The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a new rule that will require anyone seeking permanent residency status or any immigrant visa to be fully vaccinated. This new rule is set to go into effect as of October 1, 2021, and will apply to both people currently living in the United States as well as anyone applying for an immigrant visa abroad. This new rule is aimed at curtailing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to be a serious public health issue across the world.
What is the CDC’s Role in Immigration Law?
The CDC sets the rules for what medical conditions someone can be excluded for when they are attempting to apply for legal immigrant status, or for an adjustment of their current immigration status. Everyone who wants to apply for admission to the United States must complete a medical examination in accordance with CDC guidelines, which includes providing a vaccination record for certain communicable diseases. This includes vaccines against diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis B, among others.
What is This New Rule?
Under the new rule, anyone seeking either a green card (the colloquial term for lawful permanent residency) or an immigrant visa must show proof they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This means they must have documentary evidence they have undergone the full vaccination course, which may be one or two doses, depending on the exact vaccine. Anyone who fails to provide this evidence, or who refuses to get vaccinated, will be disqualified from either obtaining a visa or becoming a lawful permanent resident.
Why Has This Rule Been Implemented?
Although more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, new variants of the coronavirus continue to spread throughout the United States. Vaccination against the disease has the obvious effect of protecting the vaccinated, as well as limiting the spread of the disease from immigrants who might be carrying the virus. By mandating vaccination for immigrants, the CDC is looking to minimize the spread of foreign variants of COVID-19 among the American population, as well as protecting immigrants from potential infections within the United States.
How Does This Affect Immigration Applicants?
Anyone who has already been vaccinated will need to show their vaccination card or other equivalent document as part of their application process. Anyone who has yet to be vaccinated but wishes to seek lawful permanent status or an immigration visa must first be vaccinated, or else seek a medical exemption. If you have been struggling with this process for any reason, you should speak to a lawyer with knowledge of immigration law who can assist you with your application.
For more than forty years, the Drucker Law Firm has been providing personal and quality legal services to individuals, universities, and corporations throughout the New York City and Tri-State area. We have represented three generations of clients in immigration and nationality matters, as well as personal injury, family law, criminal law, and general litigation matters. If you have a legal issue related to immigration law, please give us a call at (718) 458-1489 to schedule a consultation or visit our contact page.