AskVisalaw.com

Posted on: July 19th, 2019
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In our AskVisalaw.com section of the SIB, attorney Ari Sauer answers immigration law questions sent in by our readers. If you enjoy reading this section, we encourage you to visit Ari’s blog, The Immigration Answer Man, where he provides more answers to your immigration questions. You can also follow The Immigration Answer Man on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have a question on immigration matters, write Ask-visalaw@visalaw.com. We can’t answer every question, but if you ask a short question that can be answered concisely, we’ll consider it for publication. Remember, these questions are only intended to provide general information. You should consult with your own attorney before acting on information you see here.

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QUESTION: I have just been scheduled for my green card interview. How do I know if my medical examination report has expired and I need to bring a new one to the interview?

THE IMMIGRATION ANSWER MAN – ARI SAUER: Almost all applicants for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) must submit a Report of Medical Examination (Form I-693) at some point in the process. We are no longer required to submit the I-693 together with the I-485 application, although we still have the option to do so.

On November 1, 2018, USCIS changed the rules regarding how long the I-693 remains valid. The rules are now different depending on whether the I-693 was submitted before or after November 1, 2018.

Where the I-693 is submitted to USCIS after November 1, 2018, if a) the I-693 was signed by the doctor after the I-485 was filed or b) the I-693 was signed by the doctor 60 days or less prior to the I-485 being filed, then the I-693 will remain valid for 2 years from the date that the doctor signed the I-693.

So if the I-485 was filed before the I-693 was signed by the doctor or the I-485 was filed no more than 60 days after the doctor signed the I-693, you will only need to obtain a new I-693 if it has been more than 2 years since the doctor signed the I-693 and USCIS still has not approved your I-485 application.

If the I-485 was filed more than 60 days after the doctor signed the I-693, then the I-693 is no longer valid and you will have to obtain a new one.

Form I-693 was submitted to USCIS on or after November 1, 2018

When did civil surgeon (doctor) sign the I-693? The I-693 is valid for:
I-693 signed by the doctor after the I-485 application was filed with USCIS 2 years from when the doctor signed the I-693
I-693 was signed by the doctor 60 days or less prior to the I-485 application being filed with USCIS 2 years from when the doctor signed the I-693
I-693 was signed by the doctor more than 60 days prior to the I-485 application being filed with USCIS I-693 is not valid.

 

Where the I-693 was submitted to USCIS before November 1, 2018, the same rules above apply where a) the I-693 was signed by the doctor after the I-485 was filed or b) the I-693 was signed by the doctor 60 days or less prior to the I-485 being filed. In those cases, the I-693 will remain valid for 2 years from the date that the doctor signed the I-693.

However, where the I-693 was submitted to USCIS before November 1, 2018, if the I-485 was filed more than 60 days after the I-693 was signed by the doctor, the I-693 will remain valid for up to 1 year from when the I-693 was submitted as long as the I-693 was submitted to USCIS no more than 1 year from when the doctor signed the I-693.

Form I-693 was submitted to USCIS before November 1, 2018

When did civil surgeon (doctor) sign the I-693? When was the I-693 submitted to USCIS? The I-693 is valid for:
I-693 was signed by the doctor after the I-485 application was filed with USCIS Does not matter. 2 years from when the doctor signed the I-693
I-693 was signed by the doctor 60 days or less prior to the I-485 being filed with USCIS Does not matter 2 years from when the doctor signed the I-693
I-693 was signed by the doctor more than 60 days prior to the I-485 application being filed with USCIS I-693 was submitted to USCIS one year or less from when the doctor signed the I-693 1 year from date applicant submitted the I-693 to USCIS
I-693 was signed by the doctor more than 60 days prior to the I-485 application being filed with USCIS I-693 was submitted to USCIS more than one year after the doctor signed the I-693 The I-693 was not valid at the time it was submitted to USCIS.

 

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QUESTION: I have a valid H1B visa stamp. But my employer in the US does not have a project for me to work on at the moment so I cannot come to the US using my H1B visa. My husband also has a valid H-1B visa stamp and is in the US.  For personal reasons I need to travel to him urgently. Can I apply for an H4 visa? If I am granted an H4 visa will that cancel my H1B visa? If I come to the US on an H4 visa, can I change my status to H1B later?

THE IMMIGRATION ANSWER MAN – ARI SAUER: Someone with a valid H-1B visa in their passport is still able to obtain an H-4 visa in their passport as well, where their spouse is in H-1B status. Obtaining the H-4 visa does not cancel the H-1B visa. You are allowed to have more than one valid nonimmigrant visa at the same time. However, you can only use one visa at a time. So someone with both a valid H-1B visa and a valid H-4 visa would have to use one or the other when they travel to the US. If the person enters on the H-4 visa and then wants to work in H-1B status for their H-1B employer, they will first need to leave the US and return on their valid H-1B visa. Alternatively, their employer could file a new H-1B petition for them to change their status from H-4 to H-1B, but they would need to wait until that petition for change of status was approved and the start date was reached before they could begin working in H-1B status.

A word of caution: while obtaining a second nonimmigrant visa does not invalidate the first nonimmigrant visa, if the consular officer determines that you are no longer eligible for the first nonimmigrant visa, they have the ability to cancel that visa. For example, if someone has a B-1/B-2 visitor visa in their passport, and the consular officer determines that the person has immigrant intent (they plan to stay in the US and apply for a green card) during the person’s application for an H-1B visa, the consular officer may choose to cancel the B-1/B-2 visitor visa.

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