After the US announced travel restrictions on India, set to commence on May 4, the Biden administration announced that certain categories of students, academics, and journalists would be exempted from the new set of travel restrictions.
As part of the State Department’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary Blinken decided today to extend the same set of National Interest Exceptions to India as he had previously applied to other regions facing travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Academics, journalists, and individuals providing critical infrastructure support in countries subject to a geographic COVID-19 restriction may qualify for a National Interest Exception. According to a State Department release, this includes qualified applicants present in India, Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa.
As the global situation evolves, the State Department continues to seek ways to process more visa requests under science-based guidance from health authorities and with the health and safety of staff and applicants as its primary concern.
On Friday, the State Department announced that it would send a top career diplomat to India when the country is facing a devastating outbreak of coronavirus.
According to the State Department, Daniel Smith, the former acting secretary of State and acting deputy secretary of State, will temporarily serve as the charge d’affaires at the American Embassy in New Delhi.
On Friday, India’s state health department reported 3,86,452 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. This is the biggest single-day peak in the number of COVID cases since the epidemic began last year.