The USCIS Medical Exam procedure changed in 2018
As of the November 1, 2018 update the I-693 form can only be signed 60 days before the underlying I-485 family-based or employer-based adjustment of status application is filed with USCIS. Furthermore, the I-693 is now valid for up to two years from the date of the signature.
With longer wait times, a new approach is advisable
In general, USCIS processing times for adjustment of status applications, in both the family and work categories, have increased over the past two years for reasons varying from the political to the operational at USCIS.
As a result, it is not unusual in some parts of the country for USCIS processing times for even family-based application to be between 18 and 30 months. For employment-based applications, most cases are now taking 20 months or more.
What this means then is that the I-693 medical exam requires proper timing, even for family-based I-485 adjustment of status petitions.
How to do a USCIS Medical Exam
Time needed: 3 hours.
Getting a USCIS Medical Exam scheduled and completed is easy:
- Search for a medical exam provider at the following site by typing in your zipcode:
You can only do this medical exam with one of the doctor’s offices listed on this site.
- Call the various doctor’s offices in your are, if there are multiple, and compare their rates
Different doctors have different prices, so shop around. Prices can vary from $200 or less, all the way up to $800.00
- Schedule your appointment
Try and give yourself at least a two week window between your interview and your appointment. This way you can have time to complete any surprise medical labs you may have to complete.
- Bring two blank I-693s as well as your identification documentation to the appointment.
Each doctor’s office will have a different preference over what information they want you to fill in beforehand. Some do it all themselves, others will want you to fill in your own information. Be sure to ask them what you need to do before you go to the appointment
- After all is completed, you will receive a sealed I-693 medical form to take to your interview
The doctor’s office will likely call you back within a week to get your completed form. Several of the tests take a few days to complete owing to the need to take labs. You can then ask the doctor to provide you a second copy of the I-693 for your personal records.
- Bring your SEALED letter to the interview and give it to the officer
Under no circumstances should you unseal the letter before handing it to the officer. And it would be smart for you to take a look at your private copy of the USCIS medical exam form before you go to the interview so that there are no surprises.
USCIS Medical Exam Timing Considerations for 2019
With the above general steps for the USCIS medical exam in mind, in our offices we are advising clients with a complete or near-complete vaccination history to wait to schedule/complete their I-693 until they receive an interview notice, or at the 75% mark of the expected waiting time for family or work petitions at their particular processing center. The I-693 USCIS medical exam does NOT have to be submitted with the I-485 application and can be brought to the interview, so the strategy of bringing the I-693 to the interview is sound.
On the other hand, we are still asking clients with a spotty vaccination history to complete the I-693 early on in the process, because it can take time to complete certain vaccination requirements if few have met before applying for adjustment of status. In these cases, we are also reminding clients that they may have to get a new I-693 if more than 2 months pass after acquiring their first medical exam signature. However, the second medical exam is a cinch, since the first one will have ensured that the client’s vaccination history is up to date. The cost is higher, yes, but having to respond to a request for evidence because of an expired I-693 is also costly, and worse, stretches out the time to the approval of the adjustment of status application.