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“Travel restrictions for Indians” ; Students, academics, journalists exempted

Several levels of students, academics, journalists, and individuals have been spared from the India travel prohibition declared by President Joe Biden, the US State Department said. The exceptions were announced by Secretary of State Tony Blinken, hours later Biden declared a proclamation limiting travel from India starting May 4 because of the “extraordinarily high Covid-19 case counts and various variants spreading in the country”.

According to the reports from the State Department, the travel taboo exemption is in order with a related exclusion that the US has allowed to some sections of travelers from Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa.“In keeping with the Department of State’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary Blinken decided today to apply the same set of National Interest Exceptions to India that he had previously applied to all other regional travel restrictions currently in effect as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the State Department said.

Students attempting to begin studies in the autumn, academics, journalists, and individuals who give crucial infrastructure support in nations hit by a geographic Covid-19 restraint may pass for the exemption, it said. This comprises qualified candidates who have been existing in India, Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa, it said. The pandemic remains to restrict the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad can prepare, it said. The visa applicants should monitor the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for the most latest information about visa appointment availability, the State Department said.“As the global situation evolves, the Department continues to seek ways to process more visa applications, in line with science-based guidance from health authorities and with the health and safety of staff and applicants as our priority,” it said.

In a public concern exception announced by the State Department on April 26, which it stated is good for India too, students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas planning to start or advance an academic program beginning August 1 or later do not require to reach the embassy or consulate to ask an individual exemption to travel. They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the commencement of their academic studies. Students trying to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the most adjacent embassy or consulate.

Those applicants who are seen to be unless qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be counted for an NIE to travel, it said. The Department of State also extends to give NIEs for qualified travelers trying to travel to the US for plans related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security. These travelers and any others who consider their travel to be in the United States’ national interest should also examine the website of the nearest US embassy or consulate for guidance on how to reach them, it said.

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In a different memorandum on April 8, the Secretary of State had decided that the travel of immigrants, fiancé(e) visa holders, several exchange visitors, and pilots and aircrew traveling to the United States for training or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance are in the national interest for purposes of permitting limitations under the geographic COVID presidential announcements. These announcements restrict the entry of individuals physically present, within the 14 days before their tried entry into the United States, in the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Federative Republic of Brazil, or the Republic of South Africa.


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