May 11, 2022

Native Americans hope U.S. can lift India travel ban soon

Speculation is rife after State Department changes India’s travel health notice from Level 4 to Level 3

Ohio-based IT analyst Sumit Kumar made an urgent phone call this week to his hometown of Haryana, India, asking his parents to postpone booking their tickets to the United States through Cancun.

Kumar says he made the decision after the US State Department, in its new travel advisory, changed the travel health advisory for India from Level 4 to Level 3.

“I hope that in the next 1-3 months the travel restriction from India to the United States will be lifted and that elderly people like my parents will be able to travel directly and not through the cumbersome means of visiting a third country and spend two weeks in a new location.

Dropping India to level 3 means that now the State Department only asks US citizens to reconsider their decision before traveling to India, unlike the previous level 4 which urges citizens not to visit this country.

Within minutes of this new advice, travel portals and immigration groups began discussing the possibilities of possibly standardized travel.
Speculation is rife that travel restrictions could fall within the next three months.

However, Carmel, Indiana-based Sneha S. continues to move forward and is considering a possible trip to a third country for her parents.

“The situation is changing so quickly, who knows what may happen in a few days,” she said. “India, we hear, is preparing to face a third wave. I can’t take any chances and I want my parents to be with me.

American Indians are praying that the third wave of Covid does not hit India as it could likely disrupt travel opportunities further.

Read: Due to India’s travel ban I’m separated from my 9 year old (May 15, 2021)

Over the past year and a half, most Indians living and working in the United States have faced some sort of family separation due to travel restrictions linked to the pandemic.

After the second wave hit India earlier this year, the United States imposed travel restrictions on some visa holders traveling directly from India with a presidential proclamation.

The restriction prevented many work visa holders visiting India from returning to the United States and made it nearly impossible for relatives or family members to travel on B1 / B2 visas.

While families have envisioned ways such as finding a national interest exception or transporting their parents to a third country, the last two updates on travel between India and the United States have aroused hope.

This emerged as a good indicator that future travel could possibly be easier for thousands of Indians worried about having their families with them in the United States.

President Joe Biden said on Thursday that Washington was considering when it could lift restrictions prohibiting most non-U.S. Citizens from entering the country. The airlines have also urged the administration to lift the restrictions.

While on the ground the situation remains the same with no plausible answer as to when travel could be reinstated, for now, many American Indians are willing to wait and watch.

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