US Opens Borders For Students, Academics And Businesspersons From Schengen Area, Ireland & UK

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In an unprecedented move, the United States has decided to open the borders for certain business travellers, investors, treaty traders, academics, and students from the Schengen Area countries, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Despite that the general travel ban for citizens of these countries to the US remains in place, the US Department of State has asserted that these categories of travellers from the selected countries in Europe qualify to enter the US under the National Interest Exceptions which permits travel on a temporary basis that provides a substantial benefit to the US economy.

Students travelling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students from those areas who are travelling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request,” the Department of State announces in a notice published in the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

The notice also asserts that granting national interest exceptions for this travel to the United States from the Schengen area, UK, and Ireland, will assist with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster key components of our transatlantic relationship.

Students holding F1 or M1 visas and their dependents must meet the following conditions:

  • Must have a valid I-20
  • College or university must offer in-person classes
  • Colleges or universities that move to online-only classes are not included
  • SEVIS fee paid
  • Students will need to self-quarantine subject to local requirements

Those currently holding a valid F1/F2 visa and a valid I-20, may travel to the US and apply for admission. They do not need to reapply.

Academics holding J1 visas and their dependents have a valid DS-2019. The following categories holding J1 visas are permitted to enter under this decision:

  • Professors
  • Research scholars
  • Short term scholars
  • Specialists

The change of rules of entry does not apply to the following:  au pairs, summer camp, counsellors, interns, trainees, teachers, summer work travel programs.

As per business travellers (B1/B2), the following are included in the exemption from the entry ban:

  • Technical experts and specialists
  • Senior-level managers and executives
  • Professional Athletes and essential staff who enter to participate in major sporting events

Their dependents are also eligible to enter.

– Schengen Visainfo.

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