This sponsored column is by James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq. and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at Steelyard LLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact James for an appointment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has lasted a year and a half (so far!) which is just enough time for our immigration bureaucracy to take vigorous and decisive action. Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for most green card applicants.
Green card applicants have always had to undergo medical examinations as part of the application process — indeed, our current procedure is an outgrowth of the famous Ellis Island medical screenings. In its modern form, these examinations are conducted by specially certified doctors in the United States, called Designated Civil Surgeons. (Are you reading this just for the useful tips? Here’s the link to finding a Designated Civil Surgeon near you.) The Department of State likewise has selected a few doctors in each country to perform immigration-related medical examinations for applicants abroad.
These exams aim to confirm that the applicant does not have any communicable diseases like tuberculosis, drug or alcohol dependency issues, or mental illnesses that pose a danger to themselves or society at large.
The medical exams also include confirming that the applicant has had required U.S. vaccinations. If the applicant has not received those vaccinations, the applicant must receive the vaccines to receive his or her green card. These vaccines include the polio, varicella (chicken pox), mumps and influenza vaccines.
On Sept. 14, USCIS announced that green card applicants inside the United States must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the medical examiner can complete the required medical exam beginning on Oct. 1. Therefore, if an applicant intends on completing her medical exam after Oct. 1, she must show that she has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Likewise, the Department of State will begin requiring the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on Oct. 1. Importantly, there are various acceptable COVID-19 vaccines. The three “big” vaccines available in the United States are acceptable, along with vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization.
However, there are also exceptions to the vaccination requirement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated the physician instructions to explain appropriate circumstances under which the applicant may be excused from receiving the vaccine or when the doctor should note that completing the vaccine requirement is impossible.
For example, the physician may note in the medical examination that the applicant cannot or should not receive the vaccine because it is not age appropriate, it is contraindicated for that individual, or an approved vaccine is not routinely available in the area.
Additionally, applicants may request a waiver based on religious or moral convictions. This waiver is not new; it has been available to applicants who object to other vaccinations as well. If the applicant simply refuses the vaccine and does not receive a waiver, the applicant will be deemed inadmissible (barred) from entering the United States.
As always, we’re glad to respond to questions from readers.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
A former ABC News producer whose Columbia Pike apartment was raided by the FBI last year has been sentenced. James Gordon Meek, 53, pleaded guilty in July to transportation and…
Metrorail service was suspended on the Blue and Yellow lines today after a train derailed.
4 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage 1/4 acre Jamestown Williamsburg Yorktown pyramid
At Generation Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting teen parents in college as they work toward earning their degrees. We are in need of caring child care volunteers for upcoming events on Saturday, October 21st (in Washington, DC), and Saturday, November 4th (in Arlington, VA). Join our growing volunteer community and support us at an event this fall!
At all of our events, we provide free onsite child care for the children of the teen parents we serve, creating a nurturing environment for the kiddos while their parents learn valuable life skills and build community.
If you enjoy working with children and are looking to make an immediate impact in your community, please visit https://www.generationhope.org/volunteer to learn more.
Join us for Arlington’s biggest civil rights & social justice event of the year. The banquet is back in person at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.
Our keynote speaker this year is Symone Sanders from MSNBC and former Chief of Staff for Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The Master of Ceremonies is Joshua Cole, former state delegate, NAACP President, and local pastor.
Tickets/seating are limited. Purchase your ticket today! Sponsorship opportunities available.
Cody Chance and Dick Nathan of Long & Foster are hosting an online workshop on the topic of “down-sizing” Wednesday, October 4 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Every great endeavor begins with a great plan. This workshop will give you the tools