DOS Updates Vaccination Requirements for Immigrant Visa Applicants to Include COVID-19 Vaccine
On October 1, 2021, the Department of State (DOS) announced that all immigrant visa applicants, all K fiancé(e) visa applicants, and nonimmigrant visa applicants who are referred to the panel physicians must receive a full COVID-19 vaccine series as part of their medical examination prior to being issued a visa per updated instructions by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These examinations are required for all foreign nationals applying for immigrant visas or fiancé(e) visas at the U.S. Embassies or consular posts abroad. The DOS will issue blanket waivers to the COVID-19 vaccination requirements in cases where (1) it is not age-appropriate (i.e. the applicant is younger than the lowest age limit for the approved COVID-19 vaccine formulations in use); (2) the applicant has a documented contraindication or medical precaution to the COVID-19 vaccination; or if none of the approved COVID-19 vaccines are routinely available in the country. The new policy took effect on October 1, 2021.