Home » US Immigration - Visas » US Bans Travelers from India – H1B, L1, Others. Exceptions List, Latest News

US Bans Travelers from India – H1B, L1, Others. Exceptions List, Latest News

As the COVID situation in India was very bad back in April 2021, President Biden signed an executive order on Apr 30th, 2021, that restricted travelers from India to enter US. In this article, we cover all the details of the US travel ban on Indian travelers, which US visas it applies to, who are exempt, when does it start, when does it end, other info. Also, we update this article as and when new updates happen on the travel ban.

Summary of Proclamation : US Bans Travelers from India

President Biden signed a proclamation on April 30th, that banned the entry of travelers from India. Below is the summary of the proclamation and guidance given by US Department of State based on the proclamation.

Why US Travel Ban for Travelers from India ?  Reason?

As per the proclamation signed by President Biden, the decision to ban travelers from India is based on recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) based on the critical situation in India with the surge in cases due to COVID-19. They say there is a new variant in India called B.1.617, including the other variants from UK and South Africa present in India. As per CDC they are more easily transmittable and as a proactive measure they are restricting and suspending travelers from India to United states.

Who all from India does the US Travel Ban Apply to ?

The travel ban applies to the below list of individuals from India

Physically Present in India for 14 days before Travel

The travel ban applies to all non-us citizens who were physically present in India during the 14 days before their entry to US or their attempted entry to US, unless they fall under certain exceptions as listed by US Dept of State or they fall under national interest exception waiver.  Below is the screenshot from the proclamation.

14 days stay in India - Travel Ban to US
14 days stay in India – Travel Ban to US

List of Non-US Citizens from India who are subject to Travel Ban to US

Below is the list of US non-immigrant visa holders who are banned unless they fall under national interest exceptions or other exceptions as given by department of state.

  • H1B Visa holders & their dependent on H4 Visa
  • L1A, L1B visa holder and their dependents on L2 visa
  • B1/ B2, B2 Visa Travelers, including parents traveling on B2 visas
  • F1, J1, M1 Visa holders, unless their program starts on August 1st or later.
  • All other non-immigrant visa holders, who travel to India to US.  

List of Travelers from India to US, who fall under Exceptions

Below is the list of travellers from India, who are exempted from the proclamation and can travel to US.

Exceptions based on President Proclamation

  • US Citizens
  • US Green Card Holders
  • Immigrant Visa holders with valid Immigrant Visa (seeking Green card from outside US)
  • Spouse of US Citizen
  • Parents or legal guardians of US Citizen or Green Card holder who are under 21 years of age
  • Siblings of US Citizens or green card holders who are unmarried and under 21 years of age
  • Foreign diplomats traveling to US on A, G visas. E-1, NATO -1 through NATO-4, NATO-6 Visas
  • Air and Sea Crew traveling on C, D, C1/D visa

Exceptions based on National Interest(NIE) by US Dept of State

  • Fiancé(e)s on K-1 Visa
  • F1 and M1 Visa students with academic program starting on August 1st, 2021 or later.  They can enter US only 30 days before the start of the program. It includes continuing F1 and M1 Visa holders with program continuation starting on August 1st, 2021 or later.
  • Journalists
  • Anyone entering US to provide vital support for critical infrastructure sectors. They have not given explicit list. Very likely something related to Health care and others. You should check with consulate on this.
  • Pilots and aircrew members, others supporting aircraft maintenance, training, support entering on B1/B2, B1 and M1 Visas, including Visa Waiver programs
  • Someone traveling as an au pair (young foreign worker) to support minor US Citizens, Green Card holders, or nonimmigrants with special skills like medical, special education or sign language.  Similar other exchange visitors who provide child care services, medical research, others
  • Specialized Teachers with program under G-5, who are full time teachers.
  • Exchange visitors supporting critical foreign policy needs
  • Qualified travelers for purpose of humanitarian travel, public health response, national security.
  • Derivative family members, who are joining someone who have been granted National Interest Exception (NIE) or likely to get NIE exception or is not subject to NIE in general. Example : If H1B holder got NIE, then H4 holder can also get NIE as per this clause. This was added on May 12th, 2021.

Process before Travel, if you fall under National Interest Exception

If you are subject to the proclamation, but fall under the exceptions listed above under National Interest Exception(NIE), you need to follow the below process. You need to have definitive plans for travel. This is as per official guidance given by US Embassy on their website

Step 1 : Email US Consulate/ Embassy with Details : You need to email Consulate that issued your Non-immigrant visa with the below details in tabular format. The below table should be in the email body with supporting information. It should be in English only.

Last name:Your Family Name or Last Name as it appears on passport
First name:Your First Name as it appears on Passport
Date of birth:Your Date of Birth as it appears on Passport
Place of birth:Your Place of Birth as it appears on Passport
Gender on passport:Your Gender as it appears on passport
Country of citizenship:Your Country of citizenship
Current passport number:Your current (most recent) passport number that is valid
Passport number with issued visa:Your Passport number with US Visa is Stamped on it. This could be the same as above or different if your passport expired before visa validity
Visa category (H1B, H4, B1/B2, L1, L2, etc.):US Nonimmigrant Visa category that you plan to enter the US
Visa expiration date:Your US Visa expiration date. Check US Visa Sample, meaning for more info
Consulate/Embassy that issued the visa:The name of the consulate that issued your US Visa
Current location, city, and country:Your current Location, City and Country. This would be your current city and location where you are based in India
Have you applied for an NIE since May 1, 2021? (yes or no):If you have applied for an NIE before, you need to indicate here as ‘Yes’. If not, you can say ‘No’.
Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of an NIE: (for H1, L1, and O1 visa holders, please be sure to include your job title, employer, and end client, where applicable)You need to clearly articulate your purpose of travel with your job duties, employer info and why you should be given NIE. You should attach NIE Supporting letter from the employer/client to have a better chance for approval.
NIE Email Format by US Consulate in India

Send the above template completed to the below email addresses

Step 2 : US Consulate / Embassy Review – 2 weeks : The US Consulate/ Embassy will review your request carefully and give you a decision in two weeks. They say they cannot guarantee the decision in two weeks, but will try. Some users got it 2 weeks, some had to wait for 6 weeks as well to get an update. So, you need to be prepared for delays.

Step 3 : Travel to US within 12 months : If you get approval from the Consulate, they will inform you on the same via email and it would say the validity of the NIE indicating that it would be for 12 months with multiple entry option from the date it was approved by Consulate or Embassy. This used to be 30 days with single entry in the past and changed from July 6th, 2021. Below is an example of the same from a real user experince

NIE Validity Email for 12 months from Delhi
NIE Validity Email for 12 months from Delhi

The above process is mandatory to follow, if you do not fall under exceptions in proclamation but fall under NIE. If you fail to follow the above, you may or may not be allowed at the airport during boarding or at may face issues with CBP officer during US Port of Entry Process. Read FAQs and Official Guidance by US Embassy India

We have many users who got NIE approval before travel and were able to travel to US. Read article : 15 NIE Approval Experiences India – Letter, Travel

When does the Travel Ban start for Travelers from India ?

The travel ban started from 12:01 EST on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021. It does not apply to anyone who have boarded flight to US before 12:01 EST, May 4th, 2021 and arrives in US after 12:01 EST on May 4th, 2021.  See below screenshot from proclamation

Effective Date Travel Ban for Indian Travelers
Effective Date Travel Ban for Indian Travelers

How long is the Travel Ban applicable to Travelers from India ?

There is no end date specified that tells the duration of the travel ban. All it says is until the president cancels it. It says that US Secretary of Health and Human Services has to review the situation and report in no more than 30 days. Also, they have to report to President by the end of each month, if the Travel Ban has to continued or terminated. See below screenshot from the proclamation.

Termination of Travel ban for travelers from india
Termination of Travel ban for travelers from india

Latest News on US Travel Ban for Indian Travelers

  • September 2021 : As of Sep 2021, there is no indication from US that they will lift the travel ban. The cases in US are increasing and they may or may not lift in the near term.
  • Jul 26th, 2021 : The cases in US are rising citing the delta variant. Based on this WhiteHouse said that they do not plan to lift the Travel Ban in the short term. So, we may see the travel ban to be there for some more time. Check Reuters Official News
  • Jul 10th, 2021 : Reuters reports that Biden Administration may not immediately lift the travel ban soon. They had multiple discussions with many leaders of various countries and could not come to a quick conclusion. So, it may be the same case for India as well. Expect the travel ban to be there for some time.
  • Jul 6th, 2021 : US Dept of State extended the NIE validity from 30 days to 12 months and also added multiple entry. All this tells us is that the travel ban may stay for a long time. You can check NIE rule 12 months for Travel Guidance for more info
  • June 28th, 2021 : As of today, there is no change in the travel ban situation, even though the COVID situation in India has changed significantly since the announcement of travel ban. There are no exemptions added or given despite the changes in condition in India. If you need to travel to US, you need NIE given by the consulate for visa stamping and travel to US.
  • May 12th, 2021 : US Department of State added additional clarification to the press release sharing that dependents are eligible for NIE, if the primary visa holder get NIE. See below clause added. What it means is that, for instance, if H1B holders get NIE, then H4 holder also can get NIE. See below on what was added.
Derivative Family members - NIE Clause
Derivative Family members – NIE Clause

Common FAQs

When will US Travel ban be lifted from India ? How Long ?

No one exactly knows, when the travel ban will be lifted. As per the proclamation signed by Biden, the situation is reviewed every 30 days at the end of the month, if they wish to continue the proclamation or not. So far, there is no indication that they will lift the travel ban. The delta variant, which was first detected in India, is spread extensively in US and it may not help the lifting of travel ban. The travel ban may continue to say, unless otherwise they announce that they would cancel the proclamation. As per recent update from Whitehouse on July 8th, they say that this is here to stay for long. Check the news section in above article.

I fall under NIE for Travel to US from India, is it mandatory to get Consulate approval ?

Yes, you must contact the US Consulate or embassy that gave you visa and get their approval before you travel.

Within how many days do I have to travel to US, if get NIE approval from Consulate ?

You have 12 months from the date of approval of NIE to travel to US. You also get Multiple entry option to travel back and forth as needed. This used to be 30 days in the past, but from July 6th, 2021, this changed to 12 months with multiple entry option. The only catch is you need to use it for the same purpose that you originally requested the NIE for.

What is difference between Exceptions in Proclamation vs National Interest Exception(NIE) ?

For exceptions in Proclamation like US Citizens, Green Card Holders, Spouse, etc. they by default do not fall under proclamation and do not need to seek any approval or anything from anyone. Unlike, if you fall under National Interest Exception (NIE), then you are technically banned under proclamation, but US State Department has determined that your entry is important for US under their National Interest, so you can travel under the National Interest Exception (NIE). This is why you need to get permission from US Consulate. Read complete info at What is National Interest Exception Meaning – Differences, How to request

I am F1 student with Summer Term admission, can I travel ?

As per the US Embassy in India, they cannot facilitate travel for anyone whose program starts before August 1st, 2021. So, you may need to talk to the School and get some options to defer your admission.

I have valid H1B Visa and stuck in India, does the Travel Ban to US apply to me ?

Yes, it applies to you. You can only travel, if you fall under the NIE as per the support of the Critical infrastructure sectors. You need to submit proof to consulate or embassy and get approval before your travel.

I have Urgent Travel need to US from India, what are my options ?

You need to apply Emergency Appointment, that is the only option. Check Guide to US Emergency US Visa Appointment Request India

What do you think of the Travel ban ? What is your experience ? Share in comments below.   

References : US Dept of State Official Guidance on Travel Ban

   

Other Articles

438 Comments

  1. Hi – I am stuck in a bit of an unusual situation. I am an H1B visa holder currently in US but faced with a family emergency in India. I am (like everyone else here) afraid of being stuck in India and don’t really feel confident that my employer would sympathize unless I can get an NIE. I work for one of the largest food manufacturing companies in US and I directly oversee sales for 10% of their US portfolio (about $1.7B in revenue).

    Given most of the applications are from people stuck in India, does anyone know if the consulate will consider applications from someone currently in US wishing to travel to India? I know they’ll likely still only approve a 30 day window in the best case (which at this point i’ll definitely take!) but I wanted some thoughts on my chances.

    I don’t foresee issues being able to justify the critical nature of my work as I have been directly involved in food distribution. It would greatly benefit to have one before I set off in this environment. Thank you in advance for your feedback.

    Sarthak

    Reply
    • H1B,
      No, they will not consider that you were in US. Seeing your role, you need to justify for NIE. Also, the NIE is not for management who oversees stuff. So, this is something you need to consider before you travel. Read the article on Critical Infra Sectors and NIE to get to know more.

      Reply
      • I did read it – Food supply is one of the most directly applicable sectors to the critical infra list.

        Not sure what to make of the ‘not for management who oversees stuff’? Do they look at levels? What I intended to highlight was the impact to mass scale food supply.

        Secondly, what do you mean ‘ they will not consider that you were in US’? Meaning they reject people who apply for NIE while in US? Or that it does not matter?

        Thank you for your response!

        Reply
        • H1B,
          No, it is not about levels. They look at, if you are doing something on the ground or your presence is needed on the ground in US.

          It does not matter as long as you get NIE. In the past for H1B travel ban, there was a clause telling, if you were in US, you get exemption, so was saying on that.

          Your goal is to highlight why you need to be in US physically in person and how that is part of the critical sectors.

          Reply
          • Thanks again for the advice. I have sent it after factoring in all of this and now waiting for the response.

          • Sorry for the late reply. I basically did what I said above. Still think demonstrating impact is critical (and they have a way to verify this with the job duties submitted during the petition application).

            A lot of the duties do in fact make a difference in terms of in person vs virtual and I wrote a few lines demonstrating that.

            My only thing is I don’t know anyone else who has done this while still being in US. So it’s an unknown for all the authorities who will process this. I don’t know if that is instilling any confidence.

        • It will be rejected, NIE cannot be applied from United States. Individual has to be present outside for applying.

          Also nothing will happen, lol 1.7B in revenue, i am sure you are not the only one. There are people who work with you to manage this and i am sure company wouldn’t lose 1.7 billion if you left for a while. Be smart at least when you explain it to Consulate. Saying 1.7B depends on just you is beyond dumb.

          Reply
      • Hello Sir,

        I have a similar situation although I am in the IT sector and work onsite everyday at a data center.this is classified as critical infra by CISA.I got conular appointments for biometrics and inperson on 8th and 16th of november at mumbai and chennai respectively.I am travelling for the purpose of marriage as i have had to postpone it more than two time over the past two years.when do you think I should apply for NIE also do you think i will face issues my work cannot be done remotely.

        Reply
  2. Hi,
    I am on H1B and i have valid stamping until 2022. But now i have to travel due to family COVID emergency. But I am a parent of US Citizen minor child below 21 years. Can I come back to US showing my child US Passport and birth certificate? Does the child need to accompany me while travelling from India to US ?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hello Kris,
      I am kind of in a same boat but …I just traveled yesterday with my US citizen child (minor) & family to US but I have seen so many people yesterday successfully entering with US citizen child (minor), passport copy, birth certificate copy (original if available but not mandatory), your I-797 even though they are not traveling with their child.
      Nice to have: Your recent pay stubs, employer letter.

      FYI – CBP will take all families/individuals who are in this situation to a secondary check, they will ask to you to wait in a room for probably 15-20 mins for doc verification, if you have all above said docs then you will not have any problem (as I have seen in yesterday).

      IMPORTANT note: Please note that that, proclamation will be review on June 4th (as per original proclamation it will be reviewed every 30 days) so hopefully they will not change original proclamation and not make more stringent.

      Reply
    • Hi

      I have a valid B1/B2 visa. I plan to trace to Chicago via Doha (after spending 14 days in Doha. I am fully vaccinated with Covishield in India. Also, will obtain negative RTPCR 72 hours before travelling from Doha to us. My question is will I face any problem with CBP in Chicago because I am On a tourist visa? Can anyone respond?

      Reply
      • Surendran,
        This is very hard to say. Few were successful via the Mexico route, but nothing is guranteed. Talk to your immigration attorney and then take the call. It can be risky.

        Reply
      • The main question is what is your purpose of the visit to US and how long will you stay. The fact you spent time in other countries is not that critical. You can talk to the attorney but a few have entered US through Mexico with only the standard questions.

        Reply
      • Hi Surendran,

        I am in the same boat and planning travel by Mexico. Let me know if you have received any further information or confirmation. You can connect with me at 9811235859
        Regards,

        Reply
    • Hi Kris, I did had a conversation with a travel agency, and they were saying if I am a Parent of US citizen I can travel so there should not be any issue for you. Your Kid need not be with you. and there is no NIE required.

      Reply
    • Your child does not have to accompany. But you must carry birth certificate (original is better and in many cities and states one can get multiple original certificates) and a copy of the child’s US passport and any other relevant documents related to H1b.

      Reply
  3. Hello Pratik, Folks,

    I too work for the semiconductor industry. Would you be willing to share the NIE email + letter with me? It’d be of great help! (shibesh.dutta@gmail.com)

    Additionally, I’m on a L1B visa (Indian passport holder) but got the visa from the US embassy in Singapore. Should that be the consulate I should be writing to or any US consulate in India?

    Thanks, Shibesh

    Reply
  4. Anyone applied for NIE in Hyderabad consulate, if so can I know what are the processing timelines and if anyone got approved from Hyderabad consulate.

    Reply
  5. I am an American citizen in the US and my wife is an Indian citizen currently in India holding a valid B1/B2 visa. (We were married last year so no green card yet)

    Reading the comments here and the proclamation, it seems like she should fall under the exemption for “spouses of US citizens.”

    My question is does anyone know what documents she needs to actually get a ticket from Airindia/whoever and fly to the US? I called airindia and they had no conception of a US spouse with no green card. I am terrified that the airline/cbp won’t accept the marriage certificate and copy of my passport as proof and she won’t be able to fly.

    Thanks and I’m sorry for the US being dumb about immigration.

    Reply
    • Matt,
      The person you talked to in customer service has no clue. The proclamation is clear, if spouse is US Citizen, then they can travel. The person need to carry proof of relationship. In your case, the marriage certificate should be good. Please send along with her your Passport details.
      No, CBP and Consulates will take that.
      If you are not clear, write an email to Delhi Embassy, they will clarify and you can use that email.

      Usually customer service people have less experience and can mislead you.

      Reply
      • Kumar, do you know if a Parent of GC Holder travel with them?

        My father passed away in Mid-April, and I don’t want to leave my mother alone here. Does she needs a special permission under NIE, or can she just tag along with me?

        She is fully vaccinated, and can clear covid negative requirements.

        Reply
        • Sen Nik,
          Sorry to hear about your loss. I do not think so. As your mother is adult and not under 21, it may not work… But, worth a shot asking or emailing the consulate.

          Reply
  6. Hello, My father is in terminal cancer stage. I need to travel to Mumbai urgently. I am on H1b. Can someone give me some advice.

    Reply
    • nitin,
      Sorry to hear. You should go and see your father. You may be stuck for few months due to visa issues. Just be prepared for that. if eligible for NIE, try for EA.

      Reply
  7. My NIE application was rejected today. They replied to my request in 4 days.
    This is the response :

    Greetings,

    The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit at U.S. Consulate General Mumbai has carefully and thoroughly reviewed your request to travel to the United States pursuant to an exception to the April 30, 2021 Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019, known as PP 10199.

    Unfortunately, you do not qualify for an exception under PP 10199.  If you have a valid ESTA or relevant visa, one option currently available is to spend at least 14 days in a country not listed in Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, and/or 10143 before attempting to enter the United States.  Please keep in mind that those transiting a country listed in those Proclamations, even if one does not leave the airport, will be refused entry into the United States.  Customs and Border Protection has jurisdiction over entry into the United States, not the U.S. Embassy or any Consulate.  As such, we regret that we cannot provide further guidance on entry into the U.S., but this website might be useful: https://help.cbp.gov.

    We understand that this is not the decision that you were hoping for, and we can understand how this is a stressful and difficult time for you, your family, and for those expecting you in the United States.  Please continue to monitor in.usembassy.gov for updates.  

    Sincerely,
    U.S. Consulate General Mumbai

    Reply
    • Hello AC,
      Can you mention your visa category (F1/F2/H1/H4 or any other) and under what category you requested the NIE.

      Reply
      • H1B, IT DevOps engineer with 17yrs experience and I work in startup in San Jose, California.
        Manage IT infrastructure.

        I had attached a letter from HR, my travel itinerary, personal message, employment verification and salary information.

        Hope this helps.

        Reply
        • You can try again at same or another consulate maybe? Make sure to mention IT is critical infrastructure industry, explain how your role is important to their functioning and how you are critical employee and then how your cannot work remotely because of H1b regulations. No risk to trying again….

          Reply
    • Looks like the US consulates in India are encouraging everyone who are restricted or not qualified for NIE to spend 14 days outside India (and other countries which are prohibited). Be sure to spend 14 days clearly outside India and if transiting through Europe (14 days following the transit).

      Some are currently going through Mexico and a fortunate few through Maldives (which was the easiest path).

      Reply
      • Hello, do we have any confirmed experience from someone who has travelled through such third country after staying for 14 or more days and successfully entered USA. I have a tourist visa stuck alone in India and dealing with pandemic restrictions.

        Reply
    • Hi.. Would you mind sharing the content/ Email you provided for Consulate for Justification. even i work as a DevOps Engineer, I would like to travel to India on Emergency Purposes.. and would like to apply for NIE at Hyderabad consulate. I work for an employer with a state client. It is a critical infrastructure and they need my presence here, and there is no wfh as well. Please help out.

      Reply
  8. Hello;

    What does academics mean in the NIE category? Does it include professors who work in the academic sector? My spouse is an academician and we were wondering if we can apply through the NIE category for visa stamping and travel purposes.

    Reply
  9. Did anybody have success in getting NIE approved from Chennai consulate? How long does it normally take?
    I’m on L1 visa with my family on L2, so have to go through Chennai. I heard that other consulates are more considerate in granting approvals.

    Reply
  10. I am in India right now and have H1B visa. I got married recently and my wife has F1 Visa. She is about to start her Masters in August. Will I be allowed under NIE category ?

    Reply
    • Krishna,
      Well, if you go on F2, you maybe. But, if on H1B, you are not dependent for her. So it may or may not work. Unless, you are part of Critical infra sectors.

      Reply
  11. Hello,
    I am currently on H1B with a approved NIE from Mumbai Consulate. It took 9 calender days for the consulate to approve my NIE. I submitted my employment verification letter and a letter from my HR department stating the sector my company operates and how it help in the critical infrastructure sectors of chemicals and semi-conductors.
    The question I had was Can my wife on H4 visa travel with me since I have an NIE ? or She needs a NIE for herself too ?

    Thank You

    Reply
  12. Do we have any whatsapp group or Telegram channel for discussing this?
    If so please let us know so that it will be helpful for everyone

    Reply
  13. Do I qualify for a Fiancee NIE if my fiance is in the US (Approved i140 visa) but I’m on an H1B status? What kind of proof will be required?

    Reply
    • If your fiance is US citizen then you qualify for exemption under K visa (not NIE), not sure what the proof would be, you may want to check with consulate, ( could be affidavits and/or some kind of proof of engagement).

      But if your fiancé is green card holder, then no, unless you are married, then you qualify as spouse of permanent resident.

      You can separately try for NIE.

      Reply
  14. Hi All, I am a H1-B visa holder (Software Engineer) went to India in march 2021. I got married there in March, my wife got her H4 visa stamped in early April. I traveled back to USA in April to resume my work, my wife was supposed to travel in early May, she got stuck there in India due to travel ban.

    I am already in USA and my wife is stuck in India, does she qualify for requesting NIE? has anyone filed for such NIE?

    Reply
    • Anil,
      She is likely not going to get NIE as per the new travel ban. You can write to consulate and give it a try.

      Reply
      • Thank you Kumar for your clear response. You just shattered all my hopes. I feel like USCIS should consider newly weds 😉

        Reply
        • Anil,
          I understand, but dont want to disappoint you. But, you should definitely give it a try. Some had success asking for it, they had a kid though…so, worth a shot.

          Reply
          • Just to let you all know, we have given a try and received the NIE approval for my wife (H4 visa, no kids) in 5 days at Mumbai. We just mentioned the reason as Family Separation (also, we mentioned her fully vaccinated status).

        • You can write an email to Delhi consulate.
          One of my friend’s family came to India in April 1st week.
          They have been in India since then. After writing an email to consulate. NIE was granted. It seems family will get 1 month duration to travel back to US.
          His family is traveling back on June 5th.
          You can give it a try.

          Reply
        • Hey Anil,
          Please update here when you receive a response for your email. I am in a similar situation and my wife is stuck in India.

          Reply
        • Hi Anil,

          I am on the same boat as you. Newly married and i am back here on February and Wife is stuck in India. Please let me know if you have received any response or approval from USCIS for your spouse for the NIE request.

          Thanks,
          Tulasi

          Reply
    • No idea. We are still at 33.5 lakhs active cases and currently going down at a rate of 1.6 lakhs a day. If we keep the current rate then we will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 lakhs active cases on the 31st of May. They will look at the policy again on the 3rd of June and there may/may not be an update from DOS on 4th of June. Vaccination has ramped up quite a bit in recent days but considering limited amounts for the month of May, I don’t think we are going to be able to vaccinate more than 20 crores by the end of this month.
      One thing for sure, is that they are not going to lift the ban completely. I think embassies with open with limited appointments a week. They might loosen up the policies for H1-B but I am skeptical that anything else is going to be included with it (like H4-B , L and F visas). The exemption for NIE might get more likely for individuals who weren’t able to earlier.

      Reply
    • Not to disappoint everyone here, but the travel restriction on UK and Schengen countries was introduced in March 2020 and is still there, 14 months later. And in UK, the rates have gone down significantly. For India, the number of cases has to come down drastically, which means vaccination rates above 50%.

      It could be many months, I expect about 6 months before any restrictions are eased. However if employers in US put pressure on the administration to admit H1b and L1, then may be it will be lifted earlier.

      I just wished that US had institutional quarantine requirement like other countries so all individuals could quarantine and then enter. That is the surest way to minimize the risk.

      Reply
      • Right but the case here is different. When the US banned travel from the UK and other Schengen countries, they did the same. Neither the US relaxed the rules not the European countries. Pretty much a Mexican standoff.
        Also, that would mostly harm European countries and not the US because European countries get a lot of tourism from the US. Another thing to look at is the huge H1-B and F1 crowd from India. Without it many industries and institutions would face losses in hundreds of millions.
        But again we don’t know what’s gonna go down. Best we can do is wait and watch. Hope that India maintain its pace of recovery.

        Reply
  15. Is anyone here on H1B and from IT sector (Software engineer or a manager) who got NIE? Is it even allowed to apply for NIE for those roles? Please share your experience if any. Thanks

    Reply
    • You don’t have to go to Mexico.
      Serbia offer VISA on arrival for Indians. Its valid for 30days and the only country allows travelers.Stay in Serbia and get RTPCR tested and travel to US after 15 days.
      Let me know if anyone is seriously considering the travel to US from India.

      Reply
      • The problem is getting to Serbia. Only a few airlines serve and more than 1 transit to reach Serbia becomes complicated. QR and TK currently are the only options. T

        Reply
    • Anyone here from IT industry and Software engineer/manager role who got NIE approved? Per US employment law, seems like we can’t work more than 30 days outside US, is that true, can someone please confirm?

      Reply
      • SAHIL,
        There is no 30 days rule to stop working. Once you leave US, you are not under US work visa rules. So, it does not matter. It is up to the company as they are the one who will pay taxes and they need to manage their taxes.

        Reply
  16. Hi All,
    I have my H1B stamped on on 1st week of may, Not able to travel back to US due to travel ban and got struck in Chennai, i had 2 vaccines in US before i travelled to India and had multiple tests in US and Chennai for covid in last 3 weeks all negative, I am also planning to travel to Mexico and stay for 14days to get back to US, Does anyone travelled before this route and cleared immigration in US? Please let me know. iwould like to join the flocks who are in same boat. Regards,Sathish

    Reply
    • FYI…. all European carriers are not allowing transit travel directly to Mexico from India. Only carrier left is probably Turkish with a single transit (as long as the transit time does not exceed 20 hours). You may want to check with the airline. There are other possibilities but most involve 2 transits and that may not be allowed. Other alternative is Egypt, for now is still allowing.

      Reply
      • Many people are landing in Mexico through Air France and Lufthansa. Your info regarding European carriers isn’t correct. Look at usvisastampinginmexico.com for some more help…

        Reply
        • If they are then great. In another forum some one tried to book a ticket to Mexico City, but was told by airlines that they need either a transit visa, and a visa to that country. But AF website clearly mentions that travel to Mexico via Paris CDG requires visa for Mexico, cannot use US visa as a substitute. However if they get transit visa issued by France then they may bypass this requirement. But currently French embassy and consulates in India are closed temporarily.

          AIRPORT TRANSIT VISA (ATV) for transit via France.

          As of April 27, 2021, The French authorities have implemented new travel requirements. Passengers holding Indian passports must be in possession of a valid Airport Transit Visa (ATV) to transit via France for final destination outside the Schengen Area.

          Without ATV passengers will not be permitted to board.
          https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en_US/web/france-visas/airport-transit-visa

          This does not apply to the following passengers:

          Passengers holding a valid visa issued by Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Canada, the United States or Japan, provided they are either travelling to the country which issued the visa, travelling to a third country after having used the visa, or returning directly from the country which issued the visa;

          Reply
    • You don’t have to go to Mexico.
      Serbia offer VISA on arrival for Indians. Its valid for 30days and the only country allows travelers.Stay in Serbia and get RTPCR tested and travel to US after 15 days.
      Let me know if anyone is seriously considering the travel to US from India.

      Reply
  17. Hi,

    I had my initial drop box on April22 2021 and received 221G on April 30th along with my passport to submit additional documents electronically and physically by walk in at consulate. My employer shared required documents via email to the consulate. I will have to go the any visa office and submit additional documents and passport. Considering current situation in India can you please let me know if I still can walk in and submit 221g response in person or what steps need to be followed? Any inputs would be helpful. Thank you.

    Reply
      • Hi Vangala,

        Thank you for response. I did try reaching out on +911204844644 . They are giving very generic response like follow the steps mentioned in 221g . But they are not responding for specific query ” if Chennai / any consulate in India accepting 221g responses in person. Could you please let me know if incase of any other number to reach out to. Thank you.

        Reply
  18. Is anyone planning to have a stay in Mexico for 14 days and then travel to US. I’m in the same boat. Please let me know if anyone has any travel plans and what is the travel feasibility to take a route to Mexico as all the flights are either through Europe or US. I believe currently we cannot transit through European countries or USA.

    Reply
    • Realistically transit only through Europe is allowed to Mexico but check with each airline. May be BA might be ok or Turkish airlines.

      A visa to Mexico is not required if one has a valid US visa. However advance parole visas are not valid. There is some confusion with EU airlines, technically travel to Mexico should be allowed (unless one has AP visa), but some airlines are giving conflicting information regarding visa for Mexico.

      Some say that Mexican visa is required, however Embassy of Mexico states that visa is not required if the traveller has a valid US visa, which is not advance parole.

      Reply
    • Germany is allowing transit. Try Lufthansa. Or air india to Frankfurt from Delhi and then Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Mexico City.

      Reply
      • Lufthansa (and also Air France, KLM and BA) are not allowing any one from India to transit to Mexico unless they have a Mexican visa. Mexico allows Indian citizens if they have a valid US visa, but for now, these European carriers are not allowing.

        Turkish airlines is probably the only option now as they have a non stop flight to Mexico city, but I am not even sure about this too. So far Turkish (or Turkey) has no restrictions on transits, but than can change.

        Reply
        • Can you let us know your sources – re: European carriers not allowing passengers to transit without a Mexico visa. The Mexico consulate website is very clear stating Indian passport holders with valid US visas dont need a Mexico visa and Lufthansa customer support has confirmed this is fine on phone call.

          Reply
          • Can you confirm if Lufthansa is allowing transit through EU to Mexico. I heard that Germany is not allowing transit also for passengers travelling from India.

          • Hey guys,

            Sorry for the confusion, I just called Lufthansa and they mentioned that transit through Germany is permitted as long as you have valid US visa and RT-PCR before 72 Hours of your journey to Germany. This information is as per the Lufthansa customer care.

        • Hi – did Lufthansa airline confirm that they won’t allow you to board? Because when I called up Lufthansa, they asked me to check with german embassy and final destination (mexico city) regulations. I called up Frankfurt border police and got to know that i can transit through frankfurt to Mexico city being an indian national. I do have valid US visa due to which entry in mexico can be granted.

          Reply
          • Hey guys,

            Sorry for the confusion, I just called Lufthansa and they mentioned that transit through Germany is permitted as long as you have valid US visa and RT-PCR before 72 Hours of your journey to Germany. This information is as per the Lufthansa customer care.

    • Hey Raju,
      I’m on H1 and stuck in India due to travel ban. I’m thinking of traveling/staying in Mexico City for 14 days. Please let me know if you have same plans?

      Reply
      • Hi Nikhil,

        Sure, I have the same plan but I want to wait and see till June 3rd if any other relaxation would be announced. Please let me know if you have any information on which airlines are allowing indian passport holders to travel to Mexico.

        Reply
          • Sri Lanka has recently banned all Indian travellers. I would recommend Bahamas or Mexico. They seem like the only legit options. If you have extended family in Canada you may be able to travel. Check their guidelines and see if they apply to you.

        • Hey Raju,

          I highly doubt if travel ban is going to be uplifted anytime sooner, so please let me know if you want to plan a trip to Mexico together.

          Reply
          • Hey Nikhil, my family is planning trip through mexico. Let me know if u want to plan it together.

          • Hey Pratik,

            When are you planning to travel? Please let me know if all interested folks would like to create a what’s app group to keep everyone posted.

          • Hey Nikhil,

            Here is my contact +1 214 886 8695, Please add me to the whatsapp group if there is any.

          • Hey Nikhil & Raju,
            I am in the same boat. Affected by the Travel ban and is waiting till June 4th to see if any exceptions will be made or not.
            Can you please let me know if I can join you guys for the trip to Mexico.

      • Hi Nikhil,

        I’m also in the same boat, let me know if you have any info about travelling to Mexico. What about Srilanka can we travel and stay for 14 days?

        Reply
          • Nikhil,

            Could you please add me to the group as well, I am in same vote, my number is + 1 4153169639

          • Hello Nikhil,

            I am Shalabh and am stuck in the same situation as you guys.
            Moreover, I came to India on 2nd Jan as my Mom is ill and I had to be here for her treatment all this time.

            I am hanging by a thread here since I am nearing 180 days of being outside US plus my H-1B visa extension is due after 15th July

            Can you please add me to the grp too ? My phone number is –
            +13124047685

          • HI Nikhil, I am also in same boat Please add me in the group My number is +1 781 363 2149
            Srinivas

  19. I am in that situation too. But I have decided not to go back to the US because my brother was actually beaten up two weeks ago in front of his wife in the middel of the day. No one helped him. There is a lot of hatred even in California against H-1B. Unbelievable how much I have been seeing.

    Reply
  20. Does anyone know what the process is once/if somebody gets an NIE email approval? Do I need to schedule an emergency appointment for stamping? Or is email approval ok for boarding a flight and entry?

    Reply
    • I envy you lol! Congrats. You’re lucky. Just an email is enough. There should be a PDF of a letter attached to it.

      Reply
        • Luke – Can you please share briefly the supporting documentation that you had submitted in your request to the embassy? I’m on H1 too, and looking to apply for an NIE.

          Thanks!

          Reply
          • follow process on the consulate website and make your case for why you provide vital support in a critical infrastructure industry in the travel reason column. And then attach passport copy, current us visa and any documents showing proof of your travel justification. Oh also apply to consulate that issued your visa if you can

    • If you have a valid F1, and I-20 (check your travel signature – it should be less than a year old) then you don’t need to get anything stamped.

      Reply
  21. I work for a US Insurance company, mostly on a production database with sensitive data. My company cannot obviously provide access to work from home – India. Thus I have to return to the US asap to resume work. Also, I work on cleaning up unwanted data to protect customer-sensitive data and help the organization maintain standards for CCPA and GDPR.

    Can anyone confirm if I fall under NIE catogery.

    Reply
  22. I am currently on a valid stamped H1 B visa wanting to travel back. Due to the current travel ban, would I be considered exempt since my husband is a Permanent Resident?

    My current status – H1 B Visa stamped till September 2023
    My husband’s current status – GC Holder

    Reply
        • Yes need to carry the original marriage certificate and a copy. If your husband has sponsored you, you can carry those documents too.

          Regarding immigration, normally should not have, but one never knows with CBP. Also carry a copy of the proclamation that spouses of permanent residents are exempt.

          Reply
          • Thank you! Very helpful. I am on an independent H1B visa so will carry documents related to that.
            I managed to call CBP yesterday and they confirmed that I will be able to travel and should carry a copy of a marriage certificate as a proof.
            Since I will be travelling via Air India, would I have any issues with the ground staff questioning this?

  23. Hi

    I am holding H1B visa and stuck in India with my spouse and child(Indian Citizen)

    Planning to seek approval to USA Chennai consulate office by using the national interest category exception.

    Do i need to include my dependents details also in that mail ?

    OR

    WIll the NIE approval for H1 B will suffice for dependents also

    Reply
  24. I have a dropbox appointment in June and was scheduled with family (me + spouse + daughter) .I am in US and my family had already traveled to India and I was not going to India because of travel restrictions . The question is whether my family can leave the documents without the primary applicant or do they need to schedule another appointment.

    Reply
    • Dependent visa dropbox can be applied just by the dependent, my wife went for her H4 dropbox all by herself while i was in US.

      Reply
  25. I am having my marriage in a Temple in USA. Due to covid couldnt keep in India. My mom was able to come to USA, but my dad is still in India. Flight booked for May 21st to USA. but coz of USA restriction, i dont think he can travel to my wedding. Iam on H1B, Parents have Tourist Visa.

    Is there any way of him travelling to USA? please provide any ideas which could work. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Only option is for your dad to spend 14 days outside India. Only countries which allow Indian citizens without quarantine (but with negative covid test) are Maldives, Mexico and Egypt. Mexico is a good option since it is close to US and you keep your dad company till he finishes his 15 days outside US. Currently Mexico has no restrictions, but that might change.

      Reply
  26. Where my F1-graduate brothers and sisters at? I understand that the US is not letting any F1 undergrads and most master’s travel right now. But what about the Ph.D. students? Specifically, the STEM ones whose spring-summer time is kinda golden trying to get most research done. Also, what about those whose research is funded by DOE or NSF or some other government agency that falls under the critical infrastructure category. Please, share your experience here.
    Below is the link to the NC State’s Office of International Services website with a travel advisory for F1 students from India. They also include some advisory for STEM-OPT. As of now, no one got any information. Not even schools. Seems like DOS is being hush-hush and watching the situation before getting any more instructions out.

    https://internationalservices.ncsu.edu/2021/05/04/travel-restriction-updates-from-the-u-s-government/

    MASK-UP, SOCIAL DISTANCE, SANITIZE YOUR HANDS OFTEN, GET VACCINATED and maybe they will let us in to make up for the precious time lost.

    Reply
    • I was granted a NIE today, as an F-1 student pursing an internship in CISA industries. You can too, if you write a decent letter. Mine was about 3 pages long with at least 10 exhibits.

      Reply
        • It was the Mumbai consulate. The email was barely 2 paragraphs. It just informed me I have been registered in their system, and that I may travel up to 30 days from the date of the email. It warned me that I will need an NIE to travel, but the final decision falls on the CBP.

          Reply
          • Hey Shanaya,
            Congratulations! Can you please share your letter(which you submitted to embassy for NIE) on yashashvidave at gmail? That will be very helpful.

            Thank you
            Dave

  27. The International Students Office at University of Texas, Dallas has issued the following clarifications regarding F-1 students on OPT or STEM OPT:
    – F-1 visa holders on OPT or STEM OPT seeking to re-enter the U.S. after August 1, 2021 are exempted from the travel ban.
    They also stated that this implies :
    – F-1 students on Post-Completion OPT or the STEM Extension of OPT, if re-entering before August 1, will need to spend 14 days outside the listed geographical region before entering the U.S. Can enter directly from the listed geographical regions after August 1, 2021

    Has anyone else come across these clarifications in any other forum?

    Reply
    • Hello ! I have similar kind of question !
      One who is about to start the academics in june and have valid f1 vissa can they travel to usa after spending 14 days outside the listed geographical region ?

      Reply
      • Technically, that’s the loophole. You should be able to work the system. If you must, then travel somewhere like Iceland or Greenland. I would avoid middle-east because for obvious reasons. You don’t want to get looked at suspiciously at CBP. If you just go to Iceland/Greenland, I don’t see why they wouldn’t let you enter after 14 days.

        Reply
        • If our university provides online classes for summer And summer semester ends on 18th of august can we travel to usa in july as we have on going semster in august ?

          Reply
          • Yes – this is a direct quote from an email from the US Embassy in Delhi:

            “F and M visa holders who are ongoing students, including those on CPT or OPT, may resume their programs beginning August 1st and may travel up to 30 days prior to the resumption of the program.”

            But if you are a new student then you cannot enter prior to August 1.

            The 30-day rule doesn’t apply to new students according to the email I received from the embassy.

          • Is it possible to travel to usa when we have valid f1 vissa and have never been to usa , i am starting with my studies this summer itself and my semster starts on 21 june ends 18 august. Will i be able to enter united states in july ? Or i need to get a new i20 as i am taking my few classes online in order to start my semester

          • Yes – you can travel to the USA in July (that will be 30 days before your fall semester start date) or try your luck and enter at the end of summer semester. Presumably that will be a few more days than 30 (probably 40-45). It purely depends on CBP.

  28. My father is India Citizen and hold Us visitor visa but he is currently in dubai, can he travel to US? I’m a US Citizen

    Reply
    • I am afraid you have to quarantine in a third country which is not banned by US for 14 days before coming to US. I think F1 students are allowed directly who are joining their college but not Stem OPT who will be arriving to continue their job.

      Reply
  29. What if you are in the USA on OPT F-1 and want to go back home to visit for a couple of weeks. Can you re-enter the USA with the F-1 visa?

    Reply
  30. Hello- any thoughts? I plan to travel to India for two weeks and return (h1b holder) by May 20th. I understand that I cannot enter due to the recent travel ban. But, if I go and stay in a different country(say Iceland, not banned by the US) for 14 days and then travel to the US. Will there be any entry issues?

    Reply
    • Technically you should be allowed but everytime you enter USA you are at the mercy of a CBP officer, better talk to your atttorney.

      Reply
    • I was planning on doing the same thing. Turkey, Thailand and even Dubai has visa on arrival for Indian citizen with a valid US visa. I’m in India presently and I’m planning to go to Turkey (end of june) for 2 weeks and then fly to US (mid july). Will I have any problems ?

      Reply
      • Hi Suhail,
        Even I am struck in India and need to travel back. even I was thinking the same to travel to Turkey or Maldives for 14 days before heading to the USA. please let me know if you get any information on his possibility. I am trying my best to get this information form other sources and will keep you updated, if i hear anything.

        Reply
      • I think even Dubai has banned India. Turkey might be an option but would need a visa. I have a feeling embassies won’t be issuing new tourist visa at this moment

        Reply
    • Hi Skumar, do you know if Indian passport holders need visa for Iceland? I am in stuck in India and exploring ways to get back

      Reply
      • Iceland has quarantine requirements and Indian citizens will require Schengen visa. If you already have one, still will be subject to quarantine. Overall best are Maldives or Mexico and may be Egypt. If you have a valid US visa, no visa needed for Mexico. Maldives can be expensive though.

        Reply
    • Hi Skumar,
      What about going to russia which has direct flights from india and direct flights to USA? Will that be a valid option? I don’t think the situation will get any better in india til end of June at least.

      Any body who has anyother ideas or countries list that you can use to do 14 day quarantine and travel back to USA.

      Reply
      • Sorry to disappoint every one here, but US placed similar restrictions on UK and EU since March 2020, that is more than 14 months !!! Based on that unless something dramatic happens, expect these restrictions to continue for at least 6 months, if not a year or more.

        Unless the US companies start complaining loudly regarding admittance of H1b, these restrictions are here to stay for a while.

        Reply
  31. Hello,

    I will be starting my OPT this June and I have received my EAD card. I urgently need to travel to India for some weeks can I return back if the travel restrictions are not lifted to US before my OPT authorization date.

    Reply
  32. Hello,

    My wife has a valid US visa and travelled to India on April 27th. Based on the current US travel ban for India, will there be any issue if she travels back to USA on May 6th which is within the 14day limit mentioned in the order ? Can someone help with the query?

    Reply
    • It means that if you were in India in the past 14 days from May 4 you cannot travel to the US. It does not matter how long the person was in India.

      Reply
      • I am not you are right, I think if you were in India less than 14 days (irrespective dates) prior to entering US you should be ok, they did not mention “present in India for past 14 days starting May4th”. Here is the snapshot of proclamation:

        BUT AGAIN THIS HAS TO BE CHECKED WITH AIRLINES AND CBP
        *************************************************************
        Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. The entry into the United States, as nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.

        Reply
        • I think my interpretation is correct. The snapshot of the proclamation that you shared says that if you were physically present in India during the 14 day period.

          Reply
          • I think you are right, if you were present even for a single day in the past 14day period after May4th you will not be allowed entry.

          • Well, look at this video from Redbus2US from 1:30 mins.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVZ6RIyf1tc

  33. Hi,
    Myself(H1B), My Spouse (H4) and My Kid ( US Citizen) are stuck in india due to travel ban and our travel was reserved with qatar on 27/May. As per this statement mentioned in “Exceptions based on President Proclamation” section: “Parents or legal guardians of US Citizen or Green Card holder who are under 21 years of age”. I assume we are eligible, please confrim. If yes,
    1) Do we have to follow the same NIE process mentioned in this document.
    2) If not, do we have to wait until the travel ban clears.

    Please assit.

    Reply
    • Same here, I have a son (US Citizen) in India, I think we are exception but someone has to confirm and I think we should contact (email or call) CBP and make sure they do allow, although it is clearly mentioned in proclamation.

      Reply
      • Also we don’t need NIE, not applicable in this case. Here is the snap shot:
        https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/national-interest-exception-frequently-asked-questions/

        ***************************************************************
        The Proclamation does not apply to:

        Any non-U.S. citizen spouse of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR),
        Any non-U.S. citizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided that the U.S. citizen or LPR child is unmarried and under the age of 21,
        Any non-U.S. citizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided both the non-U.S. citizen and the U.S. citizen or LPR sibling are unmarried and under the age of 21,
        Any non-U.S. citizen who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or LPR, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications.
        Qualifying family members do not need a National Interest Exception or any preapproval from the Embassy or Consulates.Travelers should bring proof of relationship when initiating travel to the United States.Please note that we are unable to provide travelers with a letter or other document demonstrating proof of relationship issued by the Embassy or Consulates.

        Reply
          • I am also falling under same scenario. I will also try to get confirmation. Please update If you get any update. Thank you

          • I have reached out CBP Chicago via twitter message and haven’t received the reply yet. All, please update if anyone received a confirmation on this topic. Thanks

        • USAndIndia (@U.S. Embassy India) Tweeted: Non-U.S. citizen parents of minor US citizen children, including parents holding valid H-1B & H-4 visas, are not subject to travel suspension and may enter the United States without receiving an exception. Please be prepared to present proof of relationship to airline officials. https://twitter.com/usandindia/status/1389826727841460228?s=27

          Reply
  34. hello,
    I am joining an university as a postdoc and have a cap exempt H1B visa stamped. I was planning to travel in the month of July. Since it is academic purpose, can I travel?

    Reply
  35. Hey Kumar,

    Thanks you for helping us with your suggestions and advice,

    Do you think once the embassy opens after lockdowns are over in Delhi ,Mumbai and Chennai etc, do you think we still be able to get our H1b visa stamped even if the Travel Ban is still on and travel once the ban is lifted or travel to another country stay there for 14 days travel onwards .

    Reply
  36. I asked United Airline customer care about the travel ban. They said if an H1b is already in US then their dependents are exempted from the travel ban. My wife is going to travel on 7th May.
    I also explained to them that I have an approved i-140.

    Can anyone confirm what United Airlines says is right ?

    Reply
    • Manvith,
      As per the guidance that came out by State Dept, it is not true. Double check with Consulate to be sure.

      Reply
      • I have emailed Us travel docs to find out if they allow H4 if the current H1B holder is currently in US. I should get a reply by tomorrow.

        United Airlines still confirms H4 will be allowed. An H4 needs to carry their marriage certificate as an additional document for verification.

        Reply
          • Hi Sam,

            Please update. We are in the same boat and your answer will be a great help us. Thanks.

        • My wife with H4 Visa is also in India and I am on H-1B In USA. Please do share what you find out.
          Thanks in advance!

          Reply
          • Based on update on 05/12/2021
            Derivative family members accompanying or following to join a noncitizen who has been granted, would be reasonably expected to receive an NIE, or is otherwise not subject to the Proclamations and who is engaging in certain types of long-term employment, studies, or research lasting four weeks or more.

            So anyone know if Primary H1B is in USA and spouse needs to travel back to US also exempted ? Does she needs to get NIE as well?

        • Thanks Kumar for accurate information. H4 cannot fly , United Airlines also finally confirmed. I have cancelled the flight for my wife and will re-book when the travel ban is removed.

          Reply
          • badluck man, i am in the same boat, hope this ban ends soon/they allow dependents on humanitarian grounds.

          • https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfbesXOJAJf5fy9qzcR_0G4ZOc1Qm3jYX8LhBH2eJ9nlOWlcg/viewform?gxids=7628

            All the H1b and h4 visa stranded in India please fill this out!
            Thanks

          • I did not hear yet from the traveldocs. I suppose they will also have the same response that H4 cannot fly.

    • Hello Manvith,

      I believe the above exemption mentioned by United Airlines, i.e. H1B with I-140 in US and H4B in India is not TRUE. Did your wife finally board the United airline plane ? Please share your experience to the group as many of us is in the same situation.

      Reply
  37. I have an internship that starts in June, I need to be in the US to actually be in that internship program. I have no idea what to do. Called the consulates and they don’t have any response what so ever. They say anyone who wants to travel according to the purpose of their visa can travel I have an F1 and I am taking classes. Why is this so confusing?? Can someone help me?

    Reply
    • Shanaya,
      The guidance is clear for anyone starting after August 1st. But, for your current situation, as per the guidance, you cannot. You should write to the consulate and then confirm, before you travel. Do update how it goes.

      Reply
      • I wrote to the consulate and I got this automated reply while I wait for them to review my application.

        “Students with valid F or M visas and a valid I-20 form indicating a start date after August 1, 2021 may travel to the United States without requesting an exception. However, all other travelers that already have valid visas or ESTA approvals must receive approval for a national interest exception prior to travel.  Please note that without such approval, you are likely to be denied boarding or entry to the United States.”

        This suggests to me that the program start date needs to be August 1st 2021 or later on your I-20. I was issued an I-20 two years ago so my program start date is never going to be “August 1st, 2021 or later”.

        Upon further research I found out that they are issuing new F, M, E etc. visa with an annotation saying “NIE under PP on Novel Coronavirus”. So then I realised that anyone who’s a continuing student needs to apply for an NIE and is eligible to receive an NIE if they are travelling on an existing I-20 (issued before covid i.e. their first year in college would be 2020 or earlier). So I do believe that students can travel. This guidance is technically only applicable for students who will be starting college in Fall 2021.

        Please do correct me, if I am wrong. But this my perception of their guidance.

        Reply
        • My application for the NIE got rejected from Mumbai Consulate. Below is the reply:
          Greetings,

          This e-mail is to inform you that the U.S. Consulate General Mumbai has carefully reviewed your request for a National Interest Exception to the April 30 Presidential Proclamation restricting travel from India to the United States in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
          We are unable to approve National Interest Exceptions for F visa holders with a program start date before August 1, 2021. This includes continuing students and those who have already been issued a visa for the summer semester. Students with a program start date before August 1, 2021 should contact their respective educational institutions to discuss their options.

          Reply
          • If anyone is interested in exploring the option of travelling to other country, stay there for 14 days, and then travel to US, please let me know. Thank you.

          • Mumbai Consulate is savage. Didn’t give much info. Delhi consulate included the following:

            “F and M visa holders who are ongoing students, including those on CPT or OPT, may resume their programs beginning August 1st and may travel up to 30 days prior to the resumption of the program. No further NIE request will be necessary at that time.”

            You may or may not be able to enter on the 2nd or 3rd of July. Really depends on your luck. Maybe try getting a letter of support for travel from your school. If you are a graduate student then schools are usually more understanding in that situation. That could be a good strategy.

            Flying to another country for 14 days and then to the US could be risky as well. No one knows where new Covid-19 cases are going to pop out. Either way, I wish you luck and hopefully, things will get better by the end of this month.

          • When did you apply for NIE? I still haven’t heard back from them – also in Mumbai consulate. I am exploring travel to Mexico. But it is not safe- they already have a level 4 advisory going for Mexico. I would also suggest Bahamas to be extremely safe. But in my opinion, US has been very slow on banning countries in general so Mexico sounds like a reasonable choice to me.

      • Update: received a NIE 15 days after initial application. NIE is valid for 30 days. I wrote a 3 page justification and added about 10 exhibits- Passport, visa, travel history, latest I-94, and internship documents (2 of them), resume, registration evidence for in-person summer classes, essential worker letter from employer, and some others.

        Reply
        • In the justification letter- mentioned the CISA framework, mentioned the growth of my industry and the national importance, mentioned my unique qualification for that internship (and how I would be irreplaceable lol), briefly touched upon summer classes, wrote in detail about how I am a low risk traveller – I’ve been self-isolating at home in India (only been in contact with family), no one in my family or I have been in contact with anyone positive for Covid, referenced CDC framework for risk of Covid (made a case with evidence of how I don’t fall into that category. Eg- I don’t have pre-existing conditions, I’m not above the age of 65, and I’m not pregnant or trying to get pregnant). Also mentioned that I am fully vaccinated (by WHO approved covishield) and that I plan to self-isolate in my apartment.

          Everything I said I either provided exhibits to reference or cited using Chicago manual style 17th edition with cross referencing features in the PDF document and the email.

          I hope this wasn’t a long response, but it helps those who really need to travel to the US. Good luck everyone!

          Reply
          • Remember strategy is about being different and you have to show how you are different from others trying to get an NIE and how they don’t have a choice but to approve you.

    • I am exactly in the same situation. I am a continuing F1 student and I have registered for the summer semester (starting from June 7th). I also have an internship this summer.

      Reply
      • Yes, apparently a lot of people are. If you work in critical infrastructure sectors you might be able to apply for an NIE. Otherwise please look for other countries where you can wait for 14 days and then fly out.

        Reply
        • I am in the same boat. I have an internship this summer that is critical to my research field and proposed deadlines. I wrote to the consulate asking for an exemption under NIE. Please, share whatever your experience was and if you have gotten a reply from them already.

          Reply
          • I have also applied for exemption under NIE. Please let me know if you hear anything. I will do the same. Thank you.

          • Yes of course. I submitted an app on Monday. I still haven’t heard from them. They said they are trying to reply within 14 days, but give no guarantees.

        • My NIE application was rejected 🙁 They are not processing NIEs for F and M visa holders whatsoever……

          Reply
          • My application for NIE was also rejected. I am thinking of travelling to some other country, stay there for 14 days, and then travel to US.

        • Mexico, Bahamas, Maldives (Indians can reside in the uninhabited islands), Dubai (if you can book a private jet), Dominican Republic, Costa Rica — Indians are allowed to transit through Europe so flights should not be a problem.

          Reply
        • Lufthansa is the easiest. Flying from Mumbai to Cancun via Frankfurt. But I’m not travelling just yet. Embassy still hasn’t replied to my email.

          Reply
          • In case your NIE gets rejected (I hope it doesn’t) and you wish to travel to Cancun next month then let me know. If you are down then maybe we can make some plans together accordingly.

            I hoping that travel restrictions loosen up for continuing F-1 students who are vaccinated.

          • Thanks Rishabh. How long did it take for the embassy to reply to your email? I hear so many F1 students already got their replies, but I haven’t received anything.

          • Oh really!? Do you know anyone who got approved? If so, what was their case?

            I applied on the 5th of this month and they got back to me on the 7th. They didn’t even care that me and my family is fully vaccinated 🙄
            I don’t get why they won’t allow people who are vaccinated and got a legit reason to travel. I am losing precious research time and my NSF grant is experiencing loss of time and funds. They didn’t care about that either.

          • I am so sorry to hear that. I don’t know anyone whose case was approved. But at least they had a reply. I think you should definitely travel to a third country. But travel to Bahamas instead of Mexico. Mexico is on level 4 advisory, and cases are rising. Traveling to Bahamas seems much safer at this point.

    • Nareen,
      They are not related. H1B 2022 season is still with USCIS, one can work in US only after Oct 1st. In any case, even if you have got USCIS approval, you cannot get stamping until the consulates open.

      Reply
  38. My wife is on H4 and her flight on May 3rd Morning got cancelled. They have rebooked for May 7th. But since she is on H4 Visa I don’t think she can board the flight. It’s like everything went wrong at the same time and now I don’t know when I will meet my wife again. I hope they add H4 who spouse is already in USA to the exemptions list

    Reply
  39. My wife and I are stuck in India, not getting any direct flights to USA. We are planning to travel to Maldives and stay there for 14 days, take flight to USA from Male. We have an option to fly with Qatar airlines ( layover in Doha ).

    Are there any other restrictions than COVID test in 48 hours before departure?

    Any other suggestions to fly back to the USA?

    Reply
    • Hi, I am also looking for the option that you had mentioned above for my wife to return back. Can you please ping me at +15179747345 to discuss more about this? Thanks!

      Reply
    • KK,
      That is an option many tried in the past. You could consider that. It is better to double check with consulate before you make plans to be sure.

      Reply
      • Kumar, when you say many have tried this in the past, exactly who are you referring to as this ban is brand new? Are you talking about people from EU/UK?

        Reply
    • Hi KK, I am also exploring this option, please let us know how this goes. As per the language of the ban it is not specific to citizenship and only applies to physical presence, so technically quarantining in a green country for 14 days should make you exempt from the ban, but I want to know if someone has actually done this, and if there were any issues at the port of entry? Please update us.

      Reply
      • Technically, if you are admissible under regular travel (prior to May 3) then one should not have an issue, as long as you can demonstrate that your stay in US is genuine for tourist visa holders.

        But not sure about H1b, how will the CBP interpret as it is clear that the person is going to US to work.

        Reply
  40. Hi – My Wife and Son in USA , while my son is a US Citizen. I am in India currently planning to travel on 9th of May. As per proclamation – Would I be eligible to travel.

    iv) 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;

    Reply
  41. Hi!
    I am in India with my wife and 2 yr old daughter (who is a US citizen) on vacation. Can I travel back alone to the US next week?
    My wife can not travel because her visa appointment is next month and my daughter will come with her later.
    Should I contact US CBP or US Consulates in India on this topic?

    Reply
    • I have the same question, I’m trying to find out if travelling alone is possible but no luck so far. Please post if you have update

      Reply
  42. This rediculous not to consider dependents of visa holders who are already in USA. Even Trump considered them on humanitarian ground. My wife and kids are stuck in India. I have I – 140 approved.. is there any chance that they will be considered under Green card category ?

    Reply
    • I am with you on this…. My wife and kid are back home… I thought they shud atleast consider this case…

      Families are stranded…. I am hoping this is considered…

      Reply
    • Trump’s ban was not based on Covid, it was more economic and included more categories – spouses and dependents of green card holders.. But this ban, hopefully temporary, is for Covid related.

      Reply
  43. Kumar, My wife is stuck in India and will not be able to travel as she doesn’t fall under any of the exemptions. One option that I am exploring is to travel to Sri Lanka or Mexico and stay there for 14 days and then travel to US from there. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Reply

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