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Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that the new rule means those applying for permanent residency in the United States must be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — In yet another effort to prompt more vaccinations by the Biden administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Tuesday that anyone applying for U.S. residency must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

The requirements take effect on Oct. 1, and proof of vaccinations must be presented before a civil surgeon can complete the required immigration medical examination, the agency announced.

“We are updating our policy guidance in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aug. 17, 2021 update to the Technical Instructions for Civil Surgeons. That update requires applicants subject to the immigration medical examination to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) and provide documentation of vaccination to the civil surgeon before completion of the immigration medical examination,” USCIS said in a statement Tuesday.

Anyone who applies for permanent U.S. residency must undergo an immigration medical examination to show they are free from any conditions that would prevent them from gaining citizenship “under the health-related grounds.” According to the new agency rules, physicians may not sign off on the I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, unless the applicant has had coronavirus vaccines.

Exemptions to this new rule include:

  • Minors not eligible for coronavirus vaccines.
  • Those with contradicting medical conditions.
  • Contradicting religious beliefs.
  • Limited supply of vaccines in region where applicant lives.