Starting October 1, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and the U.S. Department of State (“USDOS”) will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all applicants applying for lawful permanent residence. Specifically, all applicants who complete heir medical examinations on or after October 1, 2021, must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series and provide documentation of vaccination. This change will impact anyone who completes Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, on or after October 1, 2021. If Form I-693 is completed before October 1, 2021, and remains valid, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be required. Waivers are available for applicants who are too young to receive the vaccine, have a medical contraindication to the vaccine, or who do not have access to one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines in their countries. In addition, individuals may apply for an individual waiver based on religious or moral convictions with USCIS.
On August 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services made the announcement that it is temporarily increasing the validity of the medical examination that is submitted in conjunction with an application for permanent residence. Specifically, the Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record is a document required as part of the process to apply for permanent residency in the United States. Previously, this form was valid for two years after the date of the U.S. civil surgeon’s signature so long as the medical form was submitted not more than 60 days before the applicant submitted their application for permanent residence. Now, this new rule extends this two-year validity to four years. Driven by COVID-related processing delays, this extension will prevent applicants from having to request a costly new medical examination before their application can be approved. Although temporary and only applicable to applications that are approved on or before September 30, 2021, this change will enable more streamlined processing of applications and will hopefully help in clearing out the processing backlog caused by COVID-19.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that starting Oct. 13, 2021, it will only accept the 03/29/21 edition of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Additionally, USCIS announced that applicants filing for lawful permanent resident status are now able to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) or replacement card as part of the adjustment of status application process. Previously, these individuals had to apply for a Social Security number at a Social Security office. The revised form now includes the additional questions needed to apply for an SSN or replacement card.
Following approval of Form I-485, USCIS stated that in most cases it will electronically transmit the data to the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration will then automatically assign an original SSN or issue a replacement card, as appropriate. The filing fee for form I-485 will not increase as a result of this change.
On July 28, 2021, USCIS announced that there was a second random selection of H-1B cap-subject registrants to reach the FY2022 numerical allocations. Selected registrants will have their myUSCIS accounts updated with a selection notice. The filing period for the new H-1B cap selections will begin on August 2, 2021, and close on November 3, 2021. Curray York & Associates will be in contact with any of our registrants who have been selected in the second round.