All permanent US visa applicants must be vaccinated for COVID-19
Full vaccination requirementfor permanent United Statesvisa applicants takes effect onOctober 1, 2021.

Q. What does it mean when the National Visa Center (NVC) sends a letter to me stating I am “documentarily qualified”?

A: Once your immigrant visa case becomes current, NVC will request the necessary documents to continue the processing of your immigrant visa. Upon submission of all the required documents, NVC sends a letter confirming you are “documentarily qualified”. That means you are in line for the next available interview appointment. It does not mean, however, that you will be immediately scheduled for an interview.

Q. When will my visa appointment be scheduled?

A: While in the past it used to take several weeks between becoming “documentarily qualified” and receiving a visa interview appointment, the pandemic has dramatically restricted the number of appointments the embassy can offer. As a result, applicants may have to wait more than a year to receive an interview appointment due to a large backlog of cases.

We understand how frustrating this can be for our applicants and their families, but the backlogs are a global phenomenon affecting embassies throughout the world. Beginning in October, we will offer limited availability to the NVC for appointment scheduling. We urge you to check our Preparing for your IV Interview video prior to the date of your interview. Following the instructions contained in the video can significantly reduce visa processing times to ensure you receive your visa sooner, rather than later. You can also watch our Consular Conversations regarding IV documents required on your day of interview for additional information.

Q: I heard there is a new CDC requirement for immigrant visa applicants when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Could you provide more information on this?

A: Effective October 1, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all age-appropriate applicants for US immigrant visas worldwide to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the panel physician examination that is a prerequisite for immigrant visa consideration. Applicants will need to complete the full series of the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of whether they have had COVID-19. However, applicants do not need to wait the two weeks for full vaccine efficacy prior to their medical exams. As long as applicants have completed the full series of COVID-19 vaccine shots, then they can proceed with their medical exam. Applicants will have to provide documentation of their vaccination to the panel physician.

While the requirement does not come into effect until October 1, 2021, we strongly recommend all immigrant visa applicants obtain the full COVID-19 vaccine series as soon as possible to avoid any possible delay in the processing of their visa applications. The US Embassy's panel physician provider, Andrews Memorial Hospital, can provide more information. The Ministry of Health offers information on vaccination sites at the following online address: vaccination.moh.gov.jm/.

Applicants who started their panel physician exams prior to October 1, 2021 are not required to have the COVID-19 vaccine, even if their visa appointment, visa issuance, or travel takes place after October 1.

The new CDC requirement is worldwide and is designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is consistent with current CDC requirements for vaccinations for other diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and influenza.

For all other inquiries about the immigrant visa application process, please visit usvisa-info.com. You may also contact the call center from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Mondays through Fridays at (876) 656-8535, (876) 630-2040, or (703) 988-7005 if you are calling from the United States.

The latest information on our operating status can be found on our website at www.jm.usembassy.gov or by visiting www.travel.state.gov. Keep on top of embassy news on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/USEmbassyJamaica/and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general consular questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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