CDC proposes changes to health-related immigration regulations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to "amend its regulations governing medical examinations that [foreign nationals] must undergo before they may be admitted to the United States." Medical Examination of Aliens-Revisions to Medical Screening Process, 80 FR 35899-01.

According to the release, HHS/CDC proposes to:

  • Revise the definition of communicable disease of public health significance
  • Update the notification of the health-related grounds of inadmissibility
  • Revise the definitions and evaluation criteria for mental disorders, drug abuse and drug addiction
  • Clarify and revise the evaluation requirements for tuberculosis
  • Clarify and revise the process for the HHS/CDC-appointed medical review board that convenes to reexamine the determination of a Class A medical condition based on an appeal
  • Update the titles and designations of federal agencies within the text of the regulation.

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 212(a)(1) [8 USCA § 1182(a)(1)] provides that "any alien who is determined ... to have a communicable disease of public health significance ... who seeks admission as an immigrant, or who seeks adjustment of status to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and who has failed to present documentation of having received vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases ... is inadmissible."

Vaccine-preventable diseases include mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B, and hepatitis B, and "any other vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices." 8 USCA § 1182(a)(1). The list of the ACIP vaccine recommendations for the U.S. general public can be found here.

The definition of a "communicable disease of public health significance" will be revised to remove chancroid, granuloma inguinale and lymphogranuloma venereum. Remaining on the list are gonorrhea, infectious Hansen's disease (leprosy), infectious syphilis and active tuberculosis.

Also revised are the definitions and evaluation criteria for mental disorders, drug abuse and drug addiction.

Speak to a North Carolina immigration attorney

Immigration regulations and rules are complex. If you have questions about the medical requirements to obtain a visa or an adjustment of status, then speak with an immigration lawyer. Contact The Quinn Law Firm today to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.