Note: For the NRI readers, The Economic Times has started an immigration helpdesk. A team of experts which includes Rajiv S. Khanna addresses the most pressing issues. Please see the link below.
The travel bans necessitated by the COVID pandemic have created much flux and uncertainty. Synthesizing the information now finally available from various US government sources, it is clearer now that many intending travelers can seek and obtain an exemption from the ban under a series of provisions for a National Interest Exception (NIE).
You should be able to apply for an NIE to overcome the ban on travel to the USA if you meet any one or more of the following categories:
I encourage you to sign a petition I have drafted at the request of our community urging the Obama Administration to reinstate reissuance of nonimmigrant visas (including work visas like H-1, student visas like F-1, and family visas) within the USA, a practice that was discontinued in 2004. If the petition receives 100,000 on-line signatures by February 23, the Administration will review it, send it to the appropriate policy experts in the administration, and issue an official response. Signing the petition takes only a few minutes.