In November 2021, US announced that it was lifting travel restrictions that had been in force since Covid 19 made its presence felt. But the celebrations were short-lived, with the Omicron variant spreading fast.
As of writing this piece (01.12.21), it's important to note that people from India are still being allowed to travel to the US. If you're a student travelling to the US for the spring session, this is essential reading:
a) You need to be fully vaccinated if you're travelling to the US and carry your vaccination certificate with you.
b) You need to be vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine. While it took time for Covaxin to get a final stamp from WHO, the approval came in just as the travel ban was lifted. You can check the CDC's website for more details.
c) Even if you're fully vaccinated, you need to show documentation of a pre-departure negative test. The test needs to be taken within 3 days of you leaving the country. Hat tip - Take the test and stay indoors as much as possible till you take off.
d) If in case you're unvaccinated for whatever reason, you need to show a pre-departure negative test one day before you travel.
e) The following people are exempted from vaccination protocols:
- Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel
- Children under 18 years of age
- Persons with documented medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
- Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
- Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception
- Persons with valid visas [excluding B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourism) visas] who are citizens of a foreign country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability
- Members of the US Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
- Sea crew members travelling with to a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
- Persons whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland Security (or their designees)
f) If you intend to stay in the United States for longer than 60 days (and as a student, you will), you may need to agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the United States
With new guidelines yet to be issued based on the Omicron variant, we will constantly update you.