Green Card Vaccination Requirements
There are new green card vaccination requirements. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of October 1, 2021, individuals applying for permanent residency in the United States will be required to establish that they have received a complete COVID-19 vaccine series as part of the routine medical examination they are required to attend. More specifically, these applicants will need to show proof in person to the civil surgeon conducting their medical examination of having obtained COVID-19 vaccination with a vaccine authorized for use in the United States or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. This new requirement will be in addition to the existing vaccines required for U.S. immigration.
Which vaccinations are currently required?
At the moment, the following vaccines are currently required for U.S. immigration:
- Tetanus and diphtheria
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal disease
- Pneumococcal disease
- Seasonal influenza
What are the relevant exemptions?
Blanket Waiver: Blanket waivers of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement will be available to applicants who are younger than the lowest age limit for available vaccines in their jurisdiction. Blanket waivers are also available for those who can document a medical contraindication (for example, if the applicant has had a severe reaction to the first dose that is considered a contraindication to receiving a second dose, the first dose should be documented in addition to the blanket waiver). Further information about contraindications specific to the COVID-19 vaccines can be found here. Finally, an applicant may be permitted a blanket waiver where the COVID-19 vaccine is not routinely available in the jurisdiction of the U.S. civil surgeon or panel physician performing their medical exam.
Waiver based on religious or moral convictions: Applicants who object to COVID-19 vaccination on religious or moral grounds must submit a waiver request to USCIS, who will determine whether to grant it. Further information about the documentary evidence required to support an application for a waiver based on religious or moral convictions can be found here.
Note: As the duration of immunity due to natural infection is still under investigation, applicants must receive the vaccine regardless of evidence of immunity or prior COVID-19 infection.
What happens if the applicant refuses the vaccine?
If an applicant refuses one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine series and does not fall under the purview of the above-mentioned waivers, the vaccine requirements will be considered not to have been met and it will be documented that the applicant refuses vaccination. Consequently, the applicant will be inadmissible to the United States.
Silver Immigration will continue to monitor the green card vaccination requirements.