In light of the surging COVID-19 infections in India, President Biden has authorized a travel ban for certain nonimmigrants present in India. Specifically, beginning May 4, 2021, the entry of nonimmigrants who have been present in India during the 14 days preceding their entry to the United States is prohibited under Presidential Proclamation 10199, “Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019.”
In issuing the proclamation, President Biden explained that the travel ban is needed because India has reported more than 18,375,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 300,000 average new daily cases over the past week. Further, “the magnitude and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of India is surging; the Republic of India accounts for over one-third of new global cases, and the number of new cases in the Republic of India is accelerating at a rapid rate.”
The entry suspension for nonimmigrants – including B-1/B-2 tourists, H-1B and L-1 workers, F-1 students, J-1 interns and trainees, and O-1 aliens – present in India will remain in effect until President Biden rescinds the order. Diplomatic visa categories are exempt, including A and G visa holders. Also exempt from the entry suspension are any noncitizens who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces or who is a spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, any noncitizen whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives, and any noncitizen whose entry would be in the national interest. The proclamation also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine each month whether the entry ban should continue or be terminated.
Importantly, the proclamation does not apply to lawful permanent residents, any noncitizen nationals, any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, any noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident if under the age of 21 and unmarried, any noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident if both are unmarried and under the age of 21 and any noncitizen traveling at the invitation of the U.S. Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus.
Several other regional travel bans continue to remain in place for an indefinite period. Specifically, the entry of certain individuals present in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, European Schengen Area, Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa within 14 days prior to arrival in the United States remains suspended.
Additionally, consular processing continues to be impacted by the closure of U.S. Embassies and consulates due to local COVID-19 conditions. Some U.S. Embassies and consulates are operating at reduced capacity even if the post is open. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State continues to prioritize adoption and family-based immigrant visas during the phased reopening of consular posts. Given the ongoing uncertainty with consular operations and constantly-evolving policies on the admission of certain nonimmigrants, international travel is not advisable at this time unless the exception requirement can be satisfied. If you are considering international travel, please contact our office to discuss what options may be available to you.