New problem awaits green card aspirants

Posted on Sep 03 2019

Green card applicants will be faced with a problem with their medical examination once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services begins accepting a newer edition of its Form I-693 starting Sept. 23.

Form I-693 is the Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, which is required for those applying for green cards.

According to the USCIS website, starting Sept. 23, 2019, the office will only accept the July 15, 2019 edition of Form I-693. Until then, applicant can continue to provide USCIS with the Oct. 19, 2017, edition of the form.

The most significant change in the newly amended form is the removal of the “tuberculin skin test,” leaving only the “interferon gamma release assay test” as the only test for tuberculosis. There is no site in the CNMI that offers this test.

In an interview with the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. spokesperson Zoe Travis, she said that the CNMI’s only hospital, the Commonwealth Health Center, is not able to perform the interferon gamma release assay test. She informed Saipan Tribune that the nearest U.S. location to avail of this test would be in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Offering this testing requires an environment like Hawaii or the [U.S.] mainland due to the testing process,” she said. The testing process requires not only immediate processing, but is also influenced by the volume of testing performed, which is not achievable at CHC.

She said that Guam also does not have this lab test.

With these implications beginning on Sept. 23, future citizenship applicants are left wondering about the possibilities open to them. A future applicant who requested anonymity is wondering about solutions to this matter, as this person’s child is turning 21 this October and would qualify the child, who is a U.S. citizen, to petition his or her parents for U.S. citizenship.

“Going to the U.S. mainland is already expensive, and now that we have the opportunity to apply for a green card, we have to find another way to avail of this test and I’m not even sure if [a nearby county such as the Philippines] will be a good solution for this exam,” the person said.

Marc Venus | Reporter
Marc Venus is the Saipan Tribune's public health and education reporter. He has an associate degree in Applied Sciences in Computer Applications and is working on his bachelor’s degree at the Northern Marianas College. Contact him at
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