USCIS: Revised Policy Guidance for the Validity Period of Form I-693, Medical Examination and Vaccination Record

by Joseph McKeown


US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced they are revising their policy concerning the validity period of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, which is used to determine whether an applicant for an immigration benefit is inadmissible under the health-related grounds of inadmissibility. The updated policy, effective November 1, 2018, will require applicants to submit a Form I-693 that is signed by a civil surgeon no more than sixty days before filing the underlying application for an immigration benefit. Following the date the civil surgeon signed it, the Form I-693 would remain valid for a two-year period. This news will be welcome by many applicants and immigration practitioners, and USCIS explains that they are “retaining the current maximum two-year validity period of Form I-693, but calculating it in a different manner to both enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the number of requests to applicants for an updated Form I-693.”

USCIS explains that by requiring that the Form I-693 be signed no more than sixty days before the applicant files the underlying application for which Form I-693 is required, the form’s validity is more closely tied to the timing of the underlying application. Additionally, it maximizes  the period of time that Form I-693 will be valid, thus reducing delays when USCIS officers have to request an updated Form I-693. That said, USCIS officers will still maintain discretion to request a new Form I-693 if they have “reason to believe” the applicant is inadmissible on health-related grounds.

Certain Form I-693 medical examinations submitted to USCIS before November 1, 2018 may be subject to the previous validity period policy. The updated USCIS Policy Manual notes that a completed Form I-693 submitted to USCIS before November 1, 2018 “retains its evidentiary value to support a finding that an applicant is not inadmissible based on health-related grounds” if any of the following scenarios are met:

  • The civil surgeon signs Form I-693 more than sixty days before the applicant files the underlying benefit application with USCIS, but the applicant submits Form I-693 to USCIS no more than one year after the civil surgeon signed Form I-693; and USCIS issues a decision on the underlying benefit application no more than one year after the date the applicant submitted Form I-693 to USCIS;

  • The civil surgeon signs Form I-693 no more than sixty days before the applicant files the underlying benefit application with USCIS; and USCIS issues a decision on the underlying benefit application no more than two years after the date of the civil surgeon’s signature; or

  • After the applicant files the benefit application with USCIS, the civil surgeon signs Form I-693, and the applicant submits the medical examination; and USCIS issues a decision on the underlying benefit application no more than two years after the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.

In all cases, if Form I-693 is submitted to USCIS more than one year after the date of the civil surgeon’s signature, this is insufficient for evidentiary purposes as of the time of its submission to USCIS. The updated USCIS Policy Handbook contains helpful tables to illustrates scenarios for when the I-693 is submitted to USCIS before November 1, 2018, as well as on and after that date.