September 28, 2021
USCIS’ Covid-19 Vaccine Requirement on Cases with Medical Exams
Generally, lawful permanent resident applicants and a few others that are deemed necessary, must show through a medical examination that they are free of any conditions that would make them inadmissible to the U.S. under health-related grounds. This exam is only to be performed by civil surgeons (approved doctors) authorized by USCIS and the results are to be documented on the form I-693.
On September 14th, 2021, USCIS announced on their website that effective October 1st, 2021, applicants subject to the immigration medical examination must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine), and provide documented proof of vaccination to the civil surgeon in person before carrying out the medical exam.
Are there any exceptions to this rule?
USCIS may grant blanket waivers if the COVID-19 vaccine is:
- Not age-appropriate; eligibility to administer a COVID-19 vaccine differs depending on the formulation. If the client is less than 12 years of age, the blanket waiver may be documented
- Contraindicated due to a medical condition; if the applicant has a contraindication or precaution to the COVID-19 vaccine formulation available, the “Contraindicated” reason should be documented, and the vaccine should not be administered. If the applicant has had a severe reaction to the first dose that is considered a contraindication to receiving a second dose, the first dose should be documented in addition to the blanket waiver.
- Vaccine not routinely available where the civil surgeon practices; If this is the case in the state where the Civil Surgeon practices, the “Not routinely available” reason should be documented.
- Limited in supply and would cause significant delay for the applicant to receive the vaccination. If the vaccine is available to the applicant but due to limited supply, it would cause significant delay for the applicant to receive their vaccination, then this situation would also be considered “Not routinely available.”
Other reasons why an applicant does not complete a COVID-19 vaccine series:
- Based on religious or moral convictions; if this is the case, it must be documented that the applicant is requesting a waiver based on their religious or moral beliefs. Because this does not fall under a blanket waiver, the applicant will have to submit a waiver request to USCIS, and they will determine is this type of waiver will be granted. Waivers are complex and it will make your immigration case more difficult. If you have had other vaccines, but not the Covid-19 vaccine, it may be difficult to prove that there is a religious or moral exemption for the waiver.
- Refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine in part or entirety; this must be documented and will make the applicant inadmissible to the United States.
Please contact Bailey Immigration if you are unsure of whether your immigration process requires a COVID-19 vaccine or, would like to know if your specific situation would be an exception to this rule. Our office offers free consultations at (866) 521-6422.