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

Schengen Visa Info reports the US Department of State said that these categories of travellers qualify to enter the US under the national interest exception, which permits travel on a temporary basis that provides a substantial benefit to the US economy.

The general travel ban for citizens of these countries to the US remains in place.

“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,” the Department of State announced in a notice.

“Students from those areas who are travelling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request,” it added.

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

Schengen Visa Info reports the change of rules of entry does not apply to the following: au pairs, summer camp, counsellors, interns, trainees, teachers, summer work travel programmes.

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.

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