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TRAVEL ADVISORY: INDIA (May 2021)

April 26, 2021
Tahreem Kalam

****May 4, 2021 UPDATE****

On April 30, 2021, President Biden issued a Proclamation restricting the entry of certain non-immigrants from India. The restriction of entry begins May 4, 2021 and states the following:

After reviewing the public health situation within the Republic of India, the CDC has concluded that proactive measures are required to protect the Nation’s public health from travelers entering the United States from that jurisdiction. It is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as nonimmigrants, of noncitizens of the United States (“noncitizens”) who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14‑day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

The travel ban for non-immigrants present in India 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the U.S. will not apply to the following:

  • -Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  • -Non U.S. Citizens who have:
        • -U.S. Citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident Spouse;
        • -U.S. Citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident Child that is unmarried and under the age of 21;
        • -U.S. Citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident Siblings that is unmarried and under the age of 21;
        • -Status as an air or sea crew member;
        • -Status in A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories);
        • -A spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or are in the U.S. Armed Forces themselves.

Exceptions may also apply to non-US Citizens:

  • -whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  • -whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.

A non-U.S. Citizen individual who spends 14 days in a country that is currently not restricted to travel to the U.S. will be eligible to enter the U.S. with a negative Covid test and standard admissibility by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Due to the evolving Covid crisis currently taking place in India, we are unable to determine the duration of the travel ban at this time. Therefore, we strong advise against any travel to India. If an emergency arises and travel is necessary, please speak to your immigration attorney before departing the U.S.

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TRAVEL ADVISORY: INDIA (April 2021)

On April 21, 2021 the United States Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for India, stating that all travel to India should be avoided due to the increase in Covid-19 cases. Additionally, as Covid-19 cases surge in India, the U.S. has begun implementing restriction for travelers coming from the country.

The US Consulates and Embassies in India released the following information regarding visa appointments:

  • -Mumbai:  currently is only providing essential services to U.S. citizens and limited and emergency nonimmigrant and immigrant visa services until further notice. 
  • -New Delhi: All U.S. Embassy New Delhi’s in-person visa appointments and interview-waiver appointments are cancelled from April 26 – May 9. Emergency appointments already scheduled will likely be honored. Emergency services for U.S. citizens will continue.
  • -Chennai:  All routine services are cancelled from April 26 through May 15th, including all routine non-immigrant visa interview appointments, interview-waiver appointments, and routine American Citizen Services appointments. Emergency appointments will continue to the extent that local conditions allow.
  • -Hyderabad and Kolkata: Will offer limited visa appointments, but may cancel certain appointments as local conditions require. Applicants not notified of an appointment cancellation should plan to attend their interview appointment on the scheduled date and time.
  • -Drop Box Applications: Consular sections across India, except in New Delhi’s consular district, are now accepting drop box applications for renewals of all nonimmigrant visa categories up to 48 months after expiration of your visa at Visa Application Centers across India. This means any applicant whose visa expired within the 48 months prior to the date of application is eligible for an interview waiver for a visa application in the same classification. Applications should try to utilize this option, if available to them.

Due to limited appointment availability, cancelled appointments cannot be rescheduled at this time. Cancelled consular appointments and limited appointment availability leads to a backlog in being able to schedule immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments.  

Therefore, Foreign Nationals who are currently in India should try to return back to the US as soon as possible. Those who have plans to travel to India within the next few months should strongly reconsider their travel plans as well. As the Covid-19 travel restrictions are continuously changing, it may be possible that a full travel ban may be implemented for foreign nationals trying to enter the U.S. from India.  You can follow any updates made by the U.S. Department of State here: Alerts and Messages | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India (usembassy.gov)

With specific exceptions, several Presidential proclamations already suspend and limit entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. For a full list of exceptions, please refer to the relevant proclamations in the links below.

  • China
  • Iran
  • European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City)
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Brazil
  • South Africa

If you have questions related to the Covid travel restrictions or you or family member is currently abroad and unable to return, please reach out to one of our attorneys to discuss any options you may have.

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