F-1 students who already have their visa stamped on the passport can travel back in July. Those who do not have a visa stamping will have to wait for either the consulates in India to open (currently processing only emergency visas, which could include imminent academic session), or try obtaining a student visa in a country other than India. J-1 students will need to apply for National Interest Exemption, which should be given, but only when the consulates open for business.
US Consulates in India have issued the following instructions current as of the date of this write up. Note that this situation may change quite rapidly/
Visa holders with definite plans to travel who can demonstrate qualification for a National Interest Exception may contact the Embassy or Consulate that issued their visa to request a national interest exception prior to travel:
U.S. Embassy New Delhi:
U.S. Consulate General Chennai:
U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad:
U.S. Consulate General Kolkata: KolkataNIE@state.gov
U.S. Consulate General Mumbai:
The email must include the following information for all travelers seeking an exception, as it appears on the visa:
Date of birth, in DDMMMYYY format (ie – 01JAN2021):
Country of birth:
Country of citizenship:
Visa Number* and Category:
Issuing Post Name (upper left corner of visa):
Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of a NIE:
*The visa number, also known as the visa foil number, is located on the lower right of the visa.
Each request will be carefully considered as our limited resources allow. Emails in languages other than English may slow response time. We aim to respond to each request within two weeks but cannot guarantee a decision date or the outcome of the decision. Errors in the submitted data may prevent approval in NIE requests.
Please note that national interest exceptions, when granted, are valid for a single entry within 30 days of approval.
Note: For the NRI readers, The Economic Times has started an immigration helpdesk. A team of experts which includes Rajiv S. Khanna will address the most pressing issues. Please see the link below.