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Students & Academics Exempted From India Travel Ban: US

Students & Academics Exempted From India Travel Ban: US

The US State Department has taken the decision to exempt certain categories including students, academics, individuals and..

Sukanya Bharti 01 May 2021 12:39 PM IST

Image Courtesy : www.twitter.com/SecBlinken

The US State Department has taken the decision to exempt certain categories including students, academics, individuals and journalists from the India travel ban announced by Joe Biden, President of the US.

The Secretary of State Tony Blinken issued the exemption orders, hours after President Biden directed to restrict travel from India starting from May 4, 2021, due to the "extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the country".

As per the State Department, the travel exemption is similar to the exemptions granted by the US to some categories of travellers from China, Brazil, Iran and/ or South Africa.

The State Department said, “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”.

Students desirous to start studies in the fall, journalists, academics, and individuals who provide significant infrastructure support in nations affected by the geographic COVID-19 restriction may be allowed under the exception, it said.

The notice also includes the qualified applicants who have been present in Brazil, India, China, South Africa, or Iran. It further added the consulate and embassies' ability to process visas have been limited by the ongoing pandemic. The visa applicants are advised to check the nearest embassy or consulate's website for the latest information regarding visa appointments, informed the State Department.

It also stated that the Department is continuously seeking techniques to process more applications.

F-1 and M-1 visa related information:

According to the exemptions issued on April 26 by the State Department in a national interest, students having M-1 and F-1 visas who wish to start/ continue their academic courses commencing on Aug 01 or later are not required to contact the consulate/ embassy for individual exemption to travel. These visa holders are allowed to enter the US 30 days prior to the commencement of their academic courses.

The applicants who wish to apply for new F-1 and M-1 visas, must check their nearby consulate or embassy for visa services and the applicants who, otherwise, found to be qualified for visas will automatically be considered for NIE to travel.

The Department of State is continuously granting NIEs to qualified travellers who wish to enter the US for public health response, national security, and humanitarian travel purposes.These travellers are also advised to review the consulate or embassy's website.

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