Starting October 1st, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all green card applicants and refugees. Vaccination requirements for immigration are not new. In fact, proof of many other vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) are required when applying for a green card.
Procedurally, an applicant undergoes a medical exam by a physician (certified civil surgeon), who will review their vaccination records and confirm whether the applicant has received all required vaccinations. An applicant must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series and provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon in person before completion of the medical examination. The applicant is required to receive the vaccine series regardless of evidence of immunity or prior COVID-19 infection.
The CDC provides the civil surgeons with technical instructions on vaccination and other medical requirements, which can be found on the CDC website.
An applicant who refuses the vaccine will be found inadmissible and their application will be denied unless he or she obtains a waiver of the vaccination requirement. The CDC allows a blanket waiver of COVID vaccination if an applicant is not old enough, has a contraindication to the COVID vaccine, or is unable to find a routinely available vaccination clinic. An individual waiver is also available if the applicant has refused the vaccine for religious or moral convictions.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, text us using our chat box, or complete our contact form.