U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that, effective October 1, 2021, applicants subject to immigration medical examinations, including applicants for lawful permanent residence (green cards), must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before those examinations can take place and civil surgeons can sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.
This guidance will apply prospectively to Form I-693 signed by civil surgeons on or after October 1, 2021 submitted to USCIS. It also does not apply to applications for immigrant visas administered by the Department of State through U.S. consular posts outside the United States.
In updating its policy in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, USCIS will require applicants subject to immigration medical examinations to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (receiving one or two doses depending on the type of vaccine) and provide proof of vaccination to their civil surgeon before completion of the medical examination.
USCIS may grant waivers to this requirement if the COVID-19 vaccine is not age appropriate for an applicant or if the vaccine is contraindicated due to an applicant’s medical condition. It may also be waived if the vaccine is not routinely available where the relevant civil surgeon practices, or if the vaccine is in limited supply and there would be a significant delay for the applicant to receive the vaccination. Individuals may also apply for waivers based on religious beliefs or moral convictions by submitting Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
Individuals applying to become lawful permanent residents and other applicants as deemed necessary are required to undergo immigration medical examinations to show they do not have any conditions that would make them inadmissible under health-related grounds. USCIS designates eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform this examination for applicants within the United States and to document the exam results on Form I-693.
Ulmer’s Immigration Law Group is closely monitoring these developments.