The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently issued final rules governing entry for Americans traveling to Haiti. Currently, Haitian citizens remain ineligible for entry into the U.S. should they have been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), or polio. The final rules extend eligibility for Americans traveling to Haiti to include people who were vaccinated for these diseases, but have not received an oral varicella or tetanus booster. Officials also allowed entry for some Americans who received their vaccination from Haitian immunization programs.
Previously, U.S. Customs and Border Protection had allowed entry into the U.S. for individuals who had received both tetanus and polio vaccine before their trip to Haiti. They also allowed entry for individuals who had received an oral varicella vaccine, but had not received an oral tetanus vaccine. The inclusion of the varicella shot and the optional oral vaccine during the single travel application increases the number of covered Americans. These new policies do not require an additional health-based questionnaire during immigration screening. Under these rules, for example, those with U.S. immunization records are no longer required to undergo a health screening at the airport upon arrival, or provide a health certificate from an approved medical care provider.
Each U.S. state and the District of Columbia have other immigration enforcement and health policy frameworks for Haitians. In addition to the CDC’s implementation of the new guidelines, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Immigration Services Division also issued final rules last week allowing Haitians seeking a replacement work permit, or status as a refugee, to enter the U.S. for 30 days.