Will The US Introduce An India Travel Ban?

Filed Under: Travel

Update: The USA will introduce an India travel ban as of May 4, 2021.

The situation unfolding in India right now is tragic, with coronavirus cases surging, ICU beds full, and hospitals even running out of oxygen. With that in mind, I can’t help but pose a question about (the lack of) travel restrictions.

Why isn’t the US adding an India travel ban?

The US has a variety of travel bans in place, which prevent most people who traveled to certain places in the past 14 days from entering the US (there are exceptions, like Americans returning home). All of this is in addition to the US requiring pre-travel testing for all arriving international travelers.

There are currently US travel bans in place for the European Unionthe United Kingdom and Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa, among others. All of those bans were put in place under Trump, except the South Africa travel ban, which was put in place shortly after Biden took office, while cases were surging in the country.

While rumor has it that the US travel bans will be lifted in the coming weeks (though who knows), can anyone make sense of how we’re not seeing an India travel ban added effective immediately? Somehow travel from India to the US is totally fine, even though cases look like this:

Meanwhile travel from the UK to the US is prohibited, even though cases look like this:

Keep in mind that case numbers in India don’t fully reflect how bad the situation is. The test positivity rate in India is right around 20%, so I can only imagine how many cases there really are.

Never mind the fact that there are some questions about the quality of testing for travel in India, given a recent Vistara flight from Delhi to Hong Kong that had 47 people test positive for coronavirus after arrival, even though pre-travel testing was required. While pre-travel testing isn’t going to catch all cases, that’s still beyond alarming.

I don’t know if travel bans make sense, but…

To be clear on my stance on the travel bans we’ve seen:

  • There are questions about how useful travel bans are, especially when a country isn’t coronavirus free, though perhaps variants make them more legitimate
  • I do think there needs to be some periodic review of these bans so that they’re at least somewhat logical and reflect reality; for example, last summer Germany had among the lowest coronavirus cases, yet Germans were banned from traveling to the US
  • On the surface I can appreciate that the Biden administration didn’t want to immediately lift travel restrictions, instead hoping to take a few months to get a good percentage of the population vaccinated before lifting restrictions on a widespread basis
  • Still, there’s one thing I feel confident saying — people arriving on a flight from India are higher risk than people arriving on a flight from the United Kingdom right now, yet the travel restrictions suggest the inverse is true

Bottom line

I’m curious to see if the White House introduces an India travel ban in the coming days. If it does end up happening then I can’t help but wonder what took so long. And if it doesn’t happen, then I can’t really make sense of how it’s justifiable to continue to have the current bans on other countries in place.

Do you think we’ll see the US add an India travel ban, or has vaccination progress made it unnecessary? If an India travel ban doesn’t make sense, then how does it make sense to maintain other travel bans?

  1. @droundtheworld No United has not done anything like that. United flights from India to US are still operating. Don’t spread rumors.

  2. A travel ban imo is not super effective, because if the traveler wants to fly to the US, they can stop over at a 3rd country that is not banned & then transfer to an incoming flight. In addition to taking precautions like a pretest & wearing masks, we could require any incoming traveler that originated from India in the past 10 days to quarantine, which i think would be just as effective as a travel ban.

  3. This is so crazy! Travel ban to India should be imposed immediately! And lifted for Schengen countries!

  4. That won’t happen. Kamala Harris is half Indian. She won’t allow India routes being banned.

  5. Talk of it happening in Australia too. Also Singapore. I love India. Lived there for a year. This is so sad. Singapore have sent medical aid. I just read Australia are doing the same.

  6. As an Indian living in the USA. I support a travel ban out of India. Or any country that is showing upward trend in cases.

  7. The same dithering, debating, and twitching about this happened in January and February of 2020 and look where it landed the world. Obviously, a travel ban needs to be applied universally on India, for everything but cargo, for at least 45 days and then reviewed. At the same time, the world, notably the rich nations of this planet, can and should help India out of this mess. Everyone has a vested interest in making sure India can overcome this.

  8. Remember when Biden called Trump a xenophobe for banning China. You would think he has learned a bit more by now but clearly not. The new variants will be arriving on a flight near you soon enough

  9. Yet again this (lack of travel bans) shows travel ban in the United States is more about politics than real public health concerns. Sad!

  10. There already a ban on Indians travelling with Indian Passport. My relatives had to cancel their plan as they hold Indian passport.

  11. @shoeguy: India should help themselves, first.

    They brought this on to them with political/ public rallies for their upcoming elections, including ministers not wearing masks in public and crowded arenas, and letting millions of pilgrims take a dip in their holy river. Was that necessary? How can the Indian gov be so irresponsible?

    To top that, people stopped wearing masks, and most masks have been found to be worthless against any germs.

  12. @shoeguy: They brought this on to them with political/ public rallies for their upcoming elections, including ministers not wearing masks in public and crowded arenas, and letting millions of pilgrims take a dip in their holy river. Was that necessary? How can the Indian gov be so irresponsible?

    To top that, people stopped wearing masks, and most masks have been found to be worthless against any germs.

  13. To the trolls asking why Trump’s travel bans were called racist- it’s because they were bans on Chinese PASSPORT HOLDERS, not flights from China. Covid doesn’t know nationality- it just infects everyone. I’m an Indian citizen living in the US and I would support this ban if all flights from India were banned. But if only Indian citizens are banned, I’d call Biden a racist too

  14. Many of the current travel bans are pointless. I can travel to Brazil and back right now, bringing COVID-19 with me.

    If travel from India is banned, US Citizens will still go for the work or family purposes, and return home without quarantining.

    Good luck to India, though – the situation is critical 🙁

  15. Biden criticized Trump’s ban as racist so Biden might not add any restrictions for India. Biden also, in a previous threatened epidemic, said he would tell his relatives not to use planes and trains but President Obama’s White House issued an excuse saying that Biden meant something different (in a way not to slam Biden too much).

  16. @David
    The India press is reporting that PCR tests are not detecting some of the new variants in India. This is why a ban is temporarily needed.

  17. You’d have to have a negative covid test to enter the US anyways. Not sure what the point of travel bans if you can prove you’re negative. Perhaps the US should just make people from certain countries test again upon landing or have quarantine measures as an extra precaution.

  18. Remember March 13 2020? Trump’s travel ban took effect against Schengen countries as Italy’s infection rate was one of the world’s worst at the time. Remember how negatively that was taken, not just by Americans but by many of the European leaders who proceeded to bash him solidly. The China ban was announced Jan 31, 2020 to similar opposition and cries of racism. And we all know the bans are full of loopholes anyway – as long as you have your paperwork, you can just cross the border from Mexico on foot or by car and are exempt from bans, quarantines, and testing requirements.

  19. @Eric the covid test requirement doesn’t cover 4/5 of the entries into the USA. You can cross the border from Mexico (unless it is by plane) and are exempt from testing. Land crossings are the dominant point of entry into the USA. The testing requirement is safety theater.

  20. The fact that the ban doesn’t already exist, and even if introduced expires after covid… DREADFUL! Saddens me to see planeloads of people arriving to the US, UK and other developed countries, even more so during covid.

  21. One issue that hasn’t come up so far is what has happened in Australia. Yes it’s very hard to get in even for citizens though we do offer goverment charter flights in addition to normal flights ( heavily restricted arrivals unless your a movie star!). All flights require a negative Covid test before departure and on arrival ,(lets just disregard the quarantine adpect) the charter flights arrive at an Air Force base in the middle of the Outback with a 40 min flight to Darwin, a recent arrival from India all presented negative tests on departure but on arrival 47 tested positive! This is about a 9 hour flight, the Goverment believe that these negative tests were faked and is investigating further. While have yet to ban flights from India the number of flights has been greatly reduced, there wasn’t that many to start with! The BBC has been reporting that wealthy Indians are leaving on chartered aircraft on mass to where ever they can go, this would of couse depend on what passport they are using. The issue is faking a covid test is one thing ( picked up by testing on arrival ) but what about a vaccine certificate??? It’s not just India we have also picked this up on normal arrivals but not every flight but most flights have a few who test positive on arrival. If you don’t test on arrival your asking for it.

  22. Covid rates in the U.K. have plummeted. India is on a list of around 40 red zone countries where people have to hotel quarantine for 10 days on arrival . This means that direct flights from red zones are also suspended. Emirates and Qatar for example cannot carry passengers inbound. @sir Walter Raleigh. What “ plane loads “? Are you aware that Heathrow is seeing the same volumes as in the late 70s?

  23. @duncan before India was placed on the U.K. red list several airlines requested additional flights to the U.K. They were all refused by the CAA.

  24. Travel bans are not effective and are usually both over-inclusive and under-inclusive. Enhanced screening is much more effective.

  25. I kind of support travel bans but they should be based on facts: cases etc and revisited often. It clearly makes no sense to have a ban on the uk and not one on India. Also I think there should be options to travel and quarantine strictly

  26. @Raghav Kapur

    Trump banned those who did not have American passports since the idea was to permit citizens to return to their home country. The mistake was that they should have been quarantined upon arrival. However, to call the policy racist is absurd. Most of the American citizens on those flights were in fact of Chinese descent but have American passports. Just like many of those on the flights from India are American citizens but of Indian descent. If you still believe this is racist, please explain how. The policy certainly had nothing to do with the person’s skin color, simply the color of their passport!

  27. Derek is correct. Biden is a racist if institutes a travel ban. Will the cnn of the world care…. Nah. They still put out no mask fauci.

    Travel bans have been the only thing that worked. Look at east Asia.

  28. @Icarus — there have been planeloads of people going to the US, UK, and other developed countries since 15 August 1947. The locals knew their fate and desperately tried to turn the tide!

  29. @KK13, the same idiotic measures, super-spreader events, and ferociously and irretrievably stupid politicians (and their supporters) were doing the same in the United States in the run up to the election in November 2020. And in Europe, notably in the UK, mask wearing was flouted, and ignored. It’s not an India only thing and your comments are xenophobic.

  30. Everyone (rightfully) called T**** racist…as he had a 40+ year of racist statements and actions…nothing complicated there, and all his voters were (as the SNL skit went) Complicit

  31. @Raghav Kapur

    Trump did not ban Chinese citizens but non US people who have been to China in the past 14 days. I agree it was a racist policy but not the way you think.

  32. @KVM
    I thought it’s the opposite. The travel ban on China led to massive complaints about racism. The travel bans on UK, EU, Brazil, Ireland, South Africa, etc, I haven’t heard much complaints about racism, or the complaints are really scarce.

  33. “last summer Germany had among the lowest coronavirus cases, yet Germans were banned from traveling to the US” You mean the Germany that is currently in lockdown? Thank goodness they didn’t throw open the doors to Germany.

    I think they should close the borders to India and should do so immediately. With all those cases they are definitely going to be generating new variants that can put the US at risk. With the UK given their numbers are way down I think they can start talking about vaccinated travel. As numbers come down in the rest of the EU vaccinated travel makes sense as well. Brazil is still way too risky.

  34. It makes rational sense to temporarily stop travel. Possible reasons is that Biden may be on the verge of reversing travel bans altogether (not my opinion).

    A bit intriguing that the flip side of this didn’t come up when India logged 11k cases/day in Jan and US was clocking 280k/day.

    Bit presumptuous to put that one the quality of testing. Forget RT PCR tests the variant is beating the vaccine. Absolutely possible for 47 people to test positive on the flight and during the hotel quarantine stay.


  35. It is very bad in India but it was just as bad in Brazil but is slowly improving. The difference is that there is an English press in India while there is only minimal translation of Brazilian news into English.
    High case rates foster viral mutations. The US and the world has an obligation to help India and Brazil and anywhere else that has massive outbreaks.
    Those that talk about masks and gatherings have no clue about the population density in most of the world including Brazil and India.

  36. Ua nyc so trump banning flights is racist and Biden doing it is good. You sir are the reason am idiot like trump received 49%. People are scared of people like you in charge

  37. If the leader of a country cares more about rallies, elections & religion than about science, such a Covid mess is sure to happen. The US and Brazil saw it in 2020, and India today

  38. @westcoastguy – not true. They are coming into Australia via Malaysian Airlines and SQ (who are I am told are now stopping flights). At least 4 positive cases overnight from India into Western Australia.

  39. Many flights are still coming to US from India, such as UA 802.

    But Whitehouse will not ban India in favor of Kamala Harris’s rich relatives escaping from India.

    Folks, preparing for India variants hitting your neighborhood.

  40. India is also reporting that the vaccine is not acting upon the latest triple mutation. If this proves true those UA flights may true superspreader events.

  41. I don’t think there has been much thought out into the travel bans after last spring really. I was wondering around August why there were bans on the U.K./EU and China (which had largely controlled covid at least at that point) but none on India, Russia, any Latin American country other than Brazil etc., when those were all disasters! The administration just wasn’t bothering and still isn’t. Perhaps international travel is already so low due to fear of travelling and contracting covid, or infrequent international flight operations between other countries and the US that a travel ban isn’t really required now.

  42. So Australia has just announced a “pause” on all DIRECT flights. Given there are only a few direct flights plus repatriation flights not a lot will change. In positive news they are determining what equipment and help can be sent.
    @Alan – they are using a local vaccine – covaxin. Not sure how effective the other vaccines are.

  43. @Ben (Lucky)

    I don’t think comparisons are quite so direct. There are significant restrictions in place within India. Travel is not encouraged at this moment, except for critical cases. Cases continue to surge within the country, but majority remain asymptomatic. While everything you have said remains true, there are significant hurdles to go to through for travel, including testing within 72 hours ahead of the landing time at the destination along with registration on a portal for further verification. At the moment, the vaccination drive is at full steam with two vaccines on offer – Covishield from Astra Zeneca/Oxford and the Covaxine from Bharat Biotech. Both are reporting similar levels of effectiveness. However, some recent reports suggest that the indigenous vaccine is more effective against the latest strains. A ban on travel to/fro India is imminent and practically already in place with local authorities.

    Certainly my view is that the USA should also be placed on the red list alongside India with few exceptions requiring emergency travel. Number of COVID positives in the USA still remain remarkably high.

  44. @MDA – sorry, but you are misinformed. Two vaccines are available in India. It is actually the Astra Zeneca – Oxford vaccine (called covishield) that is suggested to be ineffective against the latest strain. The indigenously developed covaxine is showing better performance against the latest strain. Please don’t spread misinformation.

  45. @Tim Dunn +1

    The reality is that the majority of the world’s vaccines are being produced in India. If the US were to shut down travel to/fro US, it would be a political blunder at a time when the US depends on India. The Serum Institute of India, along with smaller players, are basically producing the majority of the vaccines that the rest of the world are receiving. This includes vaccines made by Moderna, Pfizer/Biontech, Astra-Zeneca/Oxford, Bharat Biotech, and Sputnik. Travel to/fro India is at a minimum. No need to create political tension when so much depends on the industries here.

  46. @MDA actually we are using a locally manufactured version of AZ vaccine known as Covishield here. More than 95% of the current vaccinations have been Covishield. In fact Covaxin has only recently been approved for vaccinations by the health authorities and not been used as much. However, given the local data from the current vaccinations, Covishield is certainly proving to be particularly effective in the higher risk “above 60” age group. This has also been supported by the falling death rate in that category.

    Numbers can lie sometimes, and while I am not denying the obvious surge in cases, given India’s population and density, positivity rates can often be misleading. In fact India has one of the lowest death rates in the entire world, much less now than what the UK and US had in their peaks. I live in India and I am well aware of the ground situation here. It is critical but I am sure we will come out of it sooner rather than later.

  47. I think travel bans are reciprocal, and therefore political in nature.

    Keep in mind that India didn’t ban flights from the US when the US was clocking over 300,000 new cases a day back in January. The EU hasn’t banned flights from India either- and nor did India ban flights from the EU once air bubble agreements were signed.

    Therefore, why should the US ban flights from India? I think flights should continue to be allowed but with safeguards in place such as PCR tests, quarantine on arrival etc.

  48. The indian mutation of the virus is quick.

    However that does not mean it is more dangerous than other mutations.

    The problem is more how to provide medical and efficient help to people affected by the virus.

  49. The policy is not up-to-date. They should lift the EU travel ban for good and let only vaccinated (and tested) people enter the US. I think that we are at the standpoint were this could easily be justified. It is only about politics right now.

  50. The problems with travel bans are they usually occur too late and have too many loopholes.
    Ideally most countries should have closed down travel but it is tough to do.

    Get you shots, try to avoid those that won’t get vaccinated and you should be ok.

  51. *******I would say that travel ban makes a little to no impact. *********
    I would recommend
    1. They could do a series of tests proving that they were not impacted by COVID from past whaterver maybe 2 or 3 weeks
    2. I would never impose a travel ban for people not impacted by COVID as families are separated during this difficult times, they are not going for a vacation it could be an emergency they had to visit their home country. So we need to stand together.
    3. Important – Countries who are now well balanced with covid situation need to help out the countries which are running out of options.
    4. Dont forget INDIA is the largest manufacturer of the vaccine and its helping out the WORLD right now and it also needs a hand.

  52. It’s a no-brainer: there must be a complete isolation of India, effective immediately, together with a massive , coordinated international effort to get them the medical supplies needed.
    Virtually every new case in Australia is ex-India, fortunately in isolation in quarantine facilities. The staggeringly dumb Australian government ,just a couple of weeks ago , granted travel exemptions for some Australian cricketers to go to India to play in a local league ( for mega bucks). Needless to say they’re now scrambling to get out. Defies belief…

  53. @Rich
    I am more concerned about being around people who have been vaccinated than people who have had covid recently. One’s own immune system after batting covid provides the best immunity. As we begin to see countries implementing vaccine passports they need to include those who have recovered. A simple antibody test can confirm.

  54. I am of an Indian origin living in US all my life . I think flights from India has to be banned effective 2 weeks ago. India has suspended valid tourist visas for foreign nationals since beginning of pandemic. I wanted to go to India last December to see an aged relative but I could not because I have US passport with Indian tourist visa. I really dont understand why America is allowing flights from India. I heard all rich people and movie stars are exodus from India to NY and SFO in hordes. The flight prices has ran up 10 times. These are not Americans returning home, there are Indian citizens getting away from horror. Heard, PCR tests are faked to people of privilege, so I heard. We dont even have a institutional quarantine here. Its only matter of time we all will be reinfected with the variant. America should ban flights from India. EU, UK is on “do not travel” list but India just “do not travel” advisory?

  55. Banning only flights from India is not productive (United and Air India nonstops). Many from India travel via other countries. At present Qatar and some EU flight operators still offer connections. So the only way is to have a tough 7 day quarantine for all travellers from India, even if they have negative Covid test. And travel from India should be restricted to only a few airports where Indian traffic is high (EWR, ORD, SFO etc.).

  56. @cssevan

    Much simpler to ban all Indian passport holders similar to what India has done to American passport holders for months. Why even bother with testing and quarantine? India is not making any exceptions. By no no means does this preclude providing humanitarian assistance. No need to make the US an escape haven for rich Indians. Let them help their countrymen. Even Mexicans who live along the border and have family on the US side are prohibited from crossing the land border.

  57. I agree with you @Alan. Only allow US passports and permanent residents back who went to India for some emergencies. This is no time for Tourist or sightseeing. We here in US finally just coming out of this horror after making so much sacrifices wearing masks, lockdowns, business loss etc. Even the citizens and residents who come from India has to be channeled only through a couple of airports and have to airport hotel quarantine before walking out. I know its harsh but desperate times needs desperate measures. Only want to get out of this pandemic.

  58. Watching all of the news reports and not seeing much social distancing, and the figures, we’ve got to close the US borders for anyone that is originating from India until there is more control. The under-reporting of both cases and deaths by not only the news but all over twitter should justify that we cannot trust the tests that are being done. Banning flights and Indian passports – i disagree – while there are ways around it, it’s going to send a message and if people to come into the country illegally, they will be deported. Further, you don’t think that immigration has the flight records tied to passport?

    The self quarantine is not working and a joke. We need to do as other countries where people are escorted to hotels at their own expense, and quarantined and tested regularly by the US at the travelers expense. And, if possible, make the airlines test people before boarding. It only takes 1.

    To the point someone made about India making vaccines, not entirely true. Pfizer vaccine is being produced in the US by 3 locations. Moderna made an agreement that will produce in either NJ or PA shortly. These plants are expected to produce enough for the US population and possibly more. The original location for Pfizer was in Germany – Biontech. I think many Indian companies may be scared that countries will build their own capacity and then leverage for other vaccines and remove the reliance.

  59. @Rich : the one certainty for the post-COVID environment ( to the extent it will ever truly be ‘over’), is that governments will no longer tolerate risks to supply chains/ reliance on a single source for medications and vaccines. That will mean the curtailing of India’s dominance in vaccine production ( and for the production of many commonly used medications, including precursors).
    The days of the Martin Shkreli types running big-pharma via dodgy deals with cheap manufacturers to ensure mega profits…are over.

  60. The new Indian variant is a double mutant and could probably escape the current vaccines. It is probably more contagious as the Brazilian one. It makes no sense to ban countries like UK and China which have the virus under control while leaving an open door to India. This government and CDC has always been one step behind since the pandemic to protect its people.

  61. Banning China since 02/2020 and they had single-digit new cases per day for X months
    Refuse to ban India which has 300K (or way more in reality) new cases per day

    US Government: we are definitely doing these to prevent the spread of covid :))

  62. The fact is that border closures are much more about politics than anything else. In a time of crisis, isolationist policies are rarely helpful. Furthermore, it is apparent that a complete closure of borders with India will have a detrimental impact on the global economy – regardless of how one feels about that. Without airlines flying between the two countries, movement of key essential goods will be hampered. Airlines also cannot afford to fly empty buses. Last year, when the US required aid, I donated 730 oxygen concentrators for use by US hospitals. The logistics of those shipment were a nightmare since there was barely any movement between the two nations. It is with that in mind that I am grateful that we are not at a complete border closure between the two nations.

  63. @vivek – i think you’re ignoring the actual data. Border closures and quarantine’s have been VERY effective and containment. And regardless if they are “rarely” helpful, if they are at all helpful in stemming the spread, why wouldn’t you?

    The closing of the boarders is referring to people traveling unnecessarily across boarders. Visiting loved ones, while cruel, is not a necessary situation. People trying to escape to not get the virus, is also not necessary travel, not to mention that it is being flat out abused.

    Applaud your donation. Applaud the US in helping any country where it can. This is not about an emotional or political decision, this is about data. And other countries have concluded as should the US that the statistics show that borders should be closed.

    Take a look at the interviews and data from Canada. Over 50% of the positive quarantine cases were from travel from India or an Indian variant. Italy’s data shows similar.

  64. @Vivek
    I am an American of Indian descent. Thank you for your help when we needed it. We are returning the help also on a humanitarian grounds which every human should do. But what is the need for wealthy or anyone to holiday or run away to other countries when things get bad at home? Its not about border closing. People should have a conscious and stay home not to infect others. Its a personal moral obligation. Heard, in India they fake PCR test and also even if they test positive they turn off their phones and disappear into societies untraceable.

    Its nothing to do with trade. Cargo flights should be allowed. We are talking about unnecessary travel and exodus from India to US here. Almost Every country is barring flights except us. US consulates still issuing visas in India. I just dont understand. This is a pandemic and it will be Dejavu all over again. Its only a matter of time the Indian variant will become dominant here in NY. Very sad

  65. Is anyone who is commenting above actually directly impacted if a travel ban is initiated? Well, I will be. As a business owner whose company depends on raw goods from India, I’m grateful that airlines are operating. Contrary to popular thinking, commercial airlines carry a significant quantity of cargo. If there is a travel ban, the commercial airlines will suspend operations, further straining the already stressed logistics situation. This will hurt industries and ultimately the 500+ employees and their families who work for me in NY. There are many industry owners and their staff who will suffer just like me. So all in all, I’m in favour of the airlines operating at any means. Someone above talked about data. Unfortunately the complete data isn’t so simple so as to make easy decisions nor conclusions.

    Anyways – it’s not as if any comments or articles here holds any importance beyond being an entertaining read. That’s just the fact and all are open to their opinions.

  66. @Paolo – I don’t think there will be any such radical shift because of one simple reason: cost. India will continue to develop 70+% of the world’s vaccines because the infrastructure exists and the economics are favourable. The end.

    Some heated discussions above. Almost made me believe that what is said here actually matters!

  67. It’s just payback for the 19 or so million Indians who died due to the west spreading the American Virus of 1918. What goes around comes around.

  68. I am USCIS employee. India has not included the list because more than 80% of our foreign workforce and h1b applicants are Indians. It could impact the U.S economy, especially in the IT industry.

  69. @G. Chris
    You do realize that most high tech companies still have most workers at home so the need for these workers is limited.
    Furthermore the health and safety of American citizens outweighs the impact on economy during a pandemic. The govt has already wasted trillions – these Indian H1Bs never generated anything close to that in tax revenue. And if the stories out of India are true as to the effectiveness of the vaccines against their variants then these Indians could put the entire vaccination program at risk.

  70. Just to be safe than sorry, US should ban all people originating in India to arrive in US unless they been in another country past 14 days. Until things improve there or we are 100% certain Indian variant will be neutralized by our vaccines. Simple.
    Just curious, why are we cutting so much slack to Indians? Are they such super species that won’t carry or spread virus?
    Btw, Iam Indian too but still don’t understand this logic or not taking steps to protect America from this dangerous virus.

  71. This is just a temporary ban for the next 4-8 weeks. WHAT IS THE HARM? It is somewhat the SAME argument of social distancing and mask wearing. Regardless of whether you really think it is true or not, what is the harm in taking yet another precautionary measure?

    The point someone was making around Indian’s going to other countries and then to the US – well, many countries are ahead of and already have banned travel from not just India but also other hot spots. We’re just behind.

    How about this? We should audit the quarantines and for non-US residents who ignore or do not follow the requirements or are found to have falsified any records, they be banned from obtaining any Visa in the future for 5 years and any existing visa would immediately be cancelled – H1 or otherwise. Folks ok with that? If they are following the rules, folks should have NO issue with this

  72. Agreed! I am Indian but US should ban Indian flights at least for 30 days. It is risky for flights to be still operating.

  73. I agree with @ Concerned

    Flights from India should be temporarily banned; if not, we’ll have the same situation on hand we had in March 2020.

    It takes time to study and get definite answers to whether the current vaccines in the US will combat the new variant/s that are gripping India right now. If they can’t, US will be in the same situation as last year and I don’t think anyone would like to go in lockdown for another year!
    not to mention the mental health issues as a long lasting side effect of lockdowns.
    it’s a temporary ban and nothing racist about it!

  74. We encourage folks to get fully vaccinated if at all they have to travel to India these days. Could make it mandatory that travellers out of India to the US must have official documentation of having completed 2 doses of approved vaccines.

  75. Sir Walter Raleigh, how is it going? Do the money you/your ancestors looted from India still sustain & provide you a good jolly life there in the “developed” country you are in? Btw, when you get a moment from sipping your favorite whiskey, check this following link out to get an idea who was originally the developed/rich country that the one you live looted out…


  76. Here’s the absolute worst news of the day:
    Air India will now have 32 daily flights to the US; so much for the USCIS employee who thought it was related to those with work visas!
    An Indian friend provided the following assessment:
    India is like if you have the money to fly go abroad and don’t overload our system
    Does anyone on this forum agree with this?

  77. It is very common sense to decide that USA should ban India travel.
    However USA can monitor without Banning India travel, as long as there is no impact, things are fine. It seems so far no impact observed with allowing India.

  78. @Alan – I support the thought around temporary travel restrictions but I find the latter portion of your comment quite intriguing. Do you have evidence to support the contributions of Indians and other minorities to our economy? Have you studied the impact on intellectual property, technology, finance and healthcare? Last I checked, immigrants contributed excess of USD 2 Trillion to the US economy and the majority of that contribution was attributed to Indian immigrants. Indians continuously outperform the majority of the population in terms of economic contribution. According to the US Labor statistics, Indian IT companies contribute in excess of USD 60 Bn annually to the US economy. I totally agree that IT companies have managed to WFH but those in the areas of science and technology cannot do experimentation and research away from their labs. I am sure our narrow minds cannot perceive the impact of the last right now, but give it a few years. Disclaimer: my pharma company has several Indian scientists and I feel that I should defend them on that last bit of your comment because it’s wrong and frankly an ignorant comment.

    Going back to the topic of travel, I think we should ban all travel indefinitely since there will never be 100% certainty that any of the vaccines will continue to provide immunity against new and developing strains. I also think that we should consider walls that go so high that no commercial aircraft can enter nor leave the grandest nation of all! Why would Americans need to travel abroad and leave their safe homeland anyways?

  79. @Alan
    Yes, the news is correct. There are several Indian media reporting they have put 33 additional direct flights from India to help passengers come here. Since Canada has closed its borders and need institutional quarantine. Canadians are flying into US and crossing land border by taxis.

    Surprised US media doesn’t report. India is a very important country for US economy or maybe lots of politicians are India centric., I guess. I do not know.

    All I know is, my husband is a ER doctor and he has gone through hell past year here in NY. Seen how it went down in March 2020. Never want to go back there. We have not taken a weekend break let alone a short vacation . So when I see this upsets me. So just plead the government to put health before politics and economy. Please limit people from hot spots or institutional quarantine. When all countries have banned travel from India, do they know something about virus we don’t?

    Trust me, it’s not worth taking risks. India was very complacent and we don’t want to go that route.

  80. I say all countries should ban entry for people from all other countries until the origin countries can verify 100% of the population to be vaccinated and 100% of the population to be covid free. Can’t have any vaccine doubters from America or infected from another country entering!

  81. US should do travel ban to stop people coming from India and spreading the Indian variant here. No one should be traveling right now. I am an Indian too but I support US travel ban to India right now. Safety is important. People are traveling and putting themselves and others at risk.

  82. A key reason why US is allowing people to return is for taxation purposes. Unlike most, I have been quite lucky since last year. First, I made a ton of money on the stock market by choosing to retrieve my investments just before the plunge and investing back near rock bottom. On a different note, all my income 2020 is neither taxable in India nor in USA thanks to some new amendments by the India Govt. and the residency test for taxation purposes in the US! I am sure there are many in the same boat and basically choosing to return on the basis of where they may/may not have to pay taxes.

  83. I won’t be surprised if the US places the ban immediately once US Residents and Embassy/Consular staff have returned. India was just placed on a Level 4 advisory.

  84. Diplomacy is a two way street. India was one of the few countries that had an air bubble arrangement with the US starting Aug 2020 and on-going until now. Daily new cases in the US crossed 200,000 throughout Dec and Jan, but India (which barely had any cases at the time) continued to honor the air bubble. I’m pretty sure this plays a role in the US not instituting a travel ban on India now that the situation is reversed.

  85. I’m a Chinese and I don’t think Trump’s ban to traveling from China is racist. In fact, I think it’s one of the rare things he’d done right during pandemic. Maybe he’d done it out of malign motivation, but it was the correct thing to do.

  86. @ Riggedveda
    Not true. I wanted to go visit an old relative in India since last June. But India is allowing only Indian citizens and OCI card holders. I have a tourist visa but they refused to honor it. But US is still giving out tourist, student all kinds of visas even today. I don’t care who comes from where as long as they make sure they are not bringing virus with them. People should not be traveling right now. Period

  87. @Trent
    My comment was directed at the USCIS employee who commented that the government was not stopping flights because of H1B visa holders. By no means am I questioning the contribution immigrants have made to the United States. Google, Microsoft and many other high tech companies have Indian CEOs. I was simply pointing out that stopping flights while the pandemic is exploding in India cannot be offset by a few H1B visa holders who will temporarily disadvantaged. I was referring specifically to those who would not be able to travel right now if a ban was put in place, by no means am I referring to those already here nor those coming in the future. I apologize if you thought my intent was different. Too many times during this pandemic the government seems to have put economic interests above those of public health. I look to China with its 1.4 billion people where life was back to nearly normal in less than three months without vaccines. For months they even banned foreigners with Chinese residency from returning.

  88. A temporary travel ban from India should be issued immediately!

    When there is so much threat and so wide concern yet no action is being taken, I call it failing governance. This is a sign showing that the US government is failing.

    I hope all other countries will ban all travels from US, to show that US government is irresponsible.

  89. At the very least, the quarantine should be strictly enforced and severe consequences should be imposed for skirting them. That is something that can be done immediately and by local government. Other countries have done the same with police and military. If we do not have the capacity, then we should not allow because that only further states that we should close the borders.

    This is not about politics. This is about science. If this virus spikes the US, inherently, there will be even more variants. Then the vaccine effectiveness issue comes back. Then we’re back to lock down in the US.

    Personally, I’m not interested in going back to the S show that we had earlier in the year.

  90. US really need to add India to Travel Ban now, or test COVID and quarantine at the port like HongKong, Singapore.
    Doing nothing is most irresponsible!
    It pulls the country back to water.

  91. @Concered. Yes Tourist and Medical visa holders were barred entry into India. But US citizens entering India under any other category of visa including business, work, education, diplomat and emergency have been permitted entry. This was even during the US surge where the per-capita infections and deaths in the US were much higher than the current India situation. I understand your disappointment at being denied entry with a tourist visa, but it’s completely not true to say that only Indian citizens and OCI holders were granted entry.

  92. Travel bans are pointless. Brought in a lot of hurt for people trying to meet their sick or dead family members but couldn’t meet them. All travel bans should be lifted. Maybe make pre-travel and post-travel covid testing mandatory and maybe make sure passengers don’t leave the containment area until results come back if it makes sense. Or enforce a way to mandatorily quarantine at home / hotel.

  93. @Raghavan – Brought in a lot of hurt for a set of people… and possibly DEATH for a lot more. Hmm, which one to choose. Sorry, but I think hurt feelings and the risk for the fewer vs the impact to the masses is too great. People have clearly not honored the self quarantine and therefore unless they are able to solve that problem, the boarders should be closed!

  94. US just issued a travel restriction to India. A little too late but whatever. They still have 4 days to get here. Can’t imagine how crowded the flights will be to get here. I hope they strictly enforce a hotel quarantine direct from airport not self isolation. I know Indian people ( not all) are not at all disciplined wearing masks or social distancing and having a conscience about not spreading to others. I know this because I am Indian. If they really cared, things would not be in this situation now. France already has Indian variant community spread. All had a negative test when they boarded flight from India. I’m very scared just thinking about the crowded people walking out of airport and happily mingling into our community.

  95. I’m Indian in US and let’s face it when Trump instituted a travel ban he was right. Biden will impose one on India and he is right to do so. I am losing people close to me everyday in India to COVID. Young people not just old. We should never let politics determine what is right and wrong. Biden was wrong when he called Trump a xenophobic. I don’t blame anyone but the media for spreading lies for political gains. Do not mistake logic for racism. Racism is illogical.

  96. @Concerd wow! I think you’re either having a panic attack or you’re really scared. Either way chill and just stay home if you’re so scared. I’m a foreign journalist living in India and am certainly much more relaxed than you are.

    And with regards to someone commenting on death versus hurt feelings: I don’t think there is any fear that the U.S. is suddenly starting to care about anyone’s feelings. In over twenty years as a journalist, my observation has been that the U.S. has mainly been a harbinger of death worldwide. In that respect, I am surprised that other nations haven’t banned U.S. travellers permanently.

  97. If only the U.S. acted so definitively to actual plagues in its society – opioid addiction, gang violence, racism and domestic terrorists. Until these problems are solved, I support a permanent ban on Americans leaving their borders.

  98. Wow, so many Indian commenters on this thread with a kick-the-ladder-behind-me mindset. Other than isolated incidents and hearsay, there’s no evidence that Indians in the US behave with a lack of caution. If anything, asians in general and Indians in particular have the highest vaccine adoption percentage in the US. Its also important to note that at its peak, the daily per-capita death rate in the US was FOUR times the current daily death rate in India. Moreover, the CURRENT daily per-capita death rate in the US and India are pretty much the same: about 3 per million. All the self-identified Indians on this thread clamoring for a travel ban should have logically fled the US a long time ago. Maybe its time to examine your own internalized prejudices. Food for thought.

  99. Travel ban from India should have been in place in April. Every individual that lands here increase the chance of spreading that strain. Some Indian are down playing the dangers with false statistics while knowing well that numbers from India are under reported by 3 times to 5 times.

    Biden should protect American first.

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