All Green Card applicants, who receive their medical examination from either a Panel Physician or a Civil Surgeon on or after October 1, 2021, will need to show evidence of vaccination for COVID-19, or provide a valid reason why they should not be held to the new requirement.
This requirement will apply to both to Adjustment of Status applicants in the U.S. and Green Card applicants outside the U.S.
Applicants who are too young to receive the vaccine, or have a medical reason preventing them from receiving it, or live in an area where the vaccines are not widely available, will be exempt from this requirement.
Applicants may also request a exemption of this requirement based on religious or moral convictions. In this case, a waiver request would be sent to USCIS. USCIS would then decide on the grant of this waiver, not the Civil Surgeon, the Panel Physician or the Center for Disease Control.
All other applicants will be required to show evidence of full completion of the COVID-19 vaccine series to the Civil Surgeon or Panel Physician, in person, before completion of the medical examination.
Since COVID-19 vaccines can be given at any time, regardless of the timing of any other vaccination requirement, to avoid delays, we that applicants complete the required vaccination process before attending the medical examination.
If applicants choose the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the earliest a medical examination could be completed is 21 days after the first dose, and as soon as the second dose is administered. If the Moderna vaccine is chosen, the earliest a medical examination could be completed is also after the second dose, or 28 days after the first dose. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine, since it is only one dose, requires no wait time between administration and completion of the medical examination.
If applicants have a medical reason for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine (a “contraindication”), they should be prepared to bring documentation of that contraindication to their medical exam. For example, if the applicant has had a severe reaction to the first dose that would be considered a contraindication to receiving a second dose; in that case, the applicant should provide the civil surgeon with medical documentation of their adverse reaction to the first dose.
If no COVID-19 vaccine is routinely available in the state where the Civil Surgeon practices, or 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 be considered “not routinely available”, and the applicant would not be required to receive the vaccine.
At this time a booster is not required for completion of the medical examination, just the primary series of 1 or 2 doses depending on the type of vaccine.