Federal Agencies, Practice Resources

Practice Alert: Medical Exam Waiver for Certain Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Applicants

8/17/21 AILA Doc. No. 21081733. Consular Processing

By DOS Liaison Committee1

The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have jointly issued a blanket waiver of the requirement to undergo a medical exam prior to immigrant visa issuance or admission to the United States for certain Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants.

The State Department‘s guidance on this blanket waiver of the medical exam requirement was published yesterday at 9 FAM 302.2-3(A) https://fam.state.gov/FAM/09FAM/09FAM030202.html

Afghan SIV applicants may be eligible for the medical exam waiver if all the following three conditions are met:

  1. The SIV applicant is in Afghanistan;
  2. The applicant has met all requirements for SIV issuance other than the medical exam; and
  3. The Chief of Mission has determined that the applicant is unable to complete the medical exam in a timely manner without undue hardship or risk to personal safety.

The validity of a visa issued to an Afghan SIV applicant whose medical exam is waived, is six months from date of issuance (but if the applicant is a child turning 21 years old, visa validity is to the child’s twenty-first birthday.)

At the time of entry to the United States, the Afghan SIV medical waiver beneficiary will be considered as lawfully admitted for permanent residence on a conditional basis. The individual will be required to undergo a medical exam in the United States no later than 30 days after admission. DHS will remove the conditional part of the Lawful Permanent Resident status upon confirmation that the individual has successfully passed a medical exam and is not otherwise inadmissible. The government will be issuing further guidance on how individuals can complete their medical requirements in the U.S.

The FAM also provides processing guidance for SIV applicants who have already completed medicals, but have expired or will expire before the flight.

The waiver of the medical exam requirement is in place until August 11, 2022 and may be extended in yearly increments.

1 Special thanks to DOS Liaison Committee Member Liam Schwartz for his contributions to this Practice Alert.