Permanent resident card

Green Card applicants required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning Oct. 1

Green Card applicants will soon be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced earlier this week.

The new measure will go into effect on Oct. 1.

“The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended COVID-19 vaccination for the age-appropriate, general US population,” the CDC announcement read. “Therefore, COVID-19 vaccination now meets the criteria for required vaccinations and is a requirement for applicants eligible for the vaccine.”

Applicants will need to have received the recommend dose(s) of the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to be considered fully vaccinated. Documentation of vaccination must be provided “to the civil surgeon in person before completion of the medical examination.” Self-reported vaccine doses without written documentation will not be accepted, according to the CDC.

“Acceptable vaccination documentation must come from a vaccination record, either an official vaccination record or a copy of a medical chart with entries made by physician or other appropriate medical personnel,” the CDC announcement read.

The announcement added: “The applicant should be vaccinated in accordance with the specific instructions for the formulation used. As new COVID-19 formulations are recommended by ACIP, they can be used to fulfill this requirement.”

The CDC will grant a waiver to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for applicants in some circumstances, which include:

  • Individuals who are too young to receive the vaccine
  • Individuals in countries where the vaccine is “not routinely available”
  • Individuals with a “contraindication” – a health condition that prevents them from receiving the vaccine or make it likely they will have a severe reaction

Applicants may also request a waiver from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement “based on religious or moral convictions.” These waiver requests will be adjudicated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on a case-by-case basis.

Individuals who do not receive a waiver and refuse to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be considered “inadmissible to the United States,” according to the CDC announcement.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or via email with any questions.

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