Immigrants will need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to apply for welfare benefits in the U.S. starting on Oct. 1, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Tuesday.
Immigrants who will require medical examinations to access benefits including lawful permanent residency and green cards will need a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of their appointments, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency made the change to be in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for those who perform medical exams.
“That update requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) and provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination,” USCIS said in a statement.
Immigrants may be able to avoid getting vaccinated to access benefits if they’re too young or have a medical condition that prevents them from getting the vaccine, according to USCIS. The immigrants could also avoid vaccination if doses are in limited supply in the region and waiting would cause a “significant delay” if they waited to receive a shot.
“In general, individuals applying to become a lawful permanent resident, and other applicants as deemed necessary, must undergo an immigration medical examination to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds,” according to USCIS.
Immigrants can apply for “individual waivers based on religious beliefs or moral convictions” on a case-by-case basis, USCIS announced.
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