Vaccination Requirements (and Exceptions) for Green Card Applicants

Failure to get the required vaccinations makes you "inadmissible" to the United States, unless you qualify for an exception or waiver.

If you are applying for U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card), you will need to show that you have had all the recommended vaccinations for preventable diseases. Failure to get these vaccinations makes you "inadmissible" to the United States under § 212(a)(1)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), or 8 U.S.C. § 1182.

Some of the vaccinations are named in the statute. Others are recommended by the U.S. Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Which Vaccinations Are Required for a U.S. Green Card

There are several vaccinations that are (as of 2024) required for consideration of lawful permanent residence. They are as follows:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Rotavirus
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Varicella
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Influenza
  • COVID-19 (coronavirus)
  • Any additional vaccinations that are recommended by the ACIP.

Note that this list may change as new vaccines are developed. For example, HPV and zoster vaccines were once required, but no longer. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the latest, by looking at its Vaccination page.

Getting the Immigration Vaccinations Done

Part of the green card application process involves undergoing a medical exam. You will meet with a designated physician (not your own, regular doctor). If you are applying for your green card by adjusting status within the United States, you will choose from a list of local "civil surgeons," and yours will fill out USCIS Form I-693. If you are applying from overseas (doing consular processing), you will choose from a a list of "panel physicians" in your country.

In preparation for your immigration medical exam, you should gather your vaccination records and any test results from your doctor that determined that you are already immune to a particular disease. During the exam, the panel physician will review your record and decide which additional vaccinations you need, given your age and vaccination history.

The panel physician will give you any needed vaccinations at that time and you will be responsible for paying for the vaccinations. The exception is the COVID-19 vaccine, which because it's normally administered in a two-jab series, is best to get done before your immigration medical exam.

You might also want to read, What to Expect at the Green Card Medical Exam.

Exceptions to the Vaccination Requirements

There are a few exceptions to the green card vaccination requirements, as follows:

  • Adopted children age 10 years or younger who are applying for immediate relative visas need not have the vaccinations before arriving in the United States if their U.S. parents submit an affidavit stating that they will ensure that, within 30 days of the child's admission or at the earliest time that is medically appropriate, the child will receive the needed vaccinations.
  • If you are pregnant, you should advise the panel physician, who will evaluate the vaccines you can safely receive. If the doctor cannot safely administer a required vaccine, they will not do so, and will annotate the medical report by marking the vaccine as contraindicated (not recommended).
  • If you are opposed to vaccinations in any form, you can file a waiver request showing that your objection is based on religious beliefs or moral convictions, and that these beliefs are sincere. You will need to fill out a waiver form, most likely using either USCIS Form I-601, or if you're a refugee or asylee, USCIS Form I-602. Along with the form, you will need to attach documents in support of your claim (for example, proving membership in a particular religious group) and pay a fee. Keep in mind that you can't pick and choose vaccines to object to; this must be an across-the-board waiver request.

Do You Need an Immigration Attorney?

Your request for an exception or waiver to the vaccination requirements stands the greatest chance of success if you hire an experienced immigration lawyer to help you with it. The lawyer can evaluate your rights, fill out the required forms on your behalf, add cover letters and/or legal arguments, help you gather the necessary documents, and monitor your case to its conclusion.

Talk to an Immigration attorney.
We've helped 85 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you