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USCIS Updates Medical Examination Guidance for Afghan Parolees Arriving Under Operation Allies Welcome (OAW)


USCIS announced today that it is updating guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding immigration medical examination requirements for certain Afghan nationals applying for adjustment of status after arriving in the United States under Operation Allies Welcome (OAW). Effective immediately, these applicants may not need to repeat an immigration medical examination if they already completed an immigration medical examination conducted by a panel physician before they arrived in the United States.

The updated guidance allows Afghan nationals applying for adjustment of status after arriving under OAW to use a report of medical examination completed outside the United States by a panel physician to satisfy the requirement normally demonstrated by submitting Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, completed by a USCIS-designated civil surgeon.

The policy guidance clarifies that these applicants do not have to repeat an immigration medical examination and submit Form I-693 if:

  • The results of the immigration medical examination completed outside the United States by a panel physician are in their A-File and do not report a Class A medical condition;
  • The panel physician completed the immigration medical examination no more than 4 years before the date the applicant files to adjust their status; and
  • No evidence suggests that the applicant has acquired a Class A medical condition after entry into the United States.

This does not impact the vaccination requirements that are a condition of parole. Afghan nationals who are paroled into the United States must receive the MMR, polio, and COVID-19 vaccinations, among others, as conditions of their parole. Additionally, all OAW arrivals – U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and Afghan nationals – are tested for COVID-19.

For more information, see Volume 8: Admissibility, Part B, Health-Related Grounds of Inadmissibility, Chapter 3, Applicability of Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirement. Visit the Policy Manual for Comment page to comment on this update.



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F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training Can Now File Form I-765 Online

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) can now file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online if they are filing under one of these categories:

  • (c)(3)(A) – Pre-Completion OPT;
  • (c)(3)(B) – Post-Completion OPT; and
  • (c)(3)(C) – 24-Month Extension of OPT for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion). Eligible F-1 students who receive STEM degrees may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.

“USCIS remains committed to maximizing our online filing capabilities,” said Senior Official Performing the Duties of USCIS Director Tracy Renaud. “The I-765 online filing option allows eligible students to file forms online in a more user-friendly fashion and increases efficiencies for adjudicators.”

The option to file Form I-765 online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT. If an applicant submits Form I-765 online to request employment authorization on or after April 15, but is eligible for a different employment authorization category, USCIS will deny the application and retain the fee. As USCIS continues to transition to paperless operations, the agency will work to expand online filing for Form I-765 to additional categories.

Online filing allows applicants to submit forms electronically, check the status of their case anytime from anywhere, and receive notices from USCIS online instead of waiting for them in the mail. USCIS is using innovation and technology to meet the needs of applicants, petitioners and employees. Regardless of the paper or electronic format of an application or petition, USCIS is committed to ensuring a secure and efficient process for all.

Individuals can file 11 USCIS forms online, which can all be found on the Forms Available to File Online page. To file these forms online, individuals must first create a USCIS online account at This free account allows them to:

  • Submit their forms;
  • Pay their fees;
  • Track the status of their case;
  • Communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox; and
  • Respond to Requests for Evidence.

USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of these forms by mail.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on TwitterInstagramYouTubeFacebook and LinkedIn.



COVID-19 Vaccination Required for Immigration Medical Examinations


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that, effective Oct. 1, 2021, applicants subject to the immigration medical examination must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the civil surgeon can complete an immigration medical examination and sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.

We are updating our policy guidance in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aug. 17, 2021 update to the Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons. That update requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) and provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination. This requirement is effective Oct. 1, 2021, and applies prospectively to all Forms I-693 signed by the civil surgeons on or after that date. We are working on updating Form I-693 and the form instructions to incorporate this new requirement.

In general, individuals applying to become a lawful permanent resident, and other applicants as deemed necessary, must undergo an immigration medical examination to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds. USCIS designates eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform this immigration medical examination for applicants within the United States and to document the results of the immigration medical examination on the Form I-693.

USCIS may grant blanket waivers if the COVID-19 vaccine is:

  • Not age-appropriate;
  • Contraindicated due to a medical condition;
  • Not routinely available where the civil surgeon practices; or
  • Limited in supply and would cause significant delay for the applicant to receive the vaccination.

Individuals may also apply for individual waivers based on religious beliefs or moral convictions by submitting Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

For more information, see the policy alert.

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Cindy Hansen 2021
Additions made by Victor Dixon 2022