Effective October 1, 2021, green card applicants are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to clear their immigration medical exam, complete their application for permanent residence – and get their green card.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has passed this order, in light of rising COVID-19 numbers across the U.S. This requirement applies all green card applications – for those applying for adjustment of status (for those already within the US) and for those being processed via US embassies and consulates.
With only around 53% of Americans fully vaccinated despite a wide range of efforts to reach ‘herd immunity’, government agencies are matching initiatives around the world in making the vaccine a requirement for an increasing number of services in order to boost uptake. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a vaccine authorised for use in the US (by the FDA) or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) is required to be submitted when attending the medical examination. It is noted that natural immunity acquired through infection does not the negate need for vaccination.
This vaccination requirement does not cover those applicants who are not eligible owing to the age-limit for vaccines in their jurisdiction or those who can document a medical exemption. If an applicant objects to the vaccine on religious or moral grounds, a waiver request has to be made to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Looking to get yourself or someone you know a vaccine?
Visit vaccines.gov and enter your zip code to find your nearest vaccination centre. Live outside the U.S.? Contact your local health department for further information. As above, applicants should ensure that their vaccine is one that is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration or listed for emergency use by WHO.
© Margaret W. Wong & Associates 2021. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.
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