The Nationality Act (INA), section 212(a)(1)(A)(ii) sets requirements for foreign nationals to demonstrate a proof of, if they wish to obtain permanent residence in the United States. Amongst those requirements are “any… vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices.”
Towards the end of August, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that starting October 1, 2021, applicants for lawful permanent residence will be required to show valid proof of a completed series of COVID-10 vaccination. Green card applicants and refugees who refuse to complete the series will be deemed inadmissible in the U.S.
However, certain waivers will be available including: (a) for those not being age-appropriate; (b) having precaution or contraindication showing that the person may have adverse reaction to the vaccination; (c) applicant being seen by a civil surgeon or panel physician in a jurisdiction where the vaccination is not routinely available; or (d) some may request waivers from USCIS based on moral or religious grounds.
While we are still waiting on more information and guidance from CDC and USCIS, we know that previous COVID-19 infections or tests showing immunity will not be an acceptable bases for a waiver.