Starting on November 8, foreign national air travelers to the United States are required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with only limited exceptions. For more information see:
- White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/10/25/a-proclamation-on-advancing-the-safe-resumption-of-global-travel-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
- State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/covid-19-faqs-for-travel-to-the-us-information.html
- Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html
Do I qualify for interview waiver under the new rules?
You may use the expanded interview waiver program if …
You are applying in the F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visa categories (secondary and university students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists), AND
You have previously been issued ANY class of U.S. visa, AND
You have not been previously refused a U.S. visa, OR if you have previously been refused the refusal was subsequently overcome or waived (a 214b refusal is overcome whenever a visa is subsequently issued to the applicant.)
You may also use the interview waiver program if you are renewing any visa (including B1/B2 visas) within 48 months of expiration.
Please note that the Embassy or Consulate to which you apply may require an interview after reviewing your application.
*Applicants from Visa Waiver Program Countries may qualify for interview waiver if they have previously traveled using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
When will appointments be available for interview waiver?
In the coming days, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India will release more than 20,000 additional interview waiver (dropbox) appointments for Spring 2022 to allow qualified applicants to make use of the new interview waiver authority. Please do not contact our call centers to ask when the appointment release date will be.
I have already scheduled an in-person appointment but according to the new rules, I qualify for interview waiver. Can I convert my in-person appointment to an interview waiver (dropbox) appointment?
We advise applicants who are eligible for the expanded interview waiver program not to cancel any existing in-person appointments unless/until earlier interview waiver (dropbox) appointment dates become available. Applicants should continue to monitor our website for appointment availability. Once interview waiver (dropbox) appointments become available, applicants with existing in-person appointments will need to cancel their in-person appointments before they will be able to book interview waiver appointments.
We cannot guarantee that applicants with existing in-person appointments will be able to obtain interview waiver (dropbox) appointments, once available.
I have a valid B1/B2 (or other type of nonimmigrant visa) and am fully vaccinated. Can I now travel to the United States?
Yes. You may now travel to the United States without any further visa processing. Please note that there are still mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements prior to travel and requirements to provide proof of full vaccination. Refer to the CDC website for a listing of accepted COVID_19 vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html
Are there any blanket exceptions to PP 10294?
Although, the vaccination requirements laid out in PP 10294 do not apply to U.S. Citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, or immigrant visa holders (though testing requirements are still applicable), they do apply to almost all nonimmigrant travelers.
Only the following nonimmigrant travelers qualify for a blanket exception:
- Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel
- Children under 18 years of age
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
- Sea crew members traveling with a C-1/D nonimmigrant visa
- And limited others, see the CDC website below
There are more stringent testing and quarantine requirements for individuals who travel under an exception. For more information, please carefully review: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html
Very limited exceptions will be made, on a case-by-case basis, for travelers with urgent humanitarian need. Please see the instructions below.
Are Indian vaccination certificates considered acceptable proof of vaccination?
Yes. Please note that older versions of the Indian vaccination certificate listed age rather than date of birth. You can either print out an updated version from the CoWin website listing your Date of Birth, or travel with your older certificate + the ID listed on that certificate. For more information about vaccination requirements, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html
I previously received a National Interest Exception to Presidential Proclamation 10199. Does this apply to Presidential Proclamation 10294?
No. As of November 8, Presidential Proclamation 10199 is no longer in effect and we are no longer processing National Interest Exceptions. Previously issued National Interest Exceptions to that proclamation no longer have any bearing on travel.
Are fully vaccinated travelers still subject to pre-travel testing requirements?
Yes. Information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 testing requirement for all air travelers to the United States can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html
Are there any blanket exemptions for students? I don’t have time to complete my vaccination before the start of my program.
There is NO blanket exception for F, M, or J travelers. You will provide proof that you meet the vaccination requirements to board a flight to the United States unless you fall under one of the other limited exception categories listed above.
Will I have to show proof of vaccination at my visa appointment?
No. The vaccination requirement is separate from the visa process. We will not review your vaccination certificate during the visa process. You can apply for your visa regardless of vaccination status, but you will not be able to board a flight to the United States without showing proof of vaccination.
Do I need to be vaccinated before my visa appointment?
No. The vaccination requirement is separate from the visa process. You may interview before you are fully vaccinated, however you will not be allowed to board a flight to the United States without showing proof of vaccination.
Can I request an exception to the vaccination requirement at my visa appointment?
No. Humanitarian exceptions to the vaccine requirement are processed by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. If you are requesting an exception, you should submit your request to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi via email. See full instructions above.
Where can I find detailed information about testing and quarantine requirements for travel for nonimmigrants?
My case was refused 221G under Presidential Proclamation 10199. What should I do now that the Proclamation is no longer in effect?
Over the coming weeks, consulates will reach out to applicants refused 221G under the Proclamation via email with further instructions. Please wait until you receive these instructions, as procedures and timelines will vary from consulate to consulate depending on capacity.
I need to renew or apply for a nonimmigrant visa. How can I get an appointment?
Please continue to monitor the USTravelDocs.com website for appointment availability. Due to high demand, we are experiencing extended wait times across all visa categories, including Interview Waiver renewal appointments. We are not yet able to reopen routine B1/B2 visa processing. We hope to start processing B1/B2 renewals in January, and will provide more information about in-person B1/B2 appointments in the coming months. Applicants with an urgent need to travel should follow the instructions at https://www.ustraveldocs.
My immediate family member is a U.S. citizen or LPR. Since they are not subject to the vaccination requirement, do I still have to be vaccinated?
Yes. The Proclamation applies to nonimmigrant visa holders even if they are family members of a U.S. citizen or LPR.
I cannot obtain a COVID test, but I need to travel due to an emergency. How do I request a humanitarian exception?
I am not fully vaccinated, but I need to travel immediately due to an emergency. How do I request a humanitarian exception?
Humanitarian exceptions to the vaccination requirement are processed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. You can submit your request to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and we will forward it to CDC for review. Use the following link to submit your request: https://in.usembassy.
Please note that requests that do not conform to the format provided will not be forwarded to the CDC for review.