Immunizations - Immigration Exams

Immunizations in the traditions of the U.S.

Immunization is vital to the health and survival of our nation. This concept has been recognized throughout American history. Health may have been one of the things Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he drafted the phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for the Declaration of Independence. Both Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were scientists and innovators, and both were strong supporters of smallpox vaccination, the only form of vaccination known to Americans at that time.

As with all of our laws, federal and state immunization laws are consistent with a basic tenet of American citizenship: The privileges of democracy, including individual freedoms, must be enjoyed in ways that do not interfere with or create risks for others. Immunization provides protection not only to the person immunized, but for many diseases, also to the people with whom the immunized person comes in contact. Immunization laws sometimes are changed as we gain new methods or understanding of disease control or new circumstances arise, but the basic truth about the responsibilities of citizenship does not change.

Immigration Immunization Law

Under new immigration laws passed in 1996 and in effect as of July 1, 1997, all individuals seeking permanent entry into the U.S. must prove that they have been inoculated against all vaccine-preventable diseases. This includes infants and children being brought into the country for international adoption.

United States immigration law requires immigrant visa applicants to obtain certain vaccinations (listed below) prior to the issuance of an immigrant visa. Panel physicians who conduct medical examinations of immigrant visa applicants are required to verify that immigrant visa applicants have met the vaccination requirements, or that it is medically inappropriate for the visa applicant to receive one or more of the listed vaccinations:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Influenza type b (Hib)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal
  • Mumps
  • Pneumococcal
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
  • Varicella

In order to assist the panel physican, and to avoid delays in the processing of an immigrant visa, all immigrant visa applicants should have their vaccination records available for the panel physician’s review at the time of the immigrant medical examination. Visa applicants should consult with their regular health care provider to obtain a copy of their immunization record, if one is available. If you do not have a vaccination record, Doctor Cruz will work with you to determine which vaccinations you may need to meet the requirement. Certain waivers of the vaccination requirement are available upon the recommendation of the panel physician.

Doctor Cruz can determine which of the listed vaccinations are medically appropriate for you, given your age, medical history and current medical condition.