US President Joe Biden has imposed restrictions on travel from India that stops most non-American citizens from entering the US for an indefinite period from May 4, citing the surging COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Biden issued a proclamation on Friday restricting travel from India starting on May 4.
Here is what you need to know about the restrictions and who are affected:
Why is the Biden administration restricting travel from India?
The U.S. is suspending almost all travel from India beginning May 4 during a devastating Covid-19 surge that has shattered global records for new cases. The country of about 1.3 billion people has seen infections rise by more than 1 million in the past week alone, bringing its total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to more than 18 million. The death toll has surpassed 200,000 and is expected to be much higher. The surge hit as India’s government loosened restrictions and struggled to vaccinate its population, with variants potentially serving as an accelerant.
When will the U.S.-India travel ban start?
The travel ban goes into effect May 4. Those who fall under the exemptions will still be allowed to travel to the U.S. after the restrictions go into effect. The travel ban is indefinite until lifted by President Biden.
Is everyone banned from traveling to the U.S. from India?
The travel ban won’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Other individuals who might qualify for exemptions include humanitarian workers, certain journalists and academics, and students commencing studies in the fall, according to a determination by the State Department. The exceptions mirror those for other countries affected by pandemic-related travel restrictions. Most other travelers who have been in India during a 14-day period before their attempted entry into the U.S. would be prohibited.
Do the people still allowed to travel to the U.S. from India face any requirements when they arrive?
Individuals who are exempt from the travel ban would still need to meet other U.S. requirements for international travelers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently requires that all U.S.-bound air travelers have proof of a negative Covid-19 test result no more than three days before arrival, regardless of vaccination status. Travelers are then required to take another test three to five days following their arrival in the U.S. and to self-quarantine.
How many airlines and flights are operating between the U.S. and India?
United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Air India are the only two airlines currently offering nonstop flights between the U.S. and India. United operates four round-trip flights between the two countries each day. Air India in April had between three and six flights scheduled each day, according to Cirium, a provider of aviation data.
What if you already have flights booked from India?
Unless travelers fall under the exemptions outlined by the U.S. government, they will be prohibited from entering the country after May 4 even if they already booked tickets. A United spokesman said in a statement that the airline will comply with the new restrictions and will issue refunds to travelers who had already booked flights and are barred from entering the U.S.
Have other countries banned travel from India?
More countries have effectively banned travel from India during the surge. The list includes the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Several governments have urged residents to avoid all travel to India or intensified quarantine requirements on those coming from the country.
How many people travel from India to the U.S. each year?
Residents of India made about 1.5 million visits to the U.S. in 2019, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.
What other countries face bans or restrictions on traveling to the U.S.?
Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. has banned most travelers from the U.K., the European Union, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, China and Iran. The U.S. recently relaxed travel restrictions for some international students, academics and journalists.