The United States has announced restrictions on travel from India, thus joining the increasing list of countries (UK, Canada, Australia, UAE, etc.) that started to draw the line on travel to and from India in light of the alarming rise in per-day infections and circulation of deadly variants of SARS-CoV-2 in India. The US travel restrictions on India will take effect on 4 May from 12.01 am EDT, i.e., 9.30 am IST.
President Joe Biden has issued the Proclamation on Friday prohibiting the entry of non-residents who have been to India in the past 14 days. This travel ban is introduced on the advice of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that ‘reviewed the public health situation’ in India, the press release from the White House stated.
The US has put India on Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level issued by the Department of State. It asked US citizens ‘not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so’.
However, the US travel restrictions on India come with exemptions too. Firstly, this ban does not apply to those who have boarded international flights to US that departed prior to the given cut-off time. The travel suspension doesn’t also apply to permanent residents of the US, non-citizen nationals of the United States, non-citizens married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and a non-citizen who is a parent or legal guardian or sibling of an unmarried U.S. citizen/ lawful permanent resident under the age of 21.
Certain categories of students, academics, journalists and other individuals have also been exempted from the US travel restrictions on India. Students qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa or who have already procured valid F-1 and M-1 visas to begin or continue their academic program in August (or later) may enter the US, not earlier than 30 days before their academic calendar begins. Academics, journalists and individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in countries affected by a geographic COVID-19 restriction and travelers seeking to enter the US for purposes related to public health response, humanitarian travel, and national security may qualify for a National Interest Exception.
Let us also look at the other exempted categories for which the US travel restrictions on India are not applicable.
- Any non-citizen traveling at the invitation of the US Government for purposes related to containment or mitigation of the virus.
- Any non-citizen who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or who is a spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Any non-citizen whose entry would be in the national interest.
- Any non-citizen whose entry would further important US law enforcement objectives.
It must be noted that this proclamation released on 30 April remains in effect until terminated by the President and will be reviewed every 30 days until termination. Watch this space for regular updates!