Facilitating legitimate travel a top priority: American diplomat on allowing Indian students to go to the US

The US mission in India is “actively working” to accommodate as many pupil visa candidates as doable in July and August, and facilitating their reliable journey remained a prime precedence for it, a senior American diplomat mentioned on Sunday.

Don Heflin, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs on the US embassy, additionally mentioned that the US-bound college students won’t require any proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the nation. They may want a unfavourable report of their COVID-19 take a look at taken inside 72 hours previous to their departure.

There was rising nervousness amongst a sizeable variety of Indian college students aspiring to fly to the US for increased research in view of sure restrictions in getting visa appointments as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

The embassy will begin giving visa interview slots for Indian college students from Monday.

“We recognise the stress and nervousness this has triggered to college students and their households, and we’re actively working to accommodate as many pupil visa candidates as doable in July and August. Facilitating reliable pupil journey to america stays a prime precedence for the US Mission to India,” Heflin advised PTI in an interview.

The official was requested concerning the rising uncertainty among the many Indian college students eager to journey to the US, which had imposed contemporary journey restrictions in Could.

“College students returning to educational programmes that resume on or after August 1 might journey to america as much as 30 days earlier than the programme resumes. There is no such thing as a Nationwide Curiosity Exception required on this state of affairs,” he mentioned.

“We advocate persevering with college students focus on their particular resumption plans with their respective universities to develop a journey timeline,” Heflin mentioned.

The Nationwide Curiosity Exceptions (NIE) permit journey to the US for individuals whose entry is taken into account of nationwide curiosity.

“We intend to begin an intensive two months of interviewing pupil visa candidates on July 1. We’ll plan to open as many appointments as we are able to safely accommodate, primarily based on native pandemic situations throughout India,” Heflin mentioned.

“Scholar visa candidates don’t want an expedited appointment to schedule their visa interview. On June 14, we are going to open July and August appointments for college students,” he added.

Requested about apprehensions referring to vaccination, the official mentioned proof of vaccination will not be required to enter america.

“Please observe that proof of a unfavourable COVID-19 take a look at consequence, taken inside 72 hours of your flight’s departure, is required to board a flight and for entry into america.

“Whereas proof of vaccination will not be required to enter america, particular person colleges or establishments might set their very own necessities. The US schooling system operates independently from the federal authorities, and college students ought to seek the advice of intently with their host establishment to make sure compliance with particular person vaccination necessities,” he added.

Heflin mentioned there are greater than 4,500 accredited universities within the US that function autonomously, and the coverage adopted by one faculty for its college students and educating group might not be the identical as that for one more one.

Requested if an exception might be thought of for a mother or father who needs to accompany a pupil headed to the US, the official mentioned mother and father travelling to the nation, in that case, might be categorised as vacationers.

“Vacationer journey stays prohibited pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 10199,” he mentioned.

In view of surging COVID-19 infections in India, President Joe Biden authorised a journey ban for sure nonimmigrants from India underneath a Presidential Proclamation that got here into impact on Could 4.

“Presidential Proclamation 10199 solely applies to non-citizens who’ve been bodily current in India inside the 14 days previous their utility for entry to america. The US Embassy and US Consulates don’t present recommendation on particular journey planning,” the official mentioned.

He was requested if a pupil can fly to a different nation to use for a US pupil visa, and keep quarantined there for 14 days earlier than coming into the US.

“Please observe that F and M-visa holders travelling from India will be capable to enter the US inside 30 days of a brand new programme begin date or programme resumption date that’s on or after August 1. Because of this some college students might be eligible to journey as early as July 2. No Nationwide Curiosity Exception is required in these instances,” he mentioned.

Heflin mentioned pupil visa candidates with a cancelled appointment might want to make a brand new appointment and that new pupil visa appointments might be made out there on a first-come, first-served foundation.

Requested if dependents of somebody having a sound H1B visa are thought of for NIE waiver, he mentioned such individuals, who’ve particular plans to journey and may show their qualification for an NIE, might contact the embassy or consulate.

He mentioned nonimmigrant visa holders, together with these having H1-B and who will not be topic to Presidential Proclamation 10199 primarily based on their familial relationship to a US citizen or LPR (Lawful Everlasting Resident) partner or single minor little one don’t want an NIE.

“Such travellers ought to convey proof of the qualifying relationship to current to airline officers when initiating journey to america,” he mentioned.

To a question on whether or not rapid relations of a US citizen can get an expedited visa if the US citizen is planning to journey quickly, Heflin mentioned expedited visa appointments are adjudicated primarily based on the applicant’s objective of journey.

“Visa candidates with an pressing have to journey to the US, for instance, for lifesaving medical therapy, might apply for an expedited visa appointment…

“Candidates requesting an expedited appointment should additionally submit proof that they aren’t topic to Presidential Proclamation 10199 or might in any other case qualify for a nationwide curiosity exception from these journey restrictions,” he mentioned.

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