By George Lake
Everyone who applies for Legal Permanent Resident Status (also known as a Green Card) in the
United States must have received the CDC mandated vaccines or have received an exemption to the
vaccine requirement. Not having the required vaccines will make the applicant inadmissible. They
will not receive their Green Card and not be allowed to immigrate to the United States. This can
potentially separate families and loved ones, simply due to the moral beliefs against being vaccinated.
Since October 1st, 2021, all Green Card applicants have also been required to be vaccinated against
COVID-19. As well as the COVID vaccine, all applicants are required to have had the following
– Tetanus and diphtheria
– Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis B
– Meningococcal disease
– Pneumococcal disease
– Seasonal influenza
The only medical reason which can be given not to take a vaccine is ‘medical contraindication’. This
means the applicant is allergic to at least one ingredient of the vaccine. Unfortunately, if there is a
vaccine available from many different producers, an applicant would have to show that they are
allergic to ingredients in each of the different vaccines available to be able to avoid vaccination and
still receive their Green Card.
1st Amendment Rights
Luckily, the First Amendment protects our rights to free speech and religion. This protection also
applies to those applying for a Green Card who do not want to take the vaccines mandated by the
The immigration services have developed a three-prong test to determine whether the First
Amendment applies to applicants who wish to be exempt from being vaccinated:
- The applicant must be opposed to all vaccination in any form
- The applicant’s objections must be based on religious beliefs or moral convictions
- The applicant’s beliefs must be sincere.
How do I get a vaccine exemption?
Applicants for Green Cards who wish to avoid being vaccinated have to go through an exemption process. This involves filing a government form (Form I-601), submitting a sworn statement describing their belief against vaccines and paying a fee to the government.
These applications can be quite complicated as the applicant will need to articulate their beliefs within a framework the US immigration services can approve.
Common issues I see when talking with potential clients is that many people highlight their ‘scientific’ beliefs against vaccines. This includes mentioning side effects of vaccines, vaccine efficacy or only being against one particular vaccine. While it is perfectly fine to hold these beliefs, mentioning them in your vaccine exemption application will likely see the application denied. This is because the exemption process, being based in the 1st Amendment, only protects religious or moral beliefs and the US government will always say their scientists know better than an applicant when it comes to scientific beliefs.
I always advise clients to highlight their moral beliefs and downplay any scientific beliefs they hold. Not because their scientific beliefs are invalid but because it is the tactic which needs to be used to successfully achieve the vaccine exemption, obtain the Green Card and ultimately get to be with their loved ones in the United States.
I have been helping families and individuals avoid the vaccine requirements since 2018. My first clients were from communities in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands who had moral beliefs against vaccines. When the COVID-19 regulations started to be put in place I decided to help people in other communities and since that time I have assisted hundreds of people, from every continent with all kinds of different beliefs against vaccines. It has been a privilege to help all these people, particularly when other attorneys have turned down their case or worse – told them to ‘just take the jab’. If you are applying for a Green Card and you disagree with vaccines, don’t just ‘take the jab’. Assert your Constitutional rights and apply for an exemption.
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