By: Richard Hanus, Esq.
Published August 29, 2021
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just announced it now classifies COVID-19 as a “Class A inadmissible condition”, and applicants present in the U.S. seeking to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (green card) will soon be required to provide proof of vaccination. The COVID 19 vaccine requirement goes into effect for immigration related medical exams performed on or after October 1, 2021, adding to the list of other vaccination requirements applicants must comply with, including for mumps, measles, rubella, and hepatitis A and B.
An effective date has yet to be imposed for overseas applicants for U.S. residence undergoing immigrant visa processing at a U.S. consular post in their home country, but sooner or later this class of applicants will also be required to provide proof of vaccination.
Medical exams and health screenings have been a part of the U.S. residency process for generations. Class A medical conditions such as tuberculosis, syphilis and other quarantinable diseases designated by a presidential order have historically been a basis to deny U.S. residence to a foreign national applicant.
For I-485 applicants seeking to adjust to resident status in the U.S. – whether through a family relationship, or employment based petition, a Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record is an essential supporting document. The completion of an I-693 requires a physician accredited by the Department of Homeland Security to certify various test results confirming the absence of any inadmissible medical conditions and that required vaccinations have been obtained.
In recently issued guidance, the CDC confirmed that proof of receipt of the Covid-19 vaccination series will now be incorporated as a section in the I-693. Additionally, the CDC clarified that simply providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test will not be adequate as far as confirming that the foreign national will not present a risk of transmitting the disease. “A negative screening for COVID-19 at the time of the medical evaluation does not guarantee the applicant will not have COVID-19 at the time the applicant becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident,” the CDC said.
In terms of exceptions to this rule, the CDC incorporates medical and religious bases for seeking a waiver or excusal of any given vaccine requirement, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, children and families residing in areas where vaccine availability is limited will also be excused.
The vaccine must be one manufactured by Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. When it comes to proof of vaccination, an applicant’s own attestation that he/she was vaccinated will not suffice. Instead, only an official vaccination record or medical chart will be accepted as official proof.
We will continue to provide further updates on how this new policy will be applied for U.S. based applicants as well as those processing at a U.S. consular post overseas.
PUBLISHED August 29, 2021– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2021, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois