New Delhi: The US State Department said that certain categories of students, academics, journalists and individuals have been exempted from the India travel ban declared by President Joe Biden.
Secretary of State, Tony Blinken issued the exemptions hours after President Biden released a proclamation restricting travel from India commencing on May 4. This was because of the “extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the country”.
The State Department said that the travel ban exemption is in line with a similar exemption that the US has provided to some categories of travellers from Brazil, China, Iran and or South Africa.
“In keeping with the Department of State’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary Blinken decided today to apply the same set of National Interest Exceptions to India that he had previously applied to all other regional travel restrictions currently in effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the State Department was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Students seeking to commence studies in the fall, academics, journalists and individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in countries affected by a geographic COVID-19 restriction may qualify for the exception, it said. This includes qualified applicants who have been present in India, Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa, the State Department statement said.
“As the global situation evolves, the Department continues to seek ways to process more visa applications, in line with science-based guidance from health authorities and with the health and safety of staff and applicants as our priority,” it added.