The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines vaccination requirements for an immigration medical exam in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC. The Civil Surgeon will determine which, if any, vaccinations an applicant requires based mainly on the age of the applicant and previous vaccination records.
Vaccination Requirements may include the following.
- COVID-19 vaccine (complete series)
- Tetanus and Diphtheria
- Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal disease
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Pneumococcal disease
- Seasonal Influenza (required October 1 - March 31)
Applicants are only expected to begin a vaccination series that they have not begun or continue with a series that they have already started. USCIS assumes that applicants care enough about their health to complete all shots in a series eventually on their own.
- Vaccination requirements for applicants seeking permanent residency or citizenship in the United States are different from those for the general population.
- The Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons must be followed and may be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/exams/ti/civil/technical-instructions-civil-surgeons.html.
- ACIP/CDC recommendations also must be followed and may be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html for details. The notes section applies.
- Verbal reports are not acceptable for vaccination or historical disease purposes, except for a reliable written or verbal report of chicken pox (Varicella) disease.
- Titers are not acceptable in lieu of vaccination records unless ordered by the Civil Surgeon.
- Tetanus/diphtheria: Applicants must begin or continue with the primary series.
- Tdap/Td is required unless the applicant has proof of at least three tetanus/diphtheria vaccinations in their lifetime.
- The most recent vaccination must be within the last ten years.
- There must be at least a four-week interval between Tdap/Td #1 & #2.
- There must be at least a six-month interval between Tdap/Td #2 & #3.
- Titers are not acceptable for proof of immunity to tetanus or diphtheria.
- Polio: For applicants aged four to eighteen years, no matter how many Polio vaccinations were received in the past, if the final one was given before the fourth birthday, then either a booster shot or a titer ordered by the Civil Surgeon proving immunity is required.
- Chicken pox (Varicella): In the absence of a reliable verbal or written report of past disease, applicants above twelve months of age must either begin or continue the two-shot series or provide proof of immunity by titer ordered by the Civil Surgeon.
- There must be at least a four-week interval between Varicella #1 & #2.
- If MMR is also required...
- The vaccinations must be given on the same day or thirty-days apart.
- MMRV is an acceptable alternative.
- COVID-19 Vaccination: Applicants must complete a COVID-19 vaccination series if eligible by age and are considered to be medically disqualified until they do. No exceptions. Titers or records of disease are not acceptable in lieu.
- Applicants that do not feel comfortable following the instructions required by the United States may exercise the opportunity to explain to the USCIS why the rules that apply to all other applicants should not apply to them. Applicants wishing to exercise this option should contact my office.
Contact Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD, today if you want to learn more about the vaccines needed for immigration medical exams. Dr. Gordon, our Civil Surgeon, has dedicated 80% of his practice to immigration medical exams.
Also Read: When And How To Choose an Immigration Attorney