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The US embassy on Tuesday cautioned Indian nationals planning to travel home to renew their US visas to expect “significant appointment wait times”, including in the case of emergency appointments, against the backdrop of a surge in Coronavirus infections.
The US embassy’s message, posted on Twitter, follows the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing a “Level 4 Travel Health Notice” and the state department issuing a “Level 4 Travel Advisory” advising against all travel to India. Level 4 is the highest advisory level that is issued because of a “greater likelihood of life-threatening risks”.
“Planning to travel to India soon to renew your U.S. visa? Please plan for a longer stay in India, as we anticipate significant appointment wait times, even for emergency appointments,” the US embassy said in its tweet.
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The US’s latest travel advisory for India states: “Do not travel to India due to Covid-19.” On April 28, the state department approved the voluntary departure of family members of US government employees, and on May 5, it approved the voluntary departure of non-emergency government employees.
The state department has also advised US citizens in India to take advantage of available commercial transportation options to leave the country.
The latest health alert issued by the US embassy on May 12 noted that United and AirIndia airlines are operating dozens of direct flights every week to the US, and that additional flight options were available via transfers in Paris, Frankfurt and Doha.
“US citizens who wish to depart India are encouraged to book tickets through the airlines,” it said.