Green Card Tips: When should I do my medical exam for green card?


Are you a green card applicant filing Form I-485 Adjustment of Status? Have you ever wondered when you should complete your medical examination? If so, this is the right video for you. This has been a point of contention for many years. Many applicants have been left wondering, is it better to file the medical exam with the adjustment of status application, or should the medical exam be brought to the interview? In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you all you need to know about this important topic.

Did you know? Due to COVID-19 related processing delays, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services extended the validity period of Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination, from 2 years to now 4 years for those who meet certain requirements. As of August 12, 2021, USCIS will consider a Form I-693 valid if: (1) the civil surgeon’s signature is dated no more than 60 days before the applicant files Form I-693 (2) no more than four years have passed since the date of the civil surgeon’s signature; and (3) a decision on the applicant’s Form I-485 is issued on or before September 30, 2021. Otherwise, the medical exam is valid for 2 years.

Want to know more? Just keep on watching.


The green card medical examination is a fundamental step in the immigration process for all applicants seeking permanent residency in the United States. The medical exam, must be completed by a U.S. civil surgeon, meaning a doctor who is authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to perform medical examinations for green card applicants. Not all physicians will be eligible to complete the medical exam. You can find an authorized doctor by visiting the USCIS webpage here.

During your exam

The medical examination consists of a review of your medical history and a physical examination. As part of the exam, the doctor will test for communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea, test for drugs and alcohol, and other diseases and illnesses.

Once the exam is complete, the doctor will sign and complete the Form I-693 and seal the form in an envelope for you to submit to USCIS. You must ensure that the doctor provides you a sealed envelope containing their report. The envelope cannot be opened or altered.

What is the purpose of the medical exam?

The medical examination is required for any applicant filing for adjustment of status to establish that the applicant is not inadmissible to the United States on public health-related grounds. This means that applicants must be screened to ensure that they do not have any health conditions that could make them ineligible for the green card. Failure to provide an adequate medical examination could result in processing delays, and in some cases a denial of the green card application.

What do you need to bring to your medical exam?

  • Your Vaccination Record
  • Government-issued photo identification, such as a valid passport or driver’s license. If you are 14 years old or younger, identification that shows your name, date and place of birth and parent’s full name. Possible forms of identification include your birth certificate (with an English translation) or an affidavit.
  • Vaccination or immunization record (such as DT, DTP, DTaP, Td, Tdap, OPV, IPV, MMR, Hib, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, varicella, pneumococcal influenza, rotavirus and meningococcal disease)
  • Medical insurance card (check with the doctor’s office to make sure the office accepts your medical plan)
  • Call a few doctors to find out how much they charge for the medical exam. Prices can vary by a few hundred dollars. You can shop around and pay what is right for you.

When do I need to complete the medical exam?

A major source of confusion for many applicants applying for adjustment of status is the question, when do you need to file your medical exam? An important consideration when taking into account when you should complete the medical exam is the “60 day” rule.

The 60-day rule refers to the requirement that the Form I-693 medical exam must be dated by the doctor no earlier than 60 days before you file the I-485 application.

That means that from the moment the Form I-693 medical exam is signed, you have 60 days to file your I-485 adjustment of status application with USCIS. Failure to file within the 60-day time period, may require you to obtain a new Form I-693.

If you plan to file your I-485 adjustment of status application and complete the medical examination at the same time, then you will not run into any problems because the general validity period of the medical examination is 2 years (or more if you meet the conditions described above).

As a general matter, you have the option of including the medical examination with your adjustment of status application, submitting it once USCIS has requested the medical examination, or at your green card interview. In any case, the medical exam is valid for 2 years.

Please note that in some cases it may not be advisable to file the medical examination along with the adjustment of status application. For instance, for those whose priority date has retrogressed on the Visa Bulletin, your medical exam’s validity may expire before you are scheduled for an in-person interview. Therefore, it is recommended for applicants to carefully discuss their circumstances with an experienced immigration attorney.

The Takeaway

A properly valid medical exam is one that is signed and dated by the civil surgeon and provided in a sealed envelope after your medical exam appointment. Such medical exam is valid for 2 years, from the date the civil surgeon signs it.

As a general matter, the medical exam can be filed along with the adjustment of status application or after the adjustment of status application is filed. However, if the doctor signs your medical exam before you file the adjustment of status application, remember that you have 60-days to file the adjustment of status application.  If you fail to file within that time frame, your medical exam may no longer be valid, and you may need to complete another one.

Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.

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