COVID-19 Vaccine Now Required for Entry

By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

If you’re applying to immigrate to the United States, you’ll have to prove that you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 during your required medical exam – and if you’re not vaccinated, you’ll have to become vaccinated or show a reason that you’re unable to do so. Here’s what you need to know.

Immigration: COVID-19 Vaccine is Mandatory

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires immigrants to prove several vaccinations. In fact, you must have been vaccinated against hepatitis A, polio and chickenpox, as well as several others when you apply to immigrate to the U.S.

USCIS recently added the COVID-19 vaccine to that list. The agency says “If the applicant has not received any of the listed vaccinations and the vaccinations are age appropriate and medically appropriate, the applicant has a Class A condition and is inadmissible.” That means unless you have a medical exemption or you’re not old enough to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (such as kids under the age of 12, as of the time of this writing), you must have valid proof of a COVID shot or USCIS will deny your petition.

Related: Can you immigrate to the U.S. with a criminal record?

Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Rule Apply to All Immigrants?

All immigrants are required to comply with the vaccine requirement. That includes people who wish to become permanent residents, citizens, workers and those who fall into a number of other categories. If you must take a medical exam for your immigration action, you’re required to be vaccinated or prove that you have a valid exemption.

Are There Waivers Available to Immigrants With Religious Objections to the COVID-19 Vaccine?

There are waivers available to immigrants who have genuine religious or moral objections to the COVID-19 vaccine – but you can’t simply say you object to the COVID-19 vaccine. You must demonstrate that you have an objection to all vaccines. USCIS evaluates waiver petitions on a case-by-case basis, but there’s no guarantee that yours will be accepted.

Related: Can you be deported for committing a crime?

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Lawyer About Coming to the U.S. or Adjusting Your Status?

If you’re looking at immigration proceedings, whether you’re coming to the U.S. in the near future or you’re here and ready to adjust your status, we may be able to help – with or without your COVID-19 vaccine. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule an immigration consultation now; we’ll answer your questions and determine the best path forward for you.

By Attorney Carlos Gamino