Everything you need to know about India-US travel during Covid


With the United States banning direct entry to more than a dozen countries, here’s a guide to traveling in Covid times

Times of Covid-19 have been exceptionally difficult for many. For those looking to travel during this time, the experience can be described as nothing less than confusing with various countries with different restrictions on entry, exit and transit.

As many Indian visa holders travel to the United States on a regular basis, President Joe Biden’s April 30 proclamation restricting travel from India has caused major anxiety, with many traveling to a third country to quarantine for 14 days or search for an exception of national interest.

If you also hold a work visa or wish to travel to the United States on a B1 / B2 or visitor visa, here is everything you need to know about traveling to the United States during the Covid period.

Read: Indian travelers to US must purchase visitor insurance with Covid-19 coverage (August 13, 2021)

There is no ban for Indians
First of all, it is necessary to clarify the confusion – there is no ban on Indians, contrary to popular belief.

The United States does not restrict any nationality to entry into the United States, the restriction affects all travelers physically present in countries that are currently experiencing a high volume of Covid cases.

India is not the only country
For those who think India or Indians are the only people suffering from the travel restrictions, know that the restrictions extend to UK, all Schengen countries in Europe, China, Brazil, to Iran and South Africa, among others.

Thus, for anyone traveling from these countries directly to the United States, the restrictions would apply.

Exemptions
All US citizens and green card holders are exempt from this ban and can travel freely to the US from India.

Parents of children born in the United States can also travel to the United States, whether or not they are accompanied by their child. The child must be a minor or single.

F-1 visa holders traveling just before the start of their fall semester.

Read: Traveling to India during Covid-19: what you need to know before you go (August 18, 2021)

No exclusion. What are my options?
Okay, so if you don’t qualify for any of these categories and your trip can’t wait, you can try the option of applying for a NIE or National Interest Exception.

How to get a NIE
There is no designated form that must be completed. You need to send an email to the US Missions in India.


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