Effective October, 1, 2021, the U.S will be requiring COVID-19 vaccination among new immigrants to the United States, as announced by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This new rule requires those immigrating to the U.S who undergo the immigration medical examination to be fully vaccinated before the examination can be performed by the civil surgeon. Once completed, Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, may be signed and filed by the operating civil surgeon.
Blanket waivers may be issued by the USCIS for immigrants who are not of age to receive the vaccine, medically exempt from the vaccine (based on the approval of the civil surgeon), or if the COVID-19 vaccine in question is not readily available in the area of which the civil surgeon practices.
The medical examination performed by the civil surgeon is to ensure that immigrants are free from medical conditions that would leave them with grounds of inadmissibility. If grounds of inadmissibility are found, immigrants can file form I-601, Application for Grounds of Inadmissibility.
Immigrant applicants who already reside within the United States, and are seeking to change their visa status, will be required to receive the vaccine as well, unless proof is provided of prior vaccination against COVID-19, or if they have received a medical exemption. However, this vaccination requirement does not apply to those seeking non-immigrant visas.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be added to the list of required vaccines necessary in order to immigrate to the United States. Vaccines such as Hepatitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, and more, are just some of the vaccines that have been required for entry for years.
This new vaccine requirement for immigrants comes as vaccination rates in the United States have levelled off. Vaccination statistics in the U.S show 54% of Americans are fully vaccinated, while 63% of Americans have at least one shot of the vaccine.