The United States will ban some travel from India starting on May 4, 2021, a move that is long overdue in light of the USA’s use of travel bans as a tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. Even with the India travel ban, however, many exemptions will apply.
USA Introduces Partial India Travel Ban
While travel to the USA from China, where the virus has been largely stopped, and European Union, where the virus is under control in several nations, is banned for non-US citizens, the doors from India have been left wide open. This despite an alarming surge in cases and deaths that health experts believe are vastly undercounted.
Travel bans simply do not make sense on scientific grounds if they are applied to statistically low-risk countries and not to high-risk countries.
But earlier today the United Sates announced travel from India would be partially banned effective May 4, 2021.
India Travel Ban Exemptions
The ban is “partial” in that several exceptions apply, including for:
- U.S. citizens and permanent residents
- “Essential travelers”
- Family members of U.S. citizens
Foreign nationals will be banned if they have traveled to India within the last 14 days, even with a negative RT PCR test.
We are still waiting for more details on these exceptions, but if they are similar to bans imposed on travelers from other nations (including the European Union, United Kingdom, and South Africa) they include:
- J-1 academic and research scholars
- Workers who directly offer “vital support” of U.S. critical infrastructure sectors
- Travelers engaged in activities related to humanitarian relief, public health response, and national security
Exceptions no longer include the following workers and likely will not for India either:
- Professional athletes
- Technical experts and specialists
- Senior managers and executives
- Treaty traders and investors
(These exceptions are broadly called NIEs or National Interest Exceptions)
With the advance notice provided, non-exempt travelers have until Tuesday May 4, 2021 to enter the USA. Testing requirements will still apply.
Flights To India Will Continue
In terms of flights, at least for the short-term after the ban take effects, I expect carriers to continue service as usual. Currently, only Air India and United Airlines operate nonstop flights between the USA and India.
Even after passenger travel is restricted, the number of flights from India to the USA will not be restricted and the US has pledged $100 million in humanitarian aid to India as it faces a collapse of its fragile health infrastructure.
A United spokesperson indicated:
“The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we will comply with all government regulations and travel orders. United is proud of the essential air service we provide to connect our two countries and we’ll continue to support India during this time of need.”
Flights to other restricted regions have continued after flight bans and there is no reason to think United or Air India will suspend service anytime soon.
With cases continuing to rise in India (the nation set another record today in total number of new cases, 386,452), the travel ban was highly appropriate if the U.S. is going to be in the business of banning travel. In fact, it came weeks too late.
But there are several exceptions to the ban and hopefully the ban will be short-lived and India will succeed in getting cases under control once again.
This is off topic- Is today the last day to buy UA Basic Economy with free change? Starting tomorrow, there will be no change for UA Basic Economy. Could someone please confirm this for me?
Keep out those foreigners so Covid can’t get into the USA! What a plan!
Travel bans are absolutely pointless and impose great harm for zero gain.
More gross racism and xenophobia from the Biden administration, which still has the pointless Chinese travel ban in place despite the fact that China has had Covid under control for over a year.
Why does this administration hate brown peoples so much? This is disgusting.
Too little too late.. should have blocked the flights from India 2 weeks ago. We do not want their mutant variant in the US. Hate brown people? Use common sense India Guy… do you want to go back to India right now? Let it cool down over there and then re-instate the travel.
I think be cause there is a Covid outbreak running rampant through parts of India I assume if there was Ebola running through Africa as the Covid is in India and a travel ban was imposed that would be against African’s ? Why does everything always have to do with race? I was on a plane one day boarding in First, a late arrival came on and put his bag in the overhead a row back ( he was sitting next to me) well the gentleman in that row seat got up and threw a fit because the late boarder had shoved his lap top case in ( bad form) well they verbally got in it, FA came to cool things down then the gentleman sitting next to me who was the late arrival cried racism ( he was Pakistani I knew this because he told me later). That was it I said to him loudly and firmly I never hear anyone say any thing about racism so shut up. Everyone looked at me and guess what quiet ( I am tall and not so skinny). This gentleman clearly when caught tried to play the race issue. I hope this clears publication
@Matthew, can individuals still transit through the USA enroute to another country?
Only if they are allowed entrance into USA.
OMG, you did post a trip report! It is you, 007!
Oi, that’s a horrible shot of me!
@T – have you thought about calling UA???
Modi is doing for India COVID, what Trump did for the US.
India deserves to be banned while cases are this high
Trump said we might have a vaccine available in 2020. His opponents mocked and criticized this assertion. People like Governor Cuomo and then-Senator Harris sowed doubt about the safety of the vaccine. Anyone who is getting infected made the decision to put himself in a place where he could be infected. What I blame all governments for is not emphasizing the need to have well ventilated air and making people think that they could drop dead from COVID-19 anywhere. Even being indoors with a bunch of infected people won’t necessarily get you sick if you keep moving and leave within a few minutes. The worst thing to be is fat. People need that drilled into their brains. You can’t help getting older. You can help being fat. Healthy people are paying the price of lockdown for fat people. India has a far larger problem with obesity than one might expect.
It’s kind of too late. Other countries that have tight borders are ok for them to implement now becuz any arrivals would usually caught the virus during quarantine or testing at the airport. But for US, with no strict borders the new variant is probably already out there.
Please stop your drivel dear Trumpette. This is happening because morons thought Covid had bypassed India ans chose to run around maskless
I never voted for Trump, but your TDS-addled mind keeps thinking I did.
Stay away from unventilated spaces where you are stuck with infectious people for extended periods of time. It’s not that hard to do unless you are an “essential worker.” I feel for those folx, but the people who can work from home and yet fear imminent death from COVID-19 are in need of psychiatric help. Take a look at the age-stratified data on COVID-19 deaths and you will see that the vast majority of non-elderly people are not at mortal risk. Besides avoiding poorly ventilated indoor spaces, the other thing people can do to protect themselves is not be fat. We have known that obesity is the number one comorbidity in COVID-19 deaths for a year now and yet people continue to overeat. Fat acceptance is a death wish and it imposes costs on society far beyond those of this pandemic.