A Presidential Proclamation effective Tuesday, May 4, 2021 imposes new restrictions on travel from India in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. Foreign nationals will not be able to enter the U.S. if they have been physically present in India during the preceding 14 days. However, F-1 and J-1 students travelling from India will be able to travel directly to the United States provided that their academic programs begin August 1, 2021 or later, even after the Presidential Proclamation is in effect. See below for more details about how this will affect new and continuing F-1 and J-1 students.
Students who need to apply for an F-1 visa can follow the normal visa application process and can follow normal travel procedures if they plan to travel using their current F-1 visa. Students who are applying for a J-1 visa or planning to travel using their current J-1 visa should contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate a national interest exception (NIE) request.
This is how the Presidential Proclamation will affect new and continuing students travelling from India. Note that this information is based on our current understanding of the information recently posted by the U.S. Department of State. This announcement will be updated with any future changes or clarifications.
- If your I-20 or DS-2019 has a start date before August 1, 2021, you will not be able to enter the U.S. if you have been in India during the preceding 14-day period. You would need to spend at least 14 days in a country that is not subject to travel restrictions before entering the U.S.
- If your I-20 or DS-2019 has a start date on or after August 1, 2021, you will be able to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before your program start date. As long as the start date is on or after August 1st, you will be allowed to enter the US directly, without the 14 days in a third country.
- You will be able to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the Fall Term (August 30, 2021), which is August 1st.
- You will not be able to enter before August 1st unless you have spent at least 14 days before your entry date in a country that is not subject to travel restrictions.
Reduced Services at U.S. Consulates in India
If you need to apply for a visa, you should monitor embassy and consulate websites for information about the availability of visa appointments. U.S. consulates in India continue to operate at reduced capacity due to COVID-19 conditions and many existing appointments in May have been cancelled.
Consider these new travel restrictions and reduced consular services when planning travel to or from India. You may need to or decide to reschedule your travel. In addition, CDC guidelines for entry into the U.S. remain in effect, including the requirement for a negative COVID-test result within the 3 days before your flight to the U.S. departs.
Last Updated: 05/03/2021