Under the US immigration laws, a foreign national who applies for an immigrant visa abroad, or who seeks to adjust status as a permanent resident while in the United States, is required to receive vaccinations to prevent the following diseases:
- Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids
- Influenza Type B
- Hepatitis B
- Any other vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices
The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) is an advisory committee to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommends immunizations for the general U.S. population. Starting Dec.14, 2009, when the ACIP recommends new vaccines for the general U.S. population, CDC will assess whether these vaccines should be required for immigration purposes on a regular and on an as-needed basis according to specific criteria set by CDC.
CDC is responsible for publishing the Technical Instructions for the Medical Examination of Aliens in the United States. These documents set the requirements for the immigrant medical examination and are binding on civil surgeons. The Technical Instructions include a vaccination component, specifying how the civil surgeon has to conduct the vaccination assessment. The civil surgeon records the results of the medical examination, including the results of the vaccination assessment, on USCIS Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.
If a foreign national applies for an immigrant visa abroad, that individual has to receive the medical examination by a panel physician designated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS). CDC issues separate instructions to panel physicians designated by DOS to conduct medical examinations abroad.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ):
USCIS has provided answers to some of the FAQ at the below given link. These FAQ provide basic information about the general vaccination requirements for immigrants (including individuals seeking adjustment of status), and specifically about the assessment made by the civil surgeon to determine whether an applicant meets the vaccination requirements. These Questions and Answers do not address the vaccination assessments conducted by panel physicians overseas.
For refugees only, health departments may be considered a civil surgeon for purposes of completing the vaccination record.