Hello, my name is Judith. Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions. I have 34 years experience as a licensed immigration
Are they doing adjustment of status or consular processing? Entering as a K1/2 or K3
/4 or CR1 after marriage?
HHS vaccine final rule
• Section 212(g)(2)(C) of the Act which authorizes the granting of a waiver for individuals who establish that compliance with the vaccination requirements would be contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
(C) Individual Waivers under Section 212(g)(2)(C) of the Act Based on Religious Beliefs or Moral Objections . Section 212(g)(2)(C) of the Act authorizes USCIS to grant a waiver of inadmissibility when the applicant establishes that compliance with the vaccination requirements would be contrary to his or her religious beliefs or moral convictions. (Continue accepting Form I-601 for this purpose, pending approval of the revised forms.) The plain statutory language refers to the alien's "religious beliefs or moral convictions" whereas the language in the accompanying Conference Report is more restrictive and refers to "an active member of a religious faith . . . ." USCIS has taken particular caution to avoid any perceived infringement on personal beliefs and First Amendment rights to free speech and religion. To this end, USCIS has reviewed court decisions on conscientious objection to the military draft, and challenges to State-mandated vaccinations for public school students, and has established the following three requirements:
• The applicant must be opposed to vaccinations in any form . The fact that the applicant has received certain vaccinations but not others is not automatic grounds for denial, depending on the reasons provided for having received them. For example, the applicant's religious or moral beliefs have changed substantially since the date the particular vaccinations were administered, or the applicant is a child who may have already received certain vaccinations under the routine practices of an orphanage. These examples do not limit your authority to consider all credible circumstances and accompanying evidence.
• The objection must be based on religious beliefs or moral convictions . This second requirement should be handled with sensitivity. On the one hand, case law notes that the individual's religious beliefs must be balanced against the benefit of society as a whole. On the other hand, these same cases also note the importance of being mindful that vaccinations offend certain individuals' religious beliefs.
Note 1: It is not necessary for the applicant to be a member of a recognized or mainstream religion. It is not necessary for the applicant to be a member of a specific religion or attend a specific house of worship. By imposing such a requirement, the Government could potentially be perceived as putting a "stamp of approval" on some religions or religious beliefs but not others. Note also that the plain language of the statute refers to religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Note 2: It is necessary to distinguish between strong religious/moral objections and mere preference. The analysis of exactly what constitutes a religious or moral objection, as found in cases involving challenges to State-mandated vaccinations for public school students, reveals that a touchstone of a religion is present where a believer will categorically disregard elementary self-interest rather than transgress religious tenets. Consequently, the applicant has the burden of establishing a strong objection to va ccinations that is based on religious or moral beliefs, as opposed to a mere preference against vaccinations. By means of a sworn statement, the applicant should state exactly what those religious beliefs or moral objections are and establish how such beliefs would be violated or compromised by complying with the vaccination requirements.
• The religious or moral beliefs must be sincere . To protect only those beliefs that are held as a matter of conscience, sincerity analysis seeks to determine the subjective good faith of an adherent. Even if these beliefs accurately reflect the applicant's ultimate conclusions about vaccinations, they must stem from religious/moral convictions, and must not have been framed in terms of a particular belief so as to gain the legal remedy desired, i.e. , a waiver under section 212(g)(2)(C) of the Act. While an individual may ascribe his or her opposition to vaccinations to a particular religious belief or moral conviction that is inherently opposed to vaccinations, the question then turns to whether that claimed belief or moral conviction is truly held, i.e. , whether it is applied consistently. This may be established through the sworn statement submitted by the applicant. Additional corroborating evidence, if available and credible, may also be considered.
(4) Waiver notations .
(A) Immigrant visa
applicants . If the applicant is otherwise admissible, the consular officer will stamp the waiver field in the upper right-hand corner of the immigrant visa, Form OF 155A, with the notation "212(g)(2)(A), (B), or (C)," as applicable. Note that the Attorney General has delegated to the Department of State the authority to grant waivers under section 212(g)(2)(A) and (B) of the Act, based on the panel physician's certification on the vaccination supplement to Form OF 157.