The United States is to impose a vaccine mandate on anyone who wants to be an immigrant, the holder of the so-called green card. From next month, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all age-appropriate applicants for US immigrant visa worldwide to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for immigrant visa consideration.
There are limited exemptions. The website of the US Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean pointed out that all US immigrant visa applicants are required to complete a medical examination as part of the normal application process.
“Effective October 1, a completed COVID- 19 vaccine series is a new CDC requirement for US immigrant visa medical examinations,” the embassy said.
“The US Department of State is currently working with the CDC to implement this requirement. This requirement does not apply to non-immigrant visa (NIV) classes such as tourist or student visas.”
Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required along with the other vaccination requirements already in place relating to green card applications.
The new CDC policy will affect two categories of applicants – a foreign national making an application to adjust status or a foreign national applying for an immigrant visa.
There are few exemptions. According to the order, blanket waivers of the vaccination requirement are available if the vaccination is medically contraindicated, the applicant does not have access to one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines in their country, or the vaccination is not age-appropriate.
The order also makes provision for an applicant to request a waiver based on religious or moral convictions.
The US Embassy said: “If an applicant objects to vaccination based on religious or moral convictions, it must be documented that the applicant is requesting an individual waiver based on religious or moral convictions. This is not a blanket waiver. The applicant will have to submit a waiver request to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will determine if this type of waiver is granted, not the panel physician or CDC,” it said.