The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that as of October 1, 2021, all applicants for Green Cards must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
There are some exemptions from the requirement, but anyone who does not qualify for an exemption and refuses vaccination will be inadmissible.
The COVID-19 vaccine joins the list of other vaccines (including, among others, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, and diphtheria) that have long been necessary for immigration. Vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases has been required by federal statute since 1996 for every immigrant seeking entry or seeking to adjust status to legal permanent resident.
For now, the United States has accepted three COVID-19 vaccines, but that may be changed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as time goes on. ACIP is a group of 15 experts who make recommendations to CDC.
Blanket waivers to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement will be available for:
- Those too young to receive the vaccine
- People with medical contraindications
- Individuals from countries with no or limited vaccine supplies
Waivers will not be available for individuals who have had COVID-19 and may still have immunity.
Religious or moral ground exemptions may be requested from USCIS (as has always been the case).
If you have questions about this new vaccination requirements, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist you.