As with most others, I have been looking forward to moving to the US this fall. However, with the second COVID wave happening in India, it seems pretty challenging.
Like other US consulates located across India, the US consulate at Mumbai has cancelled multiple Visa appointments. Due to this, the earliest available date for a US visa (F1 in this case) is Feb 2022. That is insane. However, if you are a student, you can go ahead and apply for an emergency Visa that is typically accepted about 60 days before the travel date.
Because of rising COVID cases now the US has banned passengers travelling from India into the United States. However, as of 2 days ago, the US has revised the update and exempted specific individuals from the travel ban. Please refer to this website for a detailed list to see who all are exempted from the ban. You can check for yourself if you have made it to the cut. :)
But if you are a student joining in this fall, you can skip the list - because you are exempted from the travel ban. Although there is a lot of uncertainty with multiple factors coming in, there is a sense of shared stress amongst the student community. The timelines for paperwork are being pushed. However, universities are going to proceed and start programs on time this fall.
Most of the students cannot get their I20 because loans are not being processed on time. Banks are understaffed currently, and state banks have their protocols. Post the I20, SEVIS application and VISA application, getting an interview date seems to be the biggest challenge.
Another grey area is the rules regarding quarantine for people travelling from India. Do they have to quarantine? If yes, for how long. What if the person is fully vaccinated? Do the rules change then.
With passing time, I think all of us have learnt to embrace this uncertainty. However, if there is clarity around this in the coming few days, it will ease some burden off students and others who are scheduled to travel. What do you think?
Also, I will regularly post about my journey into the US as a student, securing a Visa, Consulate bans and restrictions and travel details. Incase this interests you consider subscribing to my website and do not miss out on anything :-)
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