COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements And Changes To Medical Exam Validity For Those Seeking Green Cards

Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP

COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Required Of All Green Card Applicants Commencing October 1, 2021, and Medical Exam Validity Extended For Applicants For Adjustment Of Status

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has mandated that all green card applicants for adjustment of status in the United States and immigrant visa applicants applying abroad at consular posts be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Applicants for immigrant visas or adjustment of status must present either official vaccination records or copies of medical charts with entries from physicians or other appropriate medical personnel showing that they have received the completed COVID-19 vaccination series.

Waivers are available to applicants who are not “age-appropriate” to receive a vaccination or others who might have an adverse reaction to the vaccination. Further, those with objections to taking the vaccine on moral or religious grounds would be required to obtain waivers from U.S. Citizenship Services to claim exemption from the requirement.

The introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine is just one additional requirement that is imposed on immigrants to the United States. At this time there are other vaccines that are currently a prerequisite to securing permanent residence in the United States, including the flu vaccine, MMR, and others.

Evidence of prior immunity to COVID-19 or other laboratory tests evidencing immunity will not be accepted as the basis of a waiver from receiving the vaccine.

USCIS Will Extend Validity Of The Medical Examinations From Two Years To Four Years

On August 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will temporarily extend the validity of Form I-693 – Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination from two years to four years due to COVID-19 related delays in processing.

USCIS will consider a completed Form I-693 valid if:

  • The Civil Surgeon’s signature is dated no more than 60 days prior to the applicant filed Form I-485 application to adjust status;
  • No more than four years have passed since the date of the civil surgeon’s signature; and
  • A decision of the applicant’s application to adjust status is issued on or before September 30, 2021.

The agency indicates that since COVID-19 has caused processing delays affecting applicants’ ability to undergo required medical examinations, they are providing accommodation under this circumstance.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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