Vaccinations & Immunizations Required for F1-Visa Students Going to USA

Yocket Editorial Team

Updated on Oct 11, 2021


Before you start your course in the United States, you need to get vaccinated. Yes, vaccinated. The thing you got done as a child. These vaccinations are mandatory for anyone wanting to attend on-campus courses at US universities and with the recent pandemic hitting the globe, the requirements have also been updated.

In this article, we will provide you with the updated information on the vaccination for students going to the US. So, make sure you read on right till the end.

Why do I need to get vaccinated for the Universities in the USA?

We will delve right into the student or F1 visa vaccination requirements, but first let's discuss a little about why these vaccinations are important.

Vaccinations are compulsory according to U.S. Visa and Immigration rules. In accordance with these rules, any immigrant visa applicant must obtain certain vaccinations before issuance of the immigrant visa. So you need to get vaccinated because it’s the law!

These vaccines have been made mandatory so as to protect the US population from any potential health risks and reduce the risk of carrier infection.

According to CDC, for people coming to USA, vaccinations are made mandatory for at least one of the following:

  • Vaccine that protects against a disease that has the potential to cause an outbreak; or

  • Vaccine that protects against a disease eliminated in the United States, or is in the process of being eliminated.

New & Updated List of Vaccination for Students going to USA

All the students coming from outside of the US to universities and colleges need to get vaccinated as part of the F1 visa vaccination requirements. The universities also post international student vaccine USA requirements on their respective websites.

These requirements are mandatory for anyone wishing to attend physical classes at the campus. This includes full-time and part-time students, undergraduates, graduate & doctoral students, and residential & non-residential students.

There is a list of diseases that you need to get vaccinated for. The vaccination requirements for US F1 visa or student visa require the following:

  • Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B

  • Influenza

  • Influenza type b (Hib)

  • Measles

  • Meningococcal

  • Mumps

  • Pneumococcal

  • Pertussis

  • Polio

  • Rotavirus

  • Rubella

  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids

  • Varicella

  • COVID-19

In case you do not have the details of the vaccines that you took in your childhood, then you can take a titre test to prove that you are immune to the disease.

You may also need to sign a waiver stating that university doctors are allowed to treat you in case you need medical help while you study there.

Now, some of these vaccinations were given to you at birth as well. You need to present records of this (ask your parents or legal guardians) to your physician so that he/she can sign the form and verify that you have been given these vaccinations and mention the dates on the health form as well.

Accepted Covid-19 Vaccines in US Universities

While F1 visa vaccination requirements have always been the norm, the COVID -19 pandemic has led to some updates in this vaccination policy.

Many universities across the US have informed all students, regardless of the number of credits, to be fully or partially vaccinated with an FDA-authorized or WHO-listed COVID-19 vaccine.

Accepted COVID Vaccines for US Universities

As of now only 8 COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the WHO and hence are accepted by US universities. These include:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech

  • Three versions of the AstraZeneca vaccine that includes Covishield

  • Johnson & Johnson

  • Moderna

  • Sinopharm

  • Sinovac

Accepted COVID Vaccines for Indian Students for US Universities

For Indian students visiting the US, the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield (Also called Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine) is the only WHO-approved vaccine. Therefore, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will not be accepted in foreign universities.

The requirements of COVID-19 vaccination are very university specific. The university may ask students one of the following before they arrive to the respective campus:

Option 1: Get fully vaccinated

Full vaccination is considered if 2 weeks have passed after their second dose in a 2-dose vaccination series (CovidShield, Pfizer or Moderna vaccines), or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). Universities including Brown, Cornell, Coulmbia, Northeast require students to be vaccinated by COVID.

Option 2: Get at least partially vaccinated

2 weeks should have passed after one dose of the 2-dose vaccination series. Western University and Trent University have communicated that students joining their campus need to be vaccinated with at least the first dose of vaccine

Option 3: No Vaccination Required

In this case, the university has not made COVID vaccination mandatory. In such cases, the University might require the students to get vaccinated once they reach the US.

All students are required to upload the proof of their vaccination status to the respective university.

Also, an important thing to remember here is that despite your vaccination status, international students may be asked to quarantine or be asked to get revaccinated in case their vaccine is not FDA approved. So, you make sure you completely understand your University requirement regarding the COVID vaccine.

Checking with the University is also important because some universities including American University at Washington state that:

“Students who have not submitted proof that they are fully or partially vaccinated and who do not have an approved medical or religious exemption will be dropped from all courses, placed on immediate leave of absence, prohibited from entering campus buildings or facilities, and will receive a tuition refund for this semester.”

Now that we are aware of the vaccination for students going to USA, let us understand how it is to be done.

How do I Get Vaccinated- The Complete Steps to follow to Study in the US

Here’s a step wise procedure to get yourself vaccinated

Step 1: Get Your University’s Health Form

The first thing you need is access to the immunization form for US universities. In case you already have an admit from the University, you will also be sent the University’s Health Form or Health Report.

Alternatively, you can also visit the Student Health Portal of the University of your choice. The information about the vaccination and health requirements are given on the university's website.

Step 2: Understand the required vaccinations and health requirements

Study carefully and make a note of the requirements of your university. Reach out to your physician or any registered doctor as you would need a professional to fill up all the details.

Step 3: Visit a doctor

Visit your physician and ask them about the vaccines. Show him/her the health form. You need to get this form filled by the doctor. They will guide you with what to do ahead.

You can also ask your university representative to help you with any queries. Even your counselor, if you have one, should be able to help you with all the information you need. In certain cases you will need to get vaccinated while in some cases all you need to do is get a titre test report to prove that you are immune to the disease. Again, this differs from person to person, based on your medical history.

Step 4: Submit the Completed form

As students, you will be given a deadline before which you need to submit the form. You should submit it by then so as to not delay your registration process.

This form needs to be submitted to the Office of Global Admissions or the Office of International Students, or whichever is specified for your university.

Additionally, you should note that there might be some vaccinations, like the Hepatitis B vaccine, which need to be taken over the course of a number of months. In case you do miss one dose due to the start date of your course, you can speak to your university rep and ask them if you can go to the U.S. and get the vaccine. However, the vaccines in the US are much more expensive.

Vaccinations and immunizations are an essential requirement for any student wanting to study in the US. Therefore, make sure to contact your respective university to learn about their specific international student vaccine USA requirements.

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