Anyone applying to be a permanent US resident will have to be full vaccinated against COVID-19 by October

Written by on September 3, 2021

Anyone applying to be a permanent US resident will have to be full vaccinated against COVID-19 by October

By Anthony Orozco / WITF

September 6, 2021

Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

Next month, anyone applying to be a permanent U.S resident, known as green card holders, will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Listen to the story.

The change highlights different standards for citizens and those who want to be a part of this country. 

U.S. citizens can largely choose whether to get the vaccine. John Patrick Murphy, an immigration attorney and the founder of the Allegheny Immigration Group in Pittsburgh, said the vaccine requirement is yet another hoop for immigrants to jump through to earn their green card. 

“Americans running around the United States don’t have to be vaccinated against tuberculosis, but aliens seeking admission do,” Murphy said. 

Murphy said the change is another standard immigrants must meet to prove they are not going to harm the country. 

“We’ve already got our own unvaccinated people we don’t need to be adding any more, would be the thinking. In much the same way, someone wants to be admitted and has a criminal record can’t be because we already have our own criminals in this country. I’m not suggesting someone who’s unvaccinated is a criminal or anything of that sort. I’m just making a comparison,” Murphy said.

Green card applicants are already required to be vaccinated against diseases such as mumps, measles and polio.

Applicants will provide proof of vaccination to what is called a civil surgeon, a medical professional who screens immigrants for disease, disability and addiction. 

Vaccinations are out-of-pocket expenses for applicants, so Murphy encourages them to go to their county or local health network’s free COVID-19 vaccination programs.

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