Starting October 1, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all applicants applying for refugee or lawful permanent residence, with some exceptions. All applicants who receive their medical examination ON OR AFTER October 1, 2021, must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series and provide documentation of vaccination. This change will impact anyone who completes the medical exam ON OR AFTER October 1, 2021. If the exam is completed BEFORE October 1, 2021, and it remains valid, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be required.
Waivers for the vaccine may be available in these scenarios:
-Contraindiction – a reason for a person to not receive a particular treatment or procedure because it may be harmful
-Not routinely available – If the vaccine is available to the applicant but due to limited supply, it would cause a significant delay for the applicant to receive their vaccination, then this situation would also be considered “Not routinely available”
-The applicant may also request a waiver based on religious or moral convictions – In this scenario, the waiver has to be submitted with USCIS and USCIS will make the decision, not the civil surgeon performing the exam or the CDC.
If an applicant refuses a COVID-19 vaccine series in part or in its entirety and it’s medically appropriate for the applicant, then the applicant will not be able to get a green card or immigrant visa. This vaccine requirement will be in place until the CDC determines that it is no longer necessary.
You can read more from the CDC about this by going to the link here.