Immigration and Compliance Briefing: India Added to COVID-19 Geographic Travel Ban
Effective Tuesday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m. ET
In response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in India, a Presidential Proclamation was issued on April 30, 2021 to suspend the entry into the U.S. of nonimmigrant, noncitizen individuals who have been present in India within the fourteen (14) days prior to attempted entry into the U.S. This travel ban will continue in effect until rescinded.
U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (“LPRs” or “green card holders”), certain family members of U.S. citizens or LPRs, members of the Armed Forces or their spouses and children, and certain other individuals are exempt from the travel ban, including university students. For a full list of exemptions, refer to the Presidential Proclamation here. Travelers exempt from the geographic ban may still be subject to additional security and health screening procedures and should carefully review changing travel guidelines.
Note that the suspension applies to temporary non-immigrants, such as H-1B and other work-based visa holders. Impacted employees and their employers should plan accordingly given the new ban, ongoing U.S. consular visa processing delays throughout India, and the challenges in obtaining a National Interest Exception to any travel ban.
Ongoing Travel Restrictions
As a reminder, similar travel restrictions are still in place for the following countries/regions:
- South Africa: Effective January 26, 2021
Brazil: Effective May 28, 2020
UK & Ireland: Effective March 16, 2020
Schengen Area: Effective March 13, 2020
Iran: Effective March 2, 2020
China: Effective February 2, 2020
U.S. Land Border Restrictions Continue
The suspension of non-essential travel between land ports-of-entry across the northern and southern U.S. borders was implemented on March 21, 2020 and has been extended on a monthly basis since. The suspension currently remains in place through May 21, 2021 and may be extended again.
Recreational travel, such as for tourism or visiting relatives, remains prohibited. Land border closures do not prohibit travel for essential workers, military personnel, or medical personnel engaged in activities combating the effects of COVID-19, and the transportation of goods is also exempted.
All COVID-19 related policies, requirements, and timeframes may change, additional modifications are anticipated. Please refer to https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus for updates.
Given that this is a rapidly changing situation, please also refer to the following online resources, and be sure to review the “last updated” date: