the time of adjudication in order to approve a green card. But thanks to the above-mentioned ballooning processing times, medical examinations previously valid for only one year oftentimes expired well-before the application’s final decision. Such expirations have led to Requests for Evidence for updated Forms I-693, which not only further delay already-prolonged green card adjudications, but add redundant, and sometimes onerous, expenses associated with obtaining the sealed examinations from a designated civil surgeon.

However, effective November 1, 2018, USCIS will now accept Form I-693 medical examinations for up to two years, so long as the exam itself was performed within 60 days of filing the Form I-485 application. According to USCIS, its measure will apply to new and pending filings equally. As such, this policy will allow USCIS to fully adjudicate green card applications filed more than one year ago and still awaiting a decision, based on timely-performed Form I-693 medical examination included in support thereof.