“In general,” said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), “individuals applying to become a lawful permanent resident, and other applicants as deemed necessary, must undergo an immigration medical examination to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds.”
“That update requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) and provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination,” said USCIS, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. It noted that the new policy applies to forms I-693, which are signed by civil surgeons.
The agency said it may issue vaccine waivers to individuals if they are not of age, cannot get the shot due to a medical condition, the vaccine isn’t available where a civil surgeon practices, or if there is a limited supply of the vaccine.
Attention Green Card Applicants: Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, all applicants must complete the COVID-19 vaccine shot or series & provide proof of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination. Learn more: https://t.co/jJei4rlmBE pic.twitter.com/PC23Q0lGwE
— USCIS (@USCIS) September 14, 2021
Since President Joe Biden took office in January, his administration has received criticism from Republicans and some Democrats about the surge of illegal immigrants along the U.S.–Mexico border—some of whom may be unvaccinated. The administration has kept the Trump-era Title 42 policy that allows the United States to quickly deport illegal immigrants, although unaccompanied children and some families are exempt.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in early August that the policy will remain intact until the spread of COVID-19 stops being a public danger to the United States, prompting criticism from immigration advocacy groups.
Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed to reporters that COVID-19 vaccines are not mandated for illegal aliens at the border.
“Our objective is to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” she also said, coming after the Biden administration announced that it would issue an order directing companies with 100 or more workers to have their employees get vaccinated or submit to regular CCP virus testing, or face hefty fines of about $14,000.