Effective October 1, COVID-19 vaccinations have been added to those required for immigrants who are subject to the required medical examination. This generally includes new visa applicants and those applying for permanent lawful residency (a green card).

Immigrants to the United States are already required to be medically eligible to enter the U.S. Being medically eligible includes being free from infectious diseases. The U.S. government also requires immigrants subject to a medical evaluation to get vaccinations against measles, mumps, rubella, polio and hepatitis A and B.

To be considered medically eligible to enter the U.S. or obtain a green card, immigrants must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before their visit with a civil surgeon. This means getting your second dose of the vaccine when a second dose is required to complete the regimen.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Children who are too young to get the vaccine safely will not be required to have one. Additionally, people who have a medical condition that keeps them from safely receiving the vaccine will be exempt. In certain cases, applicants can be excused from getting a COVID-19 vaccine if it is not routinely available where the civil surgeon practices or if it is so limited in supply that getting the vaccination would cause significant delay for the applicant. If you need to be excused, you should talk to a U.S. immigration attorney.

Additionally, if you have a religious belief or moral conviction that prevents you from getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you can apply for a waiver to be excused from the vaccination. You can apply for the waiver by filling out Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

If your visa requires you to get a medical examination or if you are interested in becoming a lawful permanent resident, you should arrange to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

If you have questions about the vaccination requirement or the exceptions to it, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people come to live, work or join family members in the U.S.