Visa Crunch

US Embassy: allows student visa holders whose classes begin from August 1

“Under the current Presidential Proclamation, students who have an approved visa are authorized to enter the US under one condition i.e. if their classes begin on or after August 1, 2021,” the US Embassy in India tweeted on 2nd June when the travel ban from India took effect. 

However, they have been unable to grant exceptions for F visa holders who will begin their studies before August 1, 2021. It is strongly advised by the embassy that the students contact their respective institutions to explore the alternatives if the joining date is before August 1.

President Joe Biden signed a proclamation on April 30, 2021, prohibiting the admission of certain nonimmigrant travelers who were in India, effective May 4. It does not apply to US citizens, immigrants, or lawful permanent residents. Foreign diplomats on certain visa classes, as well as certain family members of US citizens/lawful permanent residents, are among the exceptions.

According to the US Department of State’s website, there is yet another exception for air and sea crews flying to the US on C, D, or C1/D visas.

It also states that students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs who are subject to their geographic Covid proclamations due to their presence in India, China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa will only be eligible for a National Interest Exception if their academic program begins on or after August 1, 2021.

F-1 and M-1 visa holders who plan to start or continue an academic program on or after August 1, 2021, do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to request a National Interest Exception to travel.

They are allowed to enter the US 30 days before the commencement of their academic courses. Students seeking new F-1 or M-1 visas should verify the status of visa services at their local embassy or consulate; those determined to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will be immediately evaluated for a national interest exception to travel.

In the wake of a disastrous second wave of Covid-19 infections, the Indian embassy in Washington sought out Indian students in the US in a bid to rebut what it called a “biassed and negative narrative” about India in the international media recently.

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