Legitimate Travel to US for Indian Students at a top priority: American Diplomat
| Education Jagat - 17 Jun 2021

The US mission in India is “actively working” to accommodate as many student visa applicants as possible in July and August, and facilitating their legitimate travel remained a top priority for it, a senior American diplomat said. Don Heflin, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US embassy, also said that the US-bound students will not require any proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the country. They will need a negative report of their COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before their departure.
  There has been growing anxiety among a sizeable number of Indian students aspiring to fly to the US for higher studies given certain restrictions in getting visa appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  The embassy will start giving visa interview slots for Indian students from Monday.
 “We recognise the stress and anxiety this has caused to students and their families, and we are actively working to accommodate as many student visa applicants as possible in July and August. Facilitating legitimate student travel to the United States remains a top priority for the US Mission to India,” Mr Heflin told PTI in an interview.
The official was asked about the rising uncertainty among the Indian students wanting to travel to the US, which had imposed fresh travel restrictions in May.
 “Students returning to academic programmes that resume on or after August 1 may travel to the United States up to 30 days before the programme resumes. There is no National Interest Exception required in this situation,” he said.
 “We recommend continuing students discuss their specific resumption plans with their respective universities to develop a travel timeline,” Mr Heflin said.
  The National Interest Exceptions (NIE) allow travel to the US for persons whose entry is considered of national interest.
  “We intend to start an intensive two months of interviewing student visa applicants on July 1. We will plan to open as many appointments as we can safely accommodate, based on local pandemic conditions across India,” Mr Heflin said.
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