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COVID-19 Vaccination Required for Immigration Medical Examinations

By Thomas Lee


Effective Oct. 1, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that applicants subject to the immigration medical examination must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the civil surgeon can complete an immigration medical examination and sign Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.

USCIS is updating their policy guidance in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aug. 17, 2021 update to the Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons. The 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 proof of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination. This applies prospectively to all Forms I-693 signed by the civil surgeons on or after Oct. 1, 2021. They are currently working on updating Form I-693 and the form instructions to incorporate this new requirement.

Generally, 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. For this purpose, USCIS designates eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform and to document the results of the immigration medical examination on the Form I-693 for those located within the United States.

USCIS may grant blanket waivers if the COVID-19 vaccine is:

- Not age-appropriate

- Contraindicated due to a medical condition

- Not routinely available where the civil surgeon practices

- Limited in supply and would cause significant delay for the applicant to receive the vaccination

Individuals may also apply for individual waivers based on religious beliefs or moral convictions by submitting Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

Please note that the information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed nor relied upon as legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. For a free consultation with Attorney Thomas M. Lee, please contact us.

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