US Immigration News

President Biden Temporarily Suspends Nonimmigrant Travel Between US and India

4 minute read
"Given the ongoing second wave of the Covid-19 virus in East India, President Biden has decided to temporarily suspend entry of nonimmigrants from India to the US by issuing a Regional Covid-19 related Presidential Proclamation. This means that any nonimmigrant who has physically been in East India in the last 14-days before their entry into the United States will not be allowed to enter. Flights to and from India will still be functional, however, those not exempt from these restrictions will not be allowed to enter. "
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 25, 2021
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Given the ongoing second wave of the Covid-19 virus in East India, President Biden has decided to temporarily suspend entry of nonimmigrants from India to the US by issuing a Regional Covid-19 related Presidential Proclamation. This means that any nonimmigrant who has physically been in East India in the last 14-days before their entry into the United States will not be allowed to enter. Flights to and from India will still be functional, however, those not exempt from these restrictions will not be allowed to enter. 

When Will the Travel Restrictions Between East India and the US Begin?

The new travel restrictions will be imposed beginning May 4, 2021. There is no definite expiration date for this temporary restriction, however, it is expected that it will be removed once the Covid-19 infection rate declines significantly in East India. 

Who Is Exempt from the Travel Restrictions Imposed Between East India and the US?

The following nonimmigrants will be exempt from the current travel restrictions between East India and the US, provided they still present a negative Covid-19 result on arrival:

  • Lawful permanent residents or Green Card (US Permanent Resident Card) holders
  • Noncitizen nationals of the US
  • Foreign spouses of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • The foreign parent or legal guardian of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident provided they are unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Foreign sibling of a US citizen or permanent resident, provided they are both unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Any foreign national who is a child, foster child or ward or a prospective adoptee seeking to enter on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa of a US citizen or permanent resident 
  • Any noncitizen traveling to the US as a part of a sea or aircrew on a C-1, D or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa
  • Any foreign national traveling to the US on 1 of the following visas:
  • A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (a representative of a foreign government or their immediate relative)
  • E-1 (employee of TECRO or TECO or their immediate family member)
  • G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 or any NATO categories
  • Travel falls under the scope of Section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement
  • Foreign national who is a member of the US Armed Forces or their immediate relative
  • Any foreign national whose entry would be important to the US law enforcement objectives as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security or their respective designees and a recommendation from the Attorney General or his designee
  • Any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security or their respective designees

What Will Be the Effect of This Travel Restriction Between East India and the US?

This travel restriction was imposed to limit travelers coming directly from East India as the Covid-19 infection rates have increased dramatically in the last month. However, this restriction will only affect nonimmigrant visa holders (visitor visas, student visas, K-1 fiancé(e) Visa, or nonimmigrant work visas).

While US embassies and consulates had to reduce their operations due to the ongoing pandemic, the safety of US citizens remains the top priority of the government. This restriction will not completely ban any or all travelers from East India. Foreign nationals with emergencies can request expedited processing of their visa or apply for a National Interest Exception if they meet the requirements despite the restrictions. 


What Are the National Interest Exceptions?

There are 2 ways to get an expedited visa interview appointment despite the current scaledown of consular operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first option is called the National Interest Exceptions (NIE). This gives entry to applicants who can demonstrate that their arrival in the US is necessary for the national interest. You will be eligible for an NIE if:

  • You are traveling to the US as a healthcare professional or researched tasked with the research of alleviating the effects of the Covid-19 virus or another research with great benefit to public health or
  • You are traveling to the US to provide care to a US citizen, including lessening the burden of care from a medical provider or an institution and to avoid the US citizen from becoming a public charge or ward of the state or the medical institution or
  • You are traveling to the US to join an active military member petitioner

NIEs are also available to travelers seeking to help critical infrastructure, journalists, F-1 and M-1 visa holders (international students) and certain academics covered by an exchange visitor program.

How Can Travelers from East India Still Come to the US?

Since this travel restriction implies only to those travelers who have been physically present in East India in the last 14 days before their entry into the US, travelers can still go to a third country and spend at least 2 weeks before entering the US. This way your entry will not be impacted. This proclamation was only to limit direct nonimmigrant travelers from East India.

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