Hours after President Joe Biden made an announcement restricting the entry of Indians beginning May 4 due to the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the U.S. State Department exempted certain categories of students, journalists, academics and individuals from the same.
Issued by Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the exemptions are in line with the recent exemption of travellers from China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa.
In a statement, the State Department said that Secretary Blinken decided to apply the same National Interest Exceptions to certain categories of individuals from India in order to “facilitate legitimate travel” to the US.
Among the various categories of people, also include those who hold green cards along with their non-citizen children and spouses below the age of 21 and those with legal permanent residency.
The State Department further added that international students looking forward to commencing studies this fall, journalists, academics and those who offer critical infrastructure support to countries affected by the global pandemic would qualify for the exemptions. This includes qualified individuals who have been in India, Iran, Brazil, China and South Africa.
The new travel restrictions have been put in place for an indefinite period, which will require another proclamation by the President to end it.
The decision was made at the recommendations of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which pointed out the high Covid-19 caseloads in India and various variants of the virus spreading across the country.
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