The CDC classified COVID-19 as a “Class A inadmissible condition,” alongside other diseases preventable through vaccination like tuberculosis and syphilis. (Getty Images illustration)
Immigrants in the U.S. applying for legal permanent residence must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under a new policy beginning Oct. 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last week, the agency announced it has classified COVID-19 as a “Class A inadmissible condition,” alongside other diseases preventable through vaccination like tuberculosis and syphilis.
Green card applicants must submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination as part of their medical examinations. Applicants who refuse the vaccine and don’t qualify for exemption will be ineligible for a visa, the CDC said.
Blanket exemptions allowed under the guidance include medical exemptions, as well as exemptions for children under 12 and people living in areas without routine vaccine distribution. Applicants can also apply for a waiver based on religious or moral convictions, however, those waivers will only be approved on a selective basis.
A negative COVID-19 test or lab tests showing natural immunity from a prior COVID-19 infection will not be accepted as alternatives, said the CDC.
“If an applicant refuses one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine series that is medically appropriate for the applicant, it should be documented that the vaccine requirements are not complete and that the applicant refuses vaccination. This applicant is Class A and is inadmissible to the United States,” the agency said.
Green card applicants are already required to show proof of vaccination for certain communicable diseases including mumps, measles, rubella, and polio.
The new guidance only applies to immigrants already in the U.S. who are seeking permanent legal status.
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