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Presidential Proclamation Suspends Travel to the U.S. for Certain Travelers Present in India Effective May 4, 2021

On April 30, 2021, President Biden released a Proclamation that suspends entry to the U.S. for certain nonimmigrant travelers who have been physically present in India during the 14-day period preceding their U.S. entry. However, as detailed within both the Proclamation and in the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs news release of April 30, 2021, there are many classes of nonimmigrant travelers whose travel to the U.S. is not suspended under the Proclamation, as well as those who are exempt from the travel suspension if the purpose of their trip is in the national interest.

In summary, F-1 international students, and certain J-1 Exchange Visitors, who are either beginning or continuing their academic programs in the U.S. on or after August 1, 2021, do not need to seek an individual National Interest Exception to travel to the U.S. As the news release states, new and continuing students that need to apply for a visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel to the U.S. if their academic program begins on or after August 1, 2021. However, if F-1 international students, and certain J-1 Exchange Visitors require the start of a program prior to August 1, 2021 a National International Proclamation is required. As a reminder, international students may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 calendar days before the start of their academic studies.

However, other J-1 Exchange Visitors and employment-based nonimmigrant travelers will need to qualify for a National Interest Exception in order to be exempt from the Presidential Proclamation. This includes, but is not limited to, new or continuing H-1B and O-1 University international employees, researchers, and physicians. National Interest Exceptions can be granted for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security. The criteria under which an international nonimmigrant traveler may qualify for a National Interest Exception are decided on a case-by-case basis. If you are a new or continuing University employee, researcher, or physician, who needs to qualify for a National Interest Exception based on your recent physical presence in India, please contact your UIC hiring department and our office.

Please refer to the U.S. Embassy in India’s FAQ’s for additional information, as well as your local U.S. consulate. General information about international travel and COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website, including the ongoing requirement for COVID-19 documentation for air passengers arriving to the U.S. Members of the UIC international community can reach out to the following contacts with questions:

Lastly, OIS will host two virtual town halls for the UIC community to discuss the travel restrictions and SEVP temporary COVID-19 guidelines for international student status maintenance. The virtual town hall with administrators will be held on May 11 and the virtual town hall with the UIC international community will be held on May 12. Please see your email for the invitation to register or contact us at