The novel coronavirus has been wreaking havoc across the world, especially in India. The country has been witnessing a record-breaking number of over 4 lakh cases each day. To minimize the impact and control the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. President Biden signed an order on April 30, 2021, restricting the entry of travellers from India.
Let’s have a clear look into the travel ban, its restrictions and its reasons.
Why was the restriction signed?
According to the statement signed by President Biden, the travel ban was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based on the growing COVID-19 condition in India.
The CDC stated that India is currently housing a new deadly variant of COVID (B.1.617), alongside other dangerous variants like those from the UK and South Africa. It is also said that these variants are easily transmittable and, as this travel ban, suspending and restricting travellers from and to India, is a safety measure.
Click this for CNN report
Who does this travel ban apply?
All non-US citizens who were physically present in India for 14 days or more prior to their entry to the U.S will be subjected to this travel ban. However, there are a few exceptions as listed by the United States Department of State.
People who are subject to the travel restrictions
- H1B visa holders and their dependents holding H4 visa.
- L1A, L1B visa holders and their dependents holding L2 visa.
- B1/B2, B2 visa travellers including parents holding B2 visas.
- F1, J1, and M1 visa holders, unless their program starts on or after August 1, 2021.
- Rest of the non-immigrant visa holders travelling from India to the U.S.
People who fall under the exceptions based on President’s proclamation
- US citizens and their spouses.
- Green Cardholders.
- Visa holders with valid immigrant visa (those seeking a green card from outside the U.S.)
- Parents/caretakers/legal guardians of a US citizen or a Green Card holder who is under 21.
- Siblings of US citizens or Green Card holders who are under 21/unmarried.
- Foreign diplomats travelling to the US on A visa, G visa, E-1, NATO-1 through NATO-4, and NATO-6 visas.
- Air and sea crew holding C, D, C1/D visas.
People who fall under the exemption category listed by the US Department of State
- Fiances on K-1 visa.
- Students with F1 and M1 visas; if their academic program starts on or after August 1, 2021 (They will be allowed to enter the US, 30 days prior to the start of the program.)
- People entering the US to support critical infrastructure sectors, healthcare, and more. (You can check with the consulate on this.)
- Aeroplane staff, support and maintenance personnel, and trainers holding B1/B2, B1, and M1 visas (this also includes visa waiver programs.)
- Full-time teachers with programs under G-5.
- Exchange personnel supporting critical foreign policy requirements.
- People travelling for the purpose of humanitarian needs, public health, and national security.
- People travelling as an au pair (young foreign worker) for supporting minor US citizens (caretakers), green card holders, or nonimmigrants (they will only be allowed if they hold special skills like sign language, special education, medical skills, child care services, medical researchers and more.)
This ban comes into effect at 12:01 EST on May 4, 2021 (Tuesday.) It does not apply to travellers boarding flights to the US before 12:01 EST.
Click this for Official CDC Announcement
Officials have not specified the duration of this travel ban; it will continue until the president decides to cancel it.
While travelling to the US, if you are unsure about falling under the exceptions list, kindly check in with the US consulate before leaving for the airport. You may or may not be denied boarding; there are chances you might face issues with the CBP during the US Port of Entry process.