The US mission in India is “actively working” to accommodate as many pupil visa candidates as attainable in July and August, and facilitating their legitimate travel remained a top precedence for it, a senior American diplomat stated on Sunday.
Don Heflin, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs on the US embassy, additionally stated that the US-bound college students won’t require any proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter the nation. They will want a unfavourable report of their Covid-19 check taken inside 72 hours prior to their departure.
There has been rising nervousness amongst a sizeable variety of Indian college students aspiring to fly to the US for larger research in view of sure restrictions in getting visa appointments due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The embassy will begin giving visa interview slots for Indian college students from Monday.
“We recognise the stress and anxiety this has caused to students and their families, and we are actively working to accommodate as many student visa applicants as possible in July and August. Facilitating legitimate student travel to the United States remains a top priority for the US Mission to India,” Heflin informed PTI in an interview.
The official was requested concerning the rising uncertainty among the many Indian college students wanting to travel to the US, which had imposed contemporary travel restrictions in May.
“Students returning to academic programmes that resume on or after August 1 may travel to the United States up to 30 days before the programme resumes. There is no National Interest Exception required in this situation,” he stated.
“We recommend continuing students discuss their specific resumption plans with their respective universities to develop a travel timeline,” Heflin stated.
The National Interest Exceptions (NIE) permit travel to the US for individuals whose entry is taken into account of nationwide curiosity.
“We intend to start an intensive two months of interviewing student visa applicants on July 1. We will plan to open as many appointments as we can safely accommodate, based on local pandemic conditions across India,” Heflin stated.
“Student visa candidates don’t want an expedited appointment to schedule their visa interview. On June 14, we will open July and August appointments for students,” he added.
Asked about apprehensions relating to vaccination, the official stated proof of vaccination will not be required to enter the United States.
“Please note that proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, taken within 72 hours of your flight’s departure, is required to board a flight and for entry into the United States.
“While proof of vaccination will not be required to enter the United States, particular person faculties 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 guarantee compliance with particular person vaccination necessities,” he added.
Heflin said there are more than 4,500 accredited universities in the US that operate autonomously, and the policy adopted by one school for its students and teaching community may not be the same as that for another one.
Asked if an exception will be considered for a parent who wishes to accompany a student headed to the US, the official said parents travelling to the country, in that case, will be classified as tourists.
“Tourist travel stays prohibited pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 10199,” he said.
In view of surging Covid-19 infections in India, President Joe Biden authorised a travel ban for certain non-immigrants from India under a Presidential Proclamation that came into effect on May 4.
“Presidential Proclamation 10199 solely applies to non-citizens who’ve been bodily current in India inside the 14 days previous their software for entry to the United States. The US Embassy and US Consulates don’t present recommendation on particular travel planning,” the official stated.
He was requested if a pupil can fly to one other nation to apply for a US pupil visa, and keep quarantined there for 14 days earlier than getting into the US.
“Please be aware that F and M-visa holders travelling from India will likely be in a position to enter the US inside 30 days of a new programme begin date or programme resumption date that’s on or after August 1.This signifies that some college students will likely be eligible to travel as early as July 2. No National Interest Exception is required in these instances,” he said.
Heflin said student visa applicants with a cancelled appointment will need to make a new appointment and that new student visa appointments will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Asked if dependents of someone having a valid H1B visa are considered for NIE waiver, he said such people, who have definite plans to travel and can demonstrate their qualification for an NIE, may contact the embassy or consulate.
He said non-immigrant visa holders, including those having H1-B and who are not subject to Presidential Proclamation 10199 based on their familial relationship to a US citizen or LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) spouse or unmarried minor child do not need an NIE.
“Such travellers ought to convey proof of the qualifying relationship to current to airline officers when initiating travel to the United States,” he said.
To a query on whether immediate family members of a US citizen can get an expedited visa if the US citizen is planning to travel soon, Heflin said expedited visa appointments are adjudicated based on the applicant’s purpose of travel.
“Visa candidates with an pressing want to travel to the US, for instance, for lifesaving medical remedy, might apply for an expedited visa appointment…
“Applicants requesting an expedited appointment must also submit evidence that they are not subject to Presidential Proclamation 10199 or may otherwise qualify for a national interest exception from these travel restrictions,” he stated.