The United States Government has announced a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination as part of its requirements for all applicants seeking lawful permanent residence in the US.
This is part of the new guidelines released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on August 24, 2021.
“Beginning October 1, 2021, green card applicants will now be required to establish that they have received a complete COVID-19 vaccine series, in order to be deemed eligible for permanent residence in the United States.
“The new vaccine requirement will apply to routine medical examinations necessary for both adjustment of status applicants applying for green cards in the United States and immigrant visa applicants applying at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.
“Individuals must be vaccinated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC will also accept different COVID-19 vaccines as they are recommended by its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
“The CDC now classifies COVID-19 as a “Class A inadmissible condition,” and failure to vaccinate against a vaccine-preventable disease would render a person ineligible for a visa”, the CDC statement read.
“This requirement does not apply to non-immigrant visa (NIV) classes such as tourist or student visas”, the statement added.
Under the new guidelines, applicants seeking permanent residence will be required to provide either an official vaccination record or a copy of a medical chart with entries from a physician or other appropriate medical personnel showing that the applicant has received the complete COVID-19 vaccination series.
However, Waivers will be available to applicants who are “not age-appropriate” to receive a vaccination; or applicants with a “contraindication or precaution” indicating that a person might have an adverse reaction to the vaccination; or are seen by a civil surgeon or panel physician in a jurisdiction where the vaccinations are “not routinely available.”
The requirement will also be waived for individuals in countries with no or limited available COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
Applicants will also be able to request a waiver from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on moral or religious grounds.
The CDC however emphasised that the United States will not accept self-reported vaccine doses without written documentation by a doctor or “other appropriate medical personnel”, adding that a negative COVID-19 test is not sufficient to prove an immigrant does not pose a public risk of spreading the disease.