Recently in the news there has been a growing concern over vaccine efficacy and whether or not U.S. citizens should be mandated to get vaccinated. Some organizations, for example, have decided that it will be mandatory for their employees to get both doses before returning to in-person work, which has sparked some controversy over how the vaccine should be used in the United States and who should be able to say who gets the jab or not.

Some advocates for the anti-vaccine campaign have stated that it is each U.S. citizen’s fundamental right to say what goes into their body, which has become a political issue in recent weeks further dividing communities who are either all for or against vaccination. For the purpose of Visa2us and preparing immigrants for the immigration process in the United States, this issue should also be addressed for immigrant communities and immigrant family members who are hearing mixed messages in their online and social networks.

New Rules for I-693

The current rule for immigrants, non-immigrants, and moreover those who are applying for a green card in the United States is that you will need to bring your CDC card showing your vaccination to your doctors visit when they screen you as part of the I-485 procedure.

This rule applies to all immigrants, and there is very little room currently for any type of exemption, even if it is a religious one. For example, there was only recently one case in Virginia where an avid U.S. citizen employee told her employer that she had a signed religious exemption note from her pastor to forgo getting vaccinated in order to return to work.[1] The story tells us that it is indeed very difficult to get an exemption from the vaccine, and usually immigrants will have an even harder time because of some of the anti-immigration stigma that still persists. 

As such, I-485 applicants who don’t show up to their medical exam appointment with a completed CDC vaccination card could either be told that they will need to reschedule their appointments (which could add months to their overall processing and wait time), or that they will need to get the first shot of their vaccine at the actual appointment.

For those immigrants that are interested in getting a religious waiver for the vaccine, will need to get a note from their denomination in order to start the process.

In addition, for those immigrants who are interested in getting the first or second shot at their actual medical examination, this is indeed a possibility—but all applicants should appropriately communicate with their medical provider to avoid confusion if the office is or is not giving shots. This will also help make the overall process easier as a physician can sign their name on the I-693, versus having to wait and delay the process.

I-693 CDC Covid-19 Vaccine Green Card