BREAKING: U.S. Announces COVID-19 Travel Ban on India
Today, April 30th, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of travelers from India due to the ongoing and dramatic surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, which has been topping an average of over 300,000 new daily cases over the past week. The ban applies to persons seeking to enter or reenter the United States in nonimmigrant statuses (e.g. H-1B, F-1, TN, etc.) who have been present in India during the last 14 days. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), or immediate family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
The scope of the travel ban is consistent with the other COVID-19 regional travel bans currently in place for travelers from China, Iran, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and the Schengen Area of Europe. The Department of State (DOS) has not yet posted official guidance on National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for the travel ban on India. We anticipate that the NIE criteria will be similar to the other bans in place, which is very restrictive.
The travel ban will take effect on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time. It will not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to the effective date.
Persons attempting to apply for a nonimmigrant visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in India should be advised that their appointment may be canceled as the situation continues to develop. The U.S. Mission in India has canceled all visa appointments, both in-person and interview waiver (“dropbox"), at the posts in New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata until May 15th, and at the consulate in Mumbai until May 28th. Walk-ins will not be accepted, and the posts will likely not respond to any inquiries regarding potential future cancellations or appointment availability.
We strongly urge all clients to avoid any international travel to India at this time, and to consult with our office if you are impacted by this new restriction. We will keep our clients updated with any new information regarding the travel ban.