US Immigration News

Is Vaccine Tourism Legal in the US and Which States Are Allowing Noncitizens to Get Vaccinated?

2.75 minute read
"The US is leading the world in the vaccination drive to control the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the leading country in the world for producing and distributing the maximum number of vaccines to its adult population. With this, the US has become the number one choice for many outside the country who desperately want to get these vaccines. This has led to a new term, known as, “Vaccine Tourism”. "
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 26, 2021
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The US is leading the world in the vaccination drive to control the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the leading country in the world for producing and distributing the maximum number of vaccines to its adult population. With this, the US has become the number one choice for many outside the country who desperately want to get these vaccines. This has led to a new term, known as, “Vaccine Tourism”. 

Everyone is familiar with Medical Tourism, it is when Americans travel to countries with cheaper healthcare to receive medical procedures like dental work, IVF, breast implants, etc. Vaccine tourism is quite the opposite, it is when non-Americans are traveling to the US on Visitor Visas to get vaccinated. 

Similar to other countries, the US is prioritizing vaccine distribution to elderly citizens and frontline workers. However, vaccine tourism is driving many noncitizens to cross countries or state lines to jump the line and receive the vaccination.

Is This Vaccine Tourism Legal in the US?

This is often the first thing that comes to mind- Is this legal for noncitizens to visit the US or cross state lines to get the vaccine? The correct answer is there are no US guidelines preventing vaccine tourism. However, there is also no guideline ensuring that noncitizens will get the vaccine. 

You may go to the US for the vaccine and you might not get the vaccine. While countries like the UK have a proper protocol in place to prevent vaccine tourism which includes getting your vaccine from the doctor and confirming all personal details including your address and nationality, things are loosely monitored in the US. Every state has its guidelines for vaccine distribution and vaccine tourism is happening all over the country.

Which States Are Giving Vaccines to Noncitizens or Visitors to the US?

US states have their policies for vaccine distribution. The following states are allowing noncitizens/visitors to get the Covid-19 vaccine:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Certain states have residency requirements, but also include people who work or attend school in the state. These include the following:

  • Alaska: open to people working in the state, proof of employment required
  • Arkansas: open to people working in the state
  • Connecticut: open to people who don’t live in the state, but are working in the state, proof required
  • Delaware: open to people working in the state but living outside of the state, proof required
  • Florida: open to people who provide goods or services in the state, proof required
  • Georgia: open to people who live in the state part-time and work in the state, proof required
  • Hawaii: includes part-time residents and “snowbirds”
  • Illinois: includes part-time residents
  • Indiana: open to people who work in the state, proof required
  • Kentucky: Exceptions for out-of-state nurses working in the state
  • Maine: open to people working in the state
  • Massachusetts: open to people working in the state
  • Mississippi: open to residents and people who live outside the state but working in the state
  • New Jersey: open to people working or studying in the state
  • Oregon: open to people working or attending school in the state
  • Rhode Island: Open to people who work or attend school in the state
  • Vermont: Open to people working in the state
  • Washington: Open to people working in the state
  • West Virginia: Open to people working in the state
  • Wisconsin: Open to people working or studying in the state

The remaining states require you to be physically residing in the state to be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. These states include:

  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
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