A basic requirement to get a green card has changed — and it helps legal immigrants

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated a key requirement to obtain a green card effective Nov. 1.

The policy changes announced this week will affect the 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 an indispensable requirement for all foreigners filing for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The results are submitted to USCIS through Form I-693.

According to the latest USCIS Policy Manual Update, Form I-693 must be signed by a USCIS designated civil surgeon no later than 60 days before filing the underlying application for an immigration benefit.

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Additionally, the form will remain valid for a two-year-period that will begin to count from the date it was signed by the doctor.

Previously, the doctor was not required to sign the exam’s results so close to the filing date of the application. This created a problem for many applicants because by the time their immigration benefit was adjudicated, the I-693 was no longer valid. To overcome this hurdle, the lawful person was required to obtain an updated medical report.

The goal of the new rule is to “enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the number of requests to applicants for an updated Form I-693,” said the migration agency.

The revised policy maximizes “the period of time Form I-693 will be valid while the underlying application is under USCIS review,” the agency said, specifying that its officers will have leeway to request a new I-693 within the two-year period if they have “ reason to believe an applicant may be inadmissible on the health-related grounds.”

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“Delays in adjudicating the underlying application will also be reduced if fewer requests for updated Forms I-693 are necessary,” said the immigration agency, which lately has been revising guidelines to strengthen the enforcement priorities of the Department of Homeland Security.

With stricter deadlines, it is important that green card applicants calculate well sufficient time for the performance of laboratory testing or additional testing required before submitting the results of the medical examination, which must be completed, signed and sealed by the designated physician.