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Exemptions and National Interest Exceptions to the Suspension of Travel to the United States from India amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

4 May

In furtherance of the recently announced travel restrictions from India to the United States, the Biden administration issued a formal Presidential Proclamation on April 30, 2021. The suspension of entry, which applies to non-U.S. citizens traveling to the United States who were present in the India within the 14 days preceding their U.S. entry, began at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 4, 2021. These travel restrictions will remain in effect indefinitely, subject to review by the Secretary of Health and Human Services every 30 days. 

Restricted Passengers and Exceptions  

Foreign nationals who have been physically present in India within the past 14 days before boarding a flight to the United States will not be permitted to board unless they fall under one of the exceptions outlined in the proclamation. U.S. citizens are not subject to the proclamation. The proclamation outlined the following exceptions: 

  • Any U.S. lawful permanent resident;  
  • Any foreign national who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident;  
  • Any foreign national who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;  
  • Any foreign national who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;  
  • Any foreign national who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;  
  • Any foreign national traveling at the invitation of the United States government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;  
  • Any foreign national traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;  
  • Certain foreign nationals whose travel is covered by Section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;  
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, spouses, and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces; or  
  • Certain foreign nationals who are determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services not to pose a significant risk, who are determined by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to be needed for a law enforcement purpose, and certain foreign nationals whose entry is determined to be in the U.S. national interest. 

The proclamation further states that National Interest Exceptions may be granted to the newly implemented COVID-19 travel restrictions affecting travelers from India to the United States as designated by the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security. Guidelines on who may qualify and how to apply for a National Interest Exception to the restrictions will be applied the same as other areas with restricted travel to the United States. This includes, but is not limited to, certain students and exchange visitors and those who are traveling to the United States for purposes of humanitarian travel, public health response, critical infrastructure, and national security. 

Foster will continue to monitor travel restrictions and will make future updates available as appropriate via our firm website at www.fosterglobal.com