Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Students, academics exempt from US travel ban from India

Indian students commencing studies in the US in fall as also certain journalists, academics and humanitarian workers, may get an exemption from the Biden administration’s ban on travel from India from May 4.

Certain individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in the US too may qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE), the State Department said after President Joe Biden announced the India travel ban Friday.

In keeping with the US commitment to facilitate legitimate travel, Indians in certain categories would get travel exceptions similar to those accorded to Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa, it said.

The State Department, however, warned that the pandemic continues to limit the number of visas US embassies and consulates abroad are able to process.

The notification said that students who already have valid F-1 and M-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later may enter the US no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies.

Such students do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel.

However, it advised students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas to check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate.

Those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel, it added.

03/05/21 Arun Kumar/American Bazar

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