US lift travel restrictions for international students

Updated on: Jun 27, 2023
US lift travel restrictions for international students
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The Biden administration has announced that it will lift all travel restrictions for international students.

The move means that all international students planning to begin or continue their academic programs on or after August 1, 2021, will be eligible to study in the US without further delays to the F1 visa programme. 

Previous restrictions had been in place due to fears over the spread of coronavirus. However, international students have now been granted a ‘National Interest Exception’ (NIE), as it is believed that it is in the national interest to allow them to travel. 

Students who already have a valid F1 or M1 visas do not have to contact their embassy to travel. However, those who have not yet been granted a visa will need to make an appointment at their local embassy in order to gain their visa. 

A statement from the US government said: “On April 26, 2021, the Secretary of State made a national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, and 10143 related to the spread of COVID-19.

“As a result of this determination, together with national interest determinations already in place, travelers subject to these proclamations, due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, who are seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure; journalists; students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs, may now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE).”

The announcement will come as welcome news to thousands of students hoping to travel to the US in August for the new academic year.

It is also indicative of the Biden administration’s support of the higher education sector, with universities highly reliant on the fees of international students. 

A number of US universities have also announced that students will only be allowed on campus if they have received the coronavirus vaccine. Students should contact their university if they have questions about how they can receive the vaccine.

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