India is currently experiencing one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks, and an oxygen shortage is causing extra strife to those who need treatment. As a result, there is a temporary travel ban from India to the United States.
India Travel Ban Starts May 4, 2021
The Biden Administration issued a Presidential proclamation on April 30, 2021, mentioning a travel ban from India beginning on May 4, 2021.
As of the press release, the nation of 1.3 billion people is reporting an average of 300,000 new COVID-19 cases each day. Many of the cases are from variant strain B.1.617. Two other variant strains first confirmed in the United Kingdom and South Africa are impacting India and the world as well.
The CDC recommends proactive measures to prevent the potential spread of the B.1.617 variant. As a result, certain travelers will not easily enter the United States from India until the travel restrictions ease.
Who Does The India Travel Ban Affect?
The May 4, 2021 travel ban from India to the U.S. impacts nonimmigrants and noncitizens of the United States that have been in India for any or all of the last 14 days. These travelers must first stay in another country until their last day in India was at least 15 days before.
Once these travelers qualify for entering the United States, they will take a mandatory COVID-19 diagnostic test. This test applies to all returning U.S. residents as well.
Other countries are also issuing travel restrictions to discourage travel from India. Airlines are issuing refunds and rebooking options to help affected travelers return to their home country or find another travel destination.
Who Can Re-Enter The United States From India?
U.S. residents and qualifying non-residents are exempt from the travel restrictions.
The following exemptions apply to these travelers:
- U.S. citizens
- Lawful permanent residents
- Noncitizen nationals
- Any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- A noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (the child must be unmarried and under age 21)
- A noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or permanent residents (both must be unmarried and under age 21)
- Any noncitizen who is the child, foster child or ward of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Prospective adoptee seeking to enter the U.S. pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications
- Any noncitizen traveling by request of the U.S. government for various purposes
Qualified travelers can re-enter the United States directly from India.
Since January 26, 2021, any person coming into the United States must obtain a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days before flying back to the U.S. This mandatory test applies to fully vaccinated travelers. Recovered COVID-19 patients can waive the mandatory test by showing documentation of a recovery from the last 90 days.
After Traveling To India
The CDC has different post-travel guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Fully vaccinated travelers should practice these guidelines after traveling abroad:
- Take a viral test 3-5 days after travel (in addition to the re-entry test)
- Self-monitor for potential symptoms
- Follow state and local recommendations
No self-quarantine is necessary but should isolate if they detect potential symptoms.
Nonvaccinated travelers should stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days but get a viral test between days 3 and 5. Travelers that don’t get a post-travel test are advised to self-isolate for 10 full days after returning from a trip.
Unvaccinated travelers should also avoid contact with high-risk individuals for the first 14 days. Following any state and local guidelines is essential too.
Who Can Fly To India From The U.S.?
The CDC currently assigns a Level 4 COVID-19 risk level to India. This is the highest risk level and indicates a “very high” risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. Going further, the CDC only recommends flying to India for essential reasons and to be fully vaccinated if flying to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Once arriving in India, it’s recommended to practice these actions:
- Social distance at least 6 feet between people
- Wear a mask
- Avoid crowds
- Wash hands frequently
India Entry Requirements
While the U.S. doesn’t restrict travel to India, the Indian government has several entry requirements for India.
Essential Travel Only
Travel for tourism and most short-term, nonessential travel is not permitted at the present moment. Traveling for essential reasons, returning residents and business travel is allowable.
Mandatory Pre-Travel Test
Since February 22, 2021, India requires all flyers to have a negative pre-travel test to enter the country. This requirement applies to fully vaccinated travelers too.
International travelers can upload their test results to the Air Suvidha portal before arriving. Passengers can also complete a self-declaration form online to expedite the customs process.
Self-Monitor For 14 Days
Passengers coming from the United States can have fewer travel restrictions than other nations with a higher infection rate. For example, travelers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa must self-quarantine for the first 7 days.
But U.S. travelers from the United States only have to undergo a thermal test at the airport and present a paper copy of the self-declaration form. No mandatory quarantine is necessary, but they will need to self-monitor for the first 14 days for potential symptoms.
Local curfews and social distancing measures may also be active to prevent transmission.
Other U.S. Travel Bans
In addition to India, non-U.S. residents and qualifying permanent residents and non-citizens cannot enter the United States from these countries:
- European Schengen area (i.e., France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, etc.)
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
Affected travelers cannot enter the United States if they have been in any of the above countries for the past 14 days.
Once again, these restrictions don’t apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and immediate family members. But it’s also difficult to travel to these other high-risk countries for unessential travel due to their own local travel restrictions.
India is possibly the worst coronavirus hotspot to start May 2021. Many nations, including the United States, are prohibiting non-U.S. citizens and residents from flying to India until the situation improves. Hopefully, the situation can improve soon to reopen the travel corridor between two of the world’s largest countries.