According to Reuters correspondent David Shepardson, the Biden administration is developing a plan to require nearly all foreign visitors to the United States to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of eventually lifting travel restrictions that bar much of the world from entering the United States.
The White House wants to re-open travel, which would boost business for the airlines and tourism industry, but is not ready to immediately lift restrictions because of the rising COVID-19 case load and highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, an official said.
The Biden administration has interagency working groups working “to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel,” the official said, adding it includes “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.”
Currently only US citizens, permanent residents and spouses can travel from India. The US status vis-à-vis Indian travellers remains at “Partially Open”
The eligibility criteria/visa requirements for Indians:
Travel to the USA is open for only select Indian visa holders. These include:
- Immigrants and lawful permanent citizens.
- Certain family members of US citizens or lawful permanent residents including spouses, minor children, parents (provided their child is a US citizen/lawful permanent resident, is unmarried and under the age of 21), and siblings (provided both the sibling and the US citizen/lawful permanent resident are unmarried and under the age of 21).
- Foreign diplomats travelling to USA on A or G visas.
- Air and sea crew travelling to USA on C, D, or C1/D visas.
- Students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas starting their educational programme from 1st August, 2021, and certain academics (subject to the conditions listed here).
- Journalists (subject to conditions listed here).
The White House has on – going discussions with airlines and other relevant organisations about how it would implement the mandatory or requisite vaccine policy for foreign visitors.
On its part the US administration must also answer other questions including what proof it would accept of vaccination and if the United States would accept vaccines that some countries are using but which have not yet been authorised by U.S. regulators.
The United States currently bars most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.