VIDEO: Do I have to get vaccinations in order to be admitted to the U.S. or to obtain a green card?

Are there exceptions to the vaccination requirements associated with green card applications and people who want to get visitor visa to United States? I am Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in Saint Louis, Missouri. When you come to the United States or when you apply for a green card, you’re going to have to show that you’ve had the vaccinations required by law, and is set forth by Center for Disease Control. A lot of people who come to United States or want to apply for green card are surprised to learned that they have to document that they’ve had the required vaccinations, and there’s a long list of diseases that you have to be vaccinated against.

  • Mumps
  • Measles
  • Rubella
  • Polio
  • Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids
  • Pertussis
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • Hepatitis B
  • Any other vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices

The CDC has set forth those diseases that they want you to get tested for and immunized against, and so you have to actually go to a civil surgeon when you apply for a green card at least, and get them to go over your vaccination records, so it’s very important that you bring your vaccination records with you when you go to meet with the civil surgeon. You recall that you cannot just pick any Dr. Willie Neely that you want out of the phonebook. USCIS maintains a list of approved civil surgeons on their website, and you have to go to one of those doctors in order to get your medical exam and your vaccination records logged, and the civil surgeon will give those results seeing in the sealed envelope.

It’s important to bring those records of prior vaccinations with you because depending on your age and how long ago your vaccinations were, you may not have to get as many shots as you would, that if you don’t bring that form with you, because if you don’t bring that form with you, you’re going to have to get the full battery of vaccinations and that’s not fun. Now, if you’re too old, or you have medical condition, or if you’re pregnant, the doctor may be able to write a vaccination at this time would be countered indicated, and you may either be able to postpone it or to avoid it altogether if the vaccination would put you in some kind of health trouble.  The laws have been on the books strictly like they are now since 1996, and they are pretty cut and dry.

There are examples though where if you have a religious objection to vaccinations, you can ask for waiver either if you’re coming to visit or if you’re coming on a green card application. In those situations, if you have a firmly held religious belief and you’re not trying to pick and choose specific vaccinations to avoid, then you can apply for a waiver of the vaccination requirements. If you’re going to do that, you probably need a help of an immigration attorney, because they’re going to have to work with the civil surgeon to make sure that you document the waiver and that you apply in the timely and correct fashion.

If you have any questions about the waivers for the vaccination requirements for green cards or visas, feel free to give us a call, 314-961-8200, or you can shoot me an e-mail, jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks.