All Immigrants to the United States Now Required to Have COVID-19 Vaccination
Effective October 1, 2021, all applicants for immigrant status will be required to submit COVID-19 vaccination records before completion of immigration medical examinations conducted in the United States and overseas. In general, those applying for immigrant status are required to undergo an immigration medical examination to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under health-related grounds. Some vaccines are expressly required by statue. Others are required because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined they are in the interest of public health. The CDC has recommended COVID-19 vaccination for all Americans eligible to receive it, the COVID-19 vaccine has been added to the list of public interest vaccination requirements for immigrants.
The medical exams, which are performed by doctors whom the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) designates as civil surgeons, can be conducted in the U.S. or overseas – but they won’t be considered complete without either a document showing vaccination against COVID-19, or an approved exception or waiver. USCIS may grant blanket waivers where the applicant can evidence: (1) Not Medically Appropriate; (2) Pregnancy or an Immuno-Compromised Condition; (3) National Vaccination Shortage; or (4) Vaccines Not Routinely Available. If an applicant objects to vaccines based on religious or moral convictions, the applicant must request an individual waiver. Unlike blanket waivers, individual waivers require the applicant to submit a waiver request. Individual waiver applicants cannot pick and choose which vaccines they reject, and applicants will have to demonstrate opposition to vaccinations in all forms, not just certain vaccinations.
If you are considering applying for immigrant status in the United States and have questions about the COVID-19 requirements, please contact our office to discuss at:
The Law Office of Travis Helm, LLC
121 Grand Ave., Suite 212
Laramie, WY 82070