Seyfarth Synopsis:  The President's order expanding travel restrictions to include India will have a significant impact on U.S. companies with operations in India, as well as those companies with Indian national employees who seek to travel to their home country.  This travel restriction will not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or individuals with certain relationships to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Subsequent to our Legal Update, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation to prohibit  foreign nationals from entering the U.S. after being physically present within India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S. 

Certain foreign nationals will not be subject to the most recent set of travel restrictions.  Notable exceptions include the following:

  • Lawful permanent residents ("Green Card" holders);
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents;
  • Parents or guardians of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are unmarried and under twenty-one years old;
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, provided that both individuals are unmarried and under twenty-one years old; and
  • S. military personnel, along with their spouses and children.

Similar to other COVID-19 travel restrictions already in effect, the proclamation has reserved an exception for any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest.  The U.S. Department of State is expected to issue guidance on the qualifications to apply for a National Interest Exception (NIE) waiver in India.  Additional exceptions are detailed in the proclamation itself.

Following its implementation at 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, this travel restriction will remain in effect until terminated by the President.  The proclamation will not apply to foreign nationals aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States, provided that the flight departed prior to the travel ban's effective time.  

This news follows the U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently limiting its non-immigrant visa appointments only for emergencies at several of its posts in India.  Individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa in India should expect significant delays.

Seyfarth will issue subsequent alerts as the situation continues to develop.  Should you have any questions, please contact one of the authors or your Seyfarth Shaw contact.

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