NRI Helpdesk: Who all are exempted from the US travel ban? – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/migrate/nri-helpdesk-who-all-are-exempted-from-the-us-travel-ban/articleshow/84091612.cms?utm_source=ETTopNews&utm_medium=HPTN&utm_campaign=AL1&utm_content=23Synopsis

For our NRI readers, we have started an immigration helpdesk. Write to us at nri.economictimes@gmail.com and our team of experts will address the most pressing issues.

With immigration rules constantly changing with the pandemic situation, it is difficult to keep up to date with it all.

For our NRI readers, we have started an immigration helpdesk. Write to us at nri.economictimes@gmail.com and our team of experts will address the most pressing issues.

*Please note that questions have been edited and/or clubbed so that we can address similar queries at once and that the answers are clear and relevant to our audience.

My daughter is staying in India with my parents. She is a US citizen and a minor. I have tickets booked for my daughter and my parents to travel to the US in the 1st week of July. If the travel ban is not removed by then, can my parents travel to the US with my daughter?
The ban exempts parents of minor US citizens and green card holders. Unfortunately, that exemption has not been extended to grandparents.

Only the following family members are exempted:

  • Any non-U.S. citizen spouse of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR – green card holder)
  • Any non-U.S. citizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided that the U.S. citizen or LPR child is unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Any non-U.S. citizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided both the non-U.S. citizen and the U.S. citizen or LPR sibling are unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Any non-U.S. citizen who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or LPR, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications

Nevertheless, they may be eligible for humanitarian National Interest Exception under on or both of these provisions announced by the US State Department on June 24, 2021:

Humanitarian travel, to include those providing care for a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other nonimmigrant-in-lawful-status close family member medical escorts, legal guardians, or other escorts required by an airline or legally required by a foreign medical or law enforcement entity accompanying a U.S. citizen being repatriated to the United States.

Do you have any idea when parents (who are on a visitor visa) of US citizens over 21 can travel from India to the US? I am a US citizen (45-year-old) waiting in India to take my mom who is on a visitor visa with me back to the US for the summer.
The travel bans are directly dependent on the state of the COVID-19 infectivity. We cannot predict its course.

I am on F1 OPT (STEM Extension) and want to travel to India for a family emergency next week. I am planning to come back to the USA on July 10th and continue my job in an IT firm. Can you please guide me with the options through which I can come back? I see the exemption for students whose academic courses are starting from August 1st or later. But since my OPT is already started in Dec 2019 can I still be covered by this exemption? My F1 visa is valid till Nov 2022 and OPT is valid till Dec 2022.
There are two sets of requirements students must fulfill. The requirements related to the Indian travel ban are met by OPT students, because they are treated as returning students, who can travel like other continuing students no earlier than 30 days before August 1, 2021. The second set of requirements is common to all OPT holders:

  • You must have a valid passport and F-1 visa
  • You must have proof of ongoing STEM employment/training
  • You can be asked for proof that you worked during your time on OPT
  • Your I-20 must be endorsed for travel

Please contact your DSO before you travel.

I have an L-1A visa sponsored by a US company valid till September 2022. I traveled to India recently and am currently residing in Bangalore temporarily on leave. I have to go back and report to my employer next month i.e; July to resume my employment in New York. I am a citizen of Canada and I hold Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI). I got my first shot of the Covishield vaccine on 5th of June and have not yet received the second shot. With the information above, could you please let me know my options to travel to the US in the month of July.
Leaving aside the issue of infectivity, because you are subject to the Indian travel ban, you will need to seek a National Interest Exception (NIE) from the consulate. Unless you are willing to travel to a third country for two weeks before you enter the USA, contact the US consulate closest to you for the NIE procedures.

See: https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/national-interest-exception-frequently-asked-questions/

The requirements for appropriate Covid precautions are subject to sudden and frequent change. Please check them closer to when you will travel.

I came to Bangalore without my family in April because my ailing parents needed support. Soon after, there were restrictions and finally a ban on travel to the USA. I have been fully vaccinated in the US (PfizerNSE -0.45 %) before I traveled to India. I also hold an I-94 form ( our green card application is under process towards completion) and have a valid L-2 visa. My minor son has been without me for almost 2 months. Can I travel back to the US?
The L-1A visa holder, your husband is subject to the Indian travel ban. Because of that, you are subject to the same restrictions as he would be. He will need to help you seek a National Interest Exception proving that he is entitled to that Exception.

We are green card holders, now we are in India. Can we travel to JFK or EWR in June?
Green card holders are exempt from the India travel ban, but you still have to comply with the COVID-19 related precautionary measures. See: https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/

My husband is a USA citizen and I am on H-1B. I am recently married in India. Can I travel to the USA using a marriage certificate?
You will need to present evidence of the marriage as well as his status as a US citizen.

My spouse is in the USA on an F-1 visa. My daughter and I are on an F-2 visa. In case travel restrictions open for F-1 visa holders can F2 visa holders travel to the USA?
Derivative beneficiaries like F-2 holders are subject to the same conditions as their primary relative, your husband on F-1 visa.

Has the government’s attitude towards processing H-1B cases changed for the better under the Biden administration? Can we as employers expect a more reasonable approach to adjudication? Are the courts effective in providing justice to the applicants?
Each one of these questions could be an article in itself, but I’ll summarize what we have seen so far.

Yes, the Biden administration has been more reasonable. There is a marked change for the better in various areas of adjudication and regulations. The previous administration had instituted the death of legal immigration by a thousand cuts. For example, impeding H-1B adjudications based upon unreasonable standards such as approving cases only for the duration of a purchase order; insisting upon employer-employee relationship documentation that far exceeded reasonableness; and issuing requests for evidence that routinely ended up in multiple hundred-page responses, etc. are just a few of the problems we went through.

For the process of change to trickle down to the adjudication level could still take a few more months, but overall, the announced changes in policy are indicative of an approach that is consistent with long-standing expectations of the industry as well as the individuals.

Under the Trump administration, the immigration bar learned that the only way to get justice was to take matters to the courts. Lawsuits can be quite effective because legally untenable positions are revealed glaringly in the light of judicial scrutiny. Equally importantly, the lawyers who represent the government in the courts tend to view USCIS decisions realistically. They do not want to argue cases that have obviously been decided incorrectly. If the government’s position is not substantially justified, the government upon losing a case has to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees. That can be quite expensive for the government. As an example, our firm has settled 14 out of the 15 litigations refiled in the past few months. While not all cases are suitable for litigation, some are, and the courts can be quite effective against egregious abuse of power.

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Rajiv Khanna, Managing Attorney, Immigration.com
The author’s views do not necessarily represent the views of ET Online nor do they constitute legal advice or representation. Practice tips provided in the written materials are based on the author’s experiences and the current state of the law and regulations. Please be sure to conduct legal research and analysis, or engage independent counsel for your unique situation as the law and requirements change quickly and the author’s experiences may differ from your own.

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