COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Green Card Applicants

The CDC has announced new regulations that require all green card applicants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. While the CDC is not commonly involved in immigration procedures, this is not the first time the health agency has stepped in to establish required vaccinations for travel and immigration purposes. In fact, specific to immigration alone, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, and diphtheria are among vaccines that have long been necessary for United States immigration. Even further, vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases has been required by federal statute since 1996 for every immigrant seeking entry or seeking to adjust status to legal permanent resident. Currently, there are green card health examinations in place that also checks to ensure applicants are not carrying any serious communicable diseases.


Applicants with antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection do not meet the criteria for application, and must still complete a vaccination series. However, the requirement does come with a few exemptions. If you are a green card applicant with the following conditions, you may be exempt:


  • Applicants who are too young to receive the vaccine at the time of processing

  • Applicants with medical contraindications

  • Applicants from countries with no or limited vaccine supplies


Additionally, applicants with strict religious beliefs that prohibit vaccination will be assessed on an individual basis. Keep in mind that as the vaccine age windows widen with approved recipients, the immigration laws will be reflective of those changes.