A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Monday, April 26, 2021

U.S. and Other Countries Imposed Travel Restrictions and Warnings Regarding India

On April 21, the US State Department issued a stern advisory warning against travel to India: "Do not travel to India due to COVID-19, crime, and terrorism."  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19.   A Level 4 notice means that there is a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.  

U.S. citizens who must travel to India are strongly urged to get fully vaccinated before travel.  They should also continue to take personal health safety measures to protect themselves, including practicing social or physical distancing, cleaning hands with soap/hand sanitizer, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.  

Additionally, the CDC strongly recommends that travellers get flu shots before travelling to India to reduce the need to access the already overburdened local health system at this time.  Finally, U.S. citizens should continue to obey measures introduced by Indian officials designed to mitigate further outbreaks of the pandemic. 

In addition to COVID, the States of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) are also dangerous destinations due to terrorism and civil unrest.  There is also potential for armed conflict within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border, according to the State Department.

The State Department also warned that violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations in India.  Finally, terrorist attacks may also occur with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

Travellers should also note that the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal.  U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization before they can travel to these areas.

Although U.S. visa services have been slowly been resumed, some Consulates including Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai have canncelled most immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments from mid-April  onward due to the pandemic.  Applicants should contact their location Consulate to confirm their appointments. 

Other countries including Germany, Australia, France, etc., have also imposed restrictions against travel from India.  Hong Kong has prohibited passenger flights from India, Pakistan, and the Philippines from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days as of April 20, 2021. Italy and Singapore have has restricted entry of travellers who were present in India during the last 14 days.  

Travellers to and from India should pay special attention with the travel plans.

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