US Travel Restrictions from India to go live from May 4, 2021

Earlier in the week, the USA State Department issued an advisory to American citizens in India to travel back using commercially available options from India while they still can. This advice was published on the back of the current situation of the pandemic in India, going from bad to worse. The US State Department also asked for the families of US Government employees in India to leave the country if they so wished. While writing that article, we predicted US Travel Restrictions from India might be coming.

There was a Presidential Action to this effect signed by President Biden to this effect.

a close-up of a statue with Statue of Liberty in the background

US Travel Restrictions from India in effect from May 4, 2021

The new restrictions will mean most non-US Citizens who originate for travel from India or were in India will be barred from entering the United States. The formal announcement has been made on Friday, April 30, 2021, Eastern Time and the policy is going to take effect from May 4, 2021, 12:01 AM Eastern Time. The Ban does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 4, 2021.

Here are the bullet points of what you need to know:

  • There is restriction and suspension of entry into the United States, as nonimmigrants, of noncitizens of the United States who are physically present within the Republic of India during the 14‑day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.
  • The proclamation does not apply to:
    • any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
    • any noncitizen national of the United States;
    • any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
    • any noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
    • any noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
    • any noncitizen who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
    • any noncitizen travelling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
    • any noncitizen travelling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any noncitizen otherwise travelling to the United States as air or sea crew;
    • any noncitizen
      • seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following visas:  A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories); or
      • whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
      • any noncitizen who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or who is a spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces;
      • any noncitizen whose entry would further important the United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
      • any noncitizen whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.

Update: There are more exceptions that have been made by the US State Department. Please read here, includes exceptions for students and journalists.

Such a travel ban exists for most non-US citizens who have visited South Africa, Brazil, UK, Ireland and other European countries. India’s originating traffic has recently been banned by over 20 countries, including UAE, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, and the Maldives.

While this might mean another bout of limited flights between India and the USA, Permanent US residents and family members will continue to be permitted to return to the United States under the order. Flight Operations to the USA will not be impacted, unless, of course, airlines want to cancel flights due to reduced loads.


Most US-non citizens planning to travel to the US from India will be barred from entering the country from May 4, 2021, onwards. If one desperately wants to travel to the USA, they will need to find a country from where flight operations into the USA will operate, and have a 14-day quarantine there before you head to the USA.

What do you think of this new US travel ban for India? This would practically crush the Air bubble between the two countries, which has been successfully running for months, and perhaps a big crush on Air India which has been reaping profits on US routes for months now.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. We are parents of US citizen
    We have booked our ticket to SFO for 1st June 2021.
    Whether we will be exempted from this ban to travel.

  2. I came to India on 1st,April and visa approved on 22nd,April. Can H1B and H14 visa holder travel?

  3. What about non US citizens who are simply transiting through the United States? My layover in America is only 2 hours, hopefully I am still able to travel.

  4. As per point # iv , can a parent of an us citizen exempted from travel ban? (i.e) We are a family of 4 (Dad & mom – indian citizens, kids – us citizen) & have the tickets booked from india to USA on May 6th. So, can we travel ?

  5. I am Canadian citizen flying to USA to connect a flight to Canada
    I am with my 84 years old father who is also Canadian citizen.
    Our flight departs at 230 Am May 04 Indian standard Time which is almost 12 hrs before the ban of 1201 EST
    We arrive after the ban at 7am May 04
    As per your article we should be able to depart as the ban will come in force as we are in the air
    Please advise

  6. My mother is traveling on 4th May 4AM(IST) which is 7:30PM EST May 3rd and will land to LA on 4th 2PM via Doha. Will she get entry ??

  7. What about students on F1 visa?Will they be allowed to enter the United States for their fall 2021 semester?

    • @Lily we updated all the Visa types which will be allowed to enter. F1 Visaholders not on the list. I think you should await further advise from the US on this. My interpretation is you should be able to go there if you are able to quarantine in a third country, such as UAE, for 14 days before arriving in the USA.

      • The UAE has banned all arrivals from India. How can someone quarantine in the UAE before heading to the US?

        • @Bharat, my comment is in the context that the UAE ban is right now, not months later when students intend to travel.

          • I was looking at restrictions, and looks like we can quarantine in Mexico and then head to USA.

            Can anyone confirm this?

            1. Is Mexico accepting Indians (generally they ride on anyone with valid US/UK visa)?
            2. Is US accepting travellers from Mexico?

  8. When is the formal official order going to be published?
    What about the entry for the H-1/H-4 visa holders?

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