October 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 298

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October 25, 2021

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USCIS Announces New COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Immigration Medical Examinations

Starting on October 1, 2021, any applicant for lawful permanent residence and other categories that require the immigration medical examination must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. USCIS will implement this requirement by mandating proof of fully vaccinated status before a USCIS-approved civil surgeon can complete an immigration medical examination and sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record on behalf of an applicant.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is updating its policy guidance to incorporate the CDC’s August 17, 2021 instructions to civil surgeons. That update requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to be “fully” vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, this means having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Applicants will be required to provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination.

The immigration medical examination is most commonly required of lawful permanent residence (“green card”) applicants to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under health-related grounds. USCIS designates eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform this immigration medical examination for applicants within the United States and to document the results. Failure to have completed the vaccination could result in a denial of the lawful permanent residence application by USCIS. This change adds COVID-19 to the list of diseases against which lawful permanent residence applicants must be vaccinated.

USCIS may grant a blanket waiver of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for applicants based on one of the following conditions:

  • The applicant is below a certain age and should not receive the vaccine;

  • The applicant cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition; or

  • Vaccines are not routinely available or are in limited supply where the civil surgeon practices.

In addition to the blanket waivers that may be implemented by USCIS, applicants may also apply for an individual waiver based on religious beliefs or moral convictions by submitting Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

©1994-2021 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 263
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About this Author

Angel Feng, Immigration Attorney, Mintz Levin, Visa Petitions Lawyer, Green Card, Immigration EB-5 Financing
Special Counsel

Angel focuses her practice on business immigration matters and related compliance issues. She works with employers in designing and defining corporate immigration programs and policies, and in structuring short and long-term visa strategies for management, professional and specialized skill foreign employees.  She also advises employers on discipline, suspension and/or termination of visa sponsored employees and litigation prevention measures; and counsels clients on employment eligibility verification, I-9, and E-verify compliance and employer defense in ICE audits, and worksite...

617.348.1866
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