Immigration News: New COVID 19 Regional Travel Ban for Nonimmigrants Issued for the Republic of India

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new Presidential Proclamation passed by President Joe Biden, that temporarily restricts and suspends the entry of nonimmigrants into the United States, who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

Want to know more? Keep on watching.


In response to the magnitude and high number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of India, the White House has made the decision to initiate a Regional COVID-19 related Presidential Proclamation, temporarily restricting and suspending the entry of nonimmigrants from the Republic of India into the United States. Those impacted will include any nonimmigrant who has been physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding his or her entry or attempted entry into the United States.

As has been the case with previous COVID-19 Regional Presidential Proclamations, the following categories of nonimmigrants will NOT be impacted by this Proclamation:

Section 1 of this Presidential Proclamation does not apply to:

  • any lawful permanent resident of the United States (green card holders);
  • any noncitizen national of the United States;
  • any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
  • any noncitizen 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 noncitizen 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 noncitizen 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 noncitizen traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  • any noncitizen traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any noncitizen otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
  • any noncitizen
    • seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following visas:  A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories); or
    • whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
  • any noncitizen who is a member 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 United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  • any noncitizen whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.

When does the new Proclamation begin?

This new Presidential Proclamation will be enforced at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 4, 2021. The Proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 4, 2021.

When will this new Proclamation end?

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Regional Presidential Proclamations have no termination date. The orders must be terminated by way of separate Presidential actions in the future. We hope that as vaccinations become readily available throughout the world, the administration will ease these restrictions and a sense of normalcy can resurface.

Does this Proclamation apply to immigrant visas?

No. This Proclamation only applies to non-immigrant visa classifications. It does not apply to IR-1, CR-1, nor K-1 fiancé visas.

What is the practical effect of this Proclamation?

While the Proclamation will limit the entry of Indian nationals physically residing in India who have non-immigrants visas already in their passports, it will likely have little impact for those waiting for nonimmigrant visa interviews.

As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the majority of Consulates and Embassies worldwide have dramatically restricted the availability of visa appointments and services for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa types. The vast majority of posts are operating at a very limited capacity due to personnel shortages, lack of resources, local country conditions, and mandatory quarantines. Safety continues to remain a top priority.

Those with emergencies are encouraged to seek expedited processing of their visas. In addition, those who satisfy the National Interest Exception should request expedited processing as soon as possible. Those who can demonstrate their eligibility for expedited processing and/or the National Interest Exception can proceed with expedited visa processing despite the enforcement of this Proclamation.

National Interest Exceptions

In general, there are two ways a visa applicant can qualify for an expedited visa interview appointment despite the current suspension of visa services. The first option, known as the National Interest Exception (NIE), is available to visa applicants who can demonstrate that their entry to the United States is necessary because it is in the National Interest.

One may receive a National Interest Exception:

(1) as a public health or healthcare professional or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to continue ongoing research in an area with substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or disease research);  OR

(2) to provide care for a U.S. citizen, including alleviating the burden of care from a medical or other institution, or to prevent a U.S. citizen from becoming a public charge or ward of the state or the ward of a medical or other institution; OR

(3) to join an active military member petitioner in the U.S.

It is most common for eligible visa applicants to demonstrate their satisfaction of the second criteria, by way of documentary evidence showing that their entry is necessary to alleviate the burden of care of a U.S. Citizen (normally a U.S. Citizen petitioner or the U.S. Citizen’s children) OR to prevent the U.S. Citizen petitioner from becoming a public charge.

In addition, the Department of State recently carved out additional National Interest Exceptions for travelers seeking to enter the United States (1) to provide vital support for critical infrastructure (2) journalists (3) F-1 and M-1 students (4) certain academic covered by exchange visitor programs.

Click here to read about the new NIE Exceptions.

Is there any other way to bypass the Presidential Proclamation?

As a reminder, the Proclamation only applies to those who have been physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding the traveler’s entry or attempted entry into the United States. This means that those who have been physically present in any other country, not subject to a COVID-19 Regional Presidential Proclamation, will not be impacted. For example, if you spend at least two weeks in a third country outside of the Republic of India, your entry will not be impacted.

Want to know more?? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.

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For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.