January 31, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 31


January 30, 2023

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CDC Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Applicants for Green Cards

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that as of October 1, 2021, all applicants for Green Cards must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

There are some exemptions from the requirement, but anyone who does not qualify for an exemption and refuses vaccination will be inadmissible.

The COVID-19 vaccine joins the list of other vaccines (including, among others, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, and diphtheria) that have long been necessary for immigration. Vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases has been required by federal statute since 1996 for every immigrant seeking entry or seeking to adjust status to legal permanent resident.

For now, the United States has accepted three COVID-19 vaccines, but that may be changed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as time goes on. ACIP is a group of 15 experts who make recommendations to CDC.

Blanket waivers to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement will be available for:

  • Those too young to receive the vaccine

  • People with medical contraindications

  • Individuals from countries with no or limited vaccine supplies

Waivers will not be available for individuals who have had COVID-19 and may still have immunity.

Religious or moral ground exemptions may be requested from USCIS (as has always been the case).

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2023National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 257

About this Author

Forrest G. Read IV, Immigration, Employment, Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Law Firm

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has special expertise in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read's immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and...