Health Requirements FAQ

UPDATE: Completing your requirements for Fall 2020

Students taking in-person classes this fall:

  • You must complete your immunization requirements during the fall semester if you were not able to do so before coming to campus (EXCEPTION: the TB deadline has been extended to spring 2021). We are not accessing a penalty for those who missed the requirements deadline. 
  • ITHACA STUDENTS: We are no longer able to provide immunizations at Cornell Health due to a recent reallocation of staff and resources toward COVID-19 testing and care. Instead, you will be required to receive your outstanding immunizations through a community provider. 
  • Please contact our Requirements Office at or 607-255-4364 for guidance about what requirements you still need to complete, and how to receive outstanding immunizations. 

Students participating in distance learning this fall: 

  • If you are away from campus this fall and engaged in distance learning, you are strongly encouraged – but not required – to upload any immunization documents you have now. 
  • The deadline to complete all immunization requirements before spring 2021 in-person study begins is December 20, 2020.

Frequently asked questions

Where can I find my Health Requirement forms?

The forms you must complete are provided through myCornellHealth, our secure patient portal. Log in with your Cornell NetID (please allow two working days after you activate your NetID for Cornell Health to receive your information from the Registrar), then go to “Medical Clearances.” 

Detailed instructions about completing your requirements forms can be found on these pages:  

How should I submit my Health Requirement forms?

Forms should be submitted through myCornellHealth in "Medical Clearances." Specific instructions are provided with each form. 

How can I confirm my immunization compliance status?

When you have met your immunization requirements, we will update your status on your New Student To Do List (due to high volume, the review of all of your documents may take 3-4 weeks for students starting in the fall, an up to 2 weeks for students starting in the spring). 

Additionally, please note:

  • When you submit a form through myCornellHealth, the status for that item may change to "Compliant." This does not mean that your information has been reviewed and approved by Cornell Health staff. 
  • The Medical Clearances menu option in myCornellHealth may continue to say "Not Satisfied" after you've submitted all of your forms and documentation. This prompt can be ignored; it will continue to appear as long as any non-required items remain on your list. 
  • The To Do list indicates immunization compliance only. You may have additional forms you must submit as well (if you are missing any, we will email you; see below). 

If your materials are found not to be in compliance, we will send an email to your Cornell address directing you to log in to myCornellHealth to retrieve a secure message about what’s is missing from your information and/or documentation.

What do I do if I receive a message from Cornell Health telling me my health information does not meet Cornell's requirements?

Read the message carefully. It will instruct you what to do next.

If the problem is with immunizations and/or TB screening tests, please go to Addressing Compliance Problems for assistance.

Can I print copies of my forms?

Unfortunately, our health forms system does not provide an option for printing electronic forms. The only way to "copy" those forms is to take screen shots as you go. (We regret the inconvenience, and are working with our vendor to remedy this problem in the future.) 

You may, however, make copies of any of the forms that are accessed by pdf. We encourage you to keep copies of the Physical Examination Form and any official health records you submit to Cornell Health.

I am not going to make the deadline to submit my information. Is this a problem?

We ask that you submit all of your forms and required documentation as close to the submission deadline as possible. If that is not possible, please submit them as soon you can. This gives us a chance to review your information and let you know what's missing before you come to Cornell. Due to high volume, this may take 3-4 weeks for students starting in the fall, and up to 2 weeks for students starting in the spring.

If you arrive on campus without having met your requirements, a temporary hold will be placed on your registration status. If you do not meet your requirements as soon as you get to campus, you will be charged a late fee, and ultimately be dis-enrolled from your program. 

See "What can I do if I'm unable to complete the new student health requirements prior to arriving at Cornell?" below.

I am a returning student. Do I need to complete New Student Health Requirements?

You likely still have some information you need to provide. Please go to the Medical Clearance list at myCornellHealth to complete any outstanding forms.

Do I have to have a physical exam?

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in Ithaca: 

  • A physical examination is required for all Intercollegiate/NCAA athletes. The Sports Clearance Form must be completed by a health care provider and submitted with the Physical Examination Form. 
  • A physical examination within the past 18 months is strongly recommended for all other students taking six of more credits. This will give you an opportunity to consult with your health care provider about immunizations, prescriptions, pre-existing conditions, and any health care concerns or needs you have.

Other students:

A physical examination is not required for Cornell Tech students, and students enrolled through Summer College and the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions.

What are the immunization and TB screening requirements?

Where can I get my immunization records?

Check for official immunization records at any school you have attended, or your health care provider's office. Military records also are accepted.

What if I don't have access to my immunization records?

If you do not have official immunization records, you should get immunized by your health care provider before coming to Cornell. If you are certain you have been immunized for measles, mumps and rubella, and/or Varicella but don't have documentation of the immunization or a physician-diagnosed illness, you should ask a clinician to do a protective antibody titer (blood test) to prove your immunity.

Be sure to get official documentation of any new immunizations / titers to submit to Cornell Health.

What can I do if I'm unable to complete the new student health requirements prior to arriving at Cornell?

We expect students to meet the university’s health requirements before arrival at Cornell. If you are not able to do so – or you are unable to provide official documentation – you must complete your requirements as soon as you get to campus to avoid a late fee and possible dis-enrollment from your program.

Students in Ithaca: 

You may receive all required vaccinations, as well as TB screening, at Cornell Health (charges may apply). 

As soon as you get to campus, call 607-255-4364 to consult with Cornell Health's Requirements staff so they can review your records and help you make a plan for getting required immunization / TB screening.

Cornell Tech students:

If you will be on the Ithaca campus before the start of your program, please see "Students in Ithaca," above.

Otherwise, please see instructions for Cornell Tech Students to find out how to meet your requirements in New York City.

Can I schedule my requirements-related immunizations online?

No, this type of appointment cannot be scheduled online. Please call the Requirements office at 607-255-4364 for assistance with scheduling your appointment. 

Is there a penalty for not meeting my requirements?

Students who arrive on campus without having met their health requirements will have a temporary hold placed on their registration status. These students can still register for, attend, and drop/add classes, but will not be able to use the Book Store, library, fitness centers, and some other campus facilities until they complete their requirements. Some students may also experience delays in receiving stipends.

If you meet with Requirements staff as soon as you get to campus (see "What can I do if I'm unable to complete the new student health requirements prior to arriving at Cornell?" above), the hold will be removed. 

Students who are found not to be in compliance with Cornell’s health requirements in a timely manner will be charged a nonrefundable $100 late fee, and then ultimately will be dis-enrolled from the university and charged $350 to re-enroll. Please see information specific to your student status for deadlines:

What should I do if my immunization records are not in English?

All health records you provide to Cornell Health must be in English. You and your health care provider may translate them. Please make sure your health care provider signs any translated records to authenticate the information.

What do I do if the names of immunizations in the United States are different than those in my home country?

Please send us your immunization records, and we will compare the immunizations you have received with immunizations given in the U.S.

If your immunizations do not meet Cornell's requirements, we will contact you by secure message to give you instructions. (You will receive an email at your Cornell email address to request that you log in to myCornellHealth to retrieve your message.)

Can I get my tuberculosis (TB) screening test in my home country?

  • Yes ... if you are able to get one of the tests Cornell requires: Quantiferon-TB Gold or T-SPOT blood test. Skin tests do not meet this requirement.
  • If your TB test result was positive, you also must submit a chest x-ray report (no films, please).
  • If you cannot get one of the required tests at home, you must get your test as soon as you arrive at Cornell.
  • See answer to the question above: "What can I do if I'm unable to complete the new student health requirements prior to arriving at Cornell?"

Does Cornell's Student Health Plan and / or Student Health Fee cover required immunizations?

How do I obtain or release information from my health record at Cornell Health?

Please visit our Health Records page for information.

Are exemptions from Cornell's immunization requirements ever granted?

Immunization requirements are in place to protect the health of the community. Therefore, very few exemptions are allowed by New York State Public Health Law.* At present, two exemptions may be pursued: a medical exemption and a religious exemption.

IMPORTANT: Should you choose either form of exemption (medical or religious), please note that in the event of an outbreak of measles, mumps, or rubella on the Cornell campus, New York State law will require you to leave campus (even if you live in a Cornell residence hall or apartment or have a Cornell Dining contract) until the Tompkins County/New York State Health Department has declared it safe for you to return. You will not be permitted to attend classes, laboratories, exams, or paid or volunteer positions; or to participate in any other campus activity. Your own assessment of the risk your presence on campus might pose to you or others will not factor in their decision.

To qualify for an exemption, you must submit one of the following:

  • Medical exemption: A medical exemption must be written by a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner and state that a valid contraindication to vaccination exists. The exemption must specify which immunizations are contraindicated and why, and how long the medical contraindication will last.
  • Religious exemption*: A religious exemption is a written and signed statement from the student that they object to immunization due to their religious beliefs (parent or guardian signature required of students less than 18 years of age). The statement must address all of the following elements: 
    • Explain in your own words why you are requesting this religious exemption. 
    • Describe the religious principles that guide your objection to immunization. 
    • Indicate whether you are opposed to all immunizations, and if not, the religious basis that prohibits particular immunizations.

        Prior religious exemption statements addressed to other institutions are not considered valid.
        *Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to immunization do not justify an exemption under New York State Public Health Law Section 2165.

  • Other exemption (for flu vaccination requirement only): Ithaca students with other concerns / extenuating circumstances may request an exemption from the Fall 2020 flu vaccination requirement that is part of the university's Behavioral Compact. For example, students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a Person of Color (BIPOC) may have personal concerns about fulfilling the Compact requirements based on historical injustices and current events, and may find this information helpful in considering an exemption. Learn more below about why Cornell is requiring flu vaccination for students.
    • To apply for a non-medical/religious exemption to the flu vaccination requirement, students should send us a secure message through our patient portal explaining why you believe you should receive an exemption from this requirement. Log in to myCornellHealth and select Messages & Pharmacy Services > New Message > Send a message or an attachment to Immunization Requirements.

Still have questions?

If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed in these FAQs, please contact our Requirements Office at or 607-255-4364. Note that during high-volume times, it may take staff members several days to respond.