What is the up to date vaccination criteria for immigrating to the United States?
The CDC and US Department of Health and Human Services has begun to require that all immigrant applicants receive a medical exam, and during that exam they must show they have received certain vaccines.
The criteria that determines if a vaccine should be required for those immigrating to the U.S. are..
- The vaccine must be age appropriate for the applicant that is immigrating
- ACIP recommends vaccines for a certain age range for the general United States population
- The vaccine must protect against a disease that has the potential to cause an outbreak
- The vaccine must protect against a disease that has been or is in the process of being eliminated in the United States.
If a vaccine is recommended by ACIP, the immigrant applicant will be required to get it before or during their medical exam regarding immigration.
What vaccines are required to immigrate to the United States?
This is the list of diseases that do have vaccines that are required to immigrate to the United States.
- Tetanus and diphtheria
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal disease
- Pneumococcal disease
- Seasonal influenza
- COVID-19 (effective Oct. 1, 2021)
This criteria has been used by the CDC since December of 2009.
When do COVID-19 vaccinations become required?
COVID-19 vaccines will be required by applicants effective October 1st, 2021. Applicants are expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they take their immigration medical exam, and will not be able to pass without it. There are only a few exceptions that can be made in regard to this rule, including..
- The applicant is not age-appropriate
- Contraindicated due to a medical condition
- Not routinely available where the civil surgeon the applicant is seeing practices
- Limited enough supply that it would cause a significant delay for the applicant to receive the vaccination
- Individuals can apply for individual waivers regarding religious beliefs or moral convictions with Form I-601, Application for Waiver of grounds of Inadmissibility.
What is the Advisory Committee on immunization Practices, or ACIP?
As mentioned before, this is the group that makes suggestions on vaccines to be required of immigrants. The Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices, or ACIP, is a group of 15 vaccine experts who provide guidance on who should receive what kind of vaccines, both adults and children in the United States. Each vaccine expert in ACIP is selected by the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.)
ACIP is put in place to help provide guidance regarding vaccines to the director of the CDC and Secretary of the HHS. With this guidance, the country is believed to have a better chance at preventing the spread of an infectious disease. The ACIP provides their suggestions on how vaccines should be given, the number of doses, and which age groups should take them. Following this, the CDC reviews the reports and makes the countries guidelines based on the information provided.
Do these vaccination criterias apply to children being adopted by U.S. citizens?
Children that are immigrating to the United States from another country are still considered to be entering the country as immigrants, also making them required to receive certain vaccinations before they can be granted a visa. Exemptions can be given to get children an immigrant visa before receiving all of the exams, but only if the parents sign an agreement that they are aware of the requirements, and will get the vaccines for the child within 30 days of arriving in the United States. The only exception is children adopted from Hague Convention countries, including China and the Philippines, cannot be given exemptions.
What if you do not have some or any of the vaccines, do you need all doses before the immigrant medical exam?
Considering receiving all doses of these vaccines can take months if you do not already have them, immigrants are not required to have every dose before arriving at their immigrant medical exam. Instead, applicants are expected to receive at least one dose from each vaccine, showing that they are on track to complete the series of vaccines.