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Abroad education is regaining hope as students look forward to better tidings. Read the blog to know the recent developments in the COVID-19 rules and regulations.
Vishakha BhagiaUpdated on: 07 Sep 2023
With COVID-19 cases going down and the vaccination process ramping up across the world, abroad education is regaining hope as students look forward to better tidings. Popular study destinations around the globe are opening their borders to international students and the study abroad sector is gradually returning on track.
Some of the recent developments such as the UK moving India to its Amber list and the USA approving the highest number of student visas to Indians point to the positive change that is happening in the overseas education field. Though this positive tread has its own set of restrictions, there is so much for study abroad aspirants to be happy about.
The United States government is making all possible efforts to help overseas students arrive in time for the Fall 2021 session and additional visa appointments are being scheduled at the American embassies throughout India. The government is allowing freshers and returning students to enter the country. Students beginning a new program in or after August may travel to America up to 30 days prior to the course start date. The same rule is applicable to returning students.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy has instructed students to keep the pandemic-related entry requirements in mind. Students entering the country have to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. While the USA does not require travelers to present proof of vaccination, they are recommended to get in touch with their colleges and comply with their individual vaccination requirements.
Also, recently, the US Mission in India declared that over 55,000 Indian students and exchange visitors to the United States have been given student visas in 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the highest number ever. In their statement, they quoted “In July, as soon as conditions allowed for the resumption of visa services without endangering applicants’ health and safety, consular teams worked not only to match but surpass, their pre-COVID workload. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates opened additional hours for visa appointments and made every possible effort to ensure timely arrival for academic programs for as many students as possible. Ultimately, these efforts paid off, as more students than ever before received visas to study in the United States,”
In early August, the Government of Canada suspended direct flights from India until 21st September 2021. Students who were looking to join the Fall 2021 session were to travel via indirect routes while carrying a negative coronavirus molecular test from a third country.
In its latest optimistic move, the Government of Canada announced that all foreign citizens who qualify for the ‘fully vaccinated traveler exemption’ will be allowed beginning from the 7th September (tentatively), provided that they fulfill certain conditions, such as being eligible to enter Canada, having no symptoms of COVID-19, receiving the complete series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccination, and satisfying the testing requirements upon arrival in the country. As long as students fulfill these requirements, they are most likely to be allowed to enter Canada.
UK’s Red, Amber, and Green lists denote which country’s nationals can travel to the UK and what criteria they need to fulfill to be able to enter. India had long stayed on the country’s Red list until, on 8th August 2021, it was moved to the Amber list, changing the rules and regulations Indian students are required to follow as they cross the borders to the United Kingdom. These rules and regulations are a lot less stringent on Indian students’ minds and pockets, and only ask them to take a COVID test 72 hours before the date of travel, book & pay for the tests to be taken after arriving, and fill a passenger locator form before landing. This shift has made it way easier for overseas students to travel to the country in time for their classes to commence.
Acclaimed all around the world for its successful handling of COVID-19, New Zealand has kept its international borders shut to students for about 18 months now. However, as the New Zealand Government targets fully vaccinating all its people aged over 15 by the end of this year, the talks of reopening the borders have started surfacing. While New Zealand is currently letting a limited number of bachelor, master, and doctorate students re-enter the country, it is planning to resume its fresher intake during the first quarter of 2022.
Foreign students will be allowed into the country provided that they meet the conditions set by the government on the basis of their vaccination status and infection levels in the country of departure. How and when this happens, although, is yet to be seen.
The French authorities, in their recent announcement, have stated that students and talented passport holders have compelling reasons for entering France. That, mixed with the fact that the country recently moved India to its Yellow (medium risk) list, has resulted in both vaccinated and non-vaccinated Indian students being allowed to enter France. However, it is subject to students fulfilling certain requirements drafted by the French Government.
When this blog is written, it has been more than 18 months since the pandemic hit the world, and if there is anything that we must accept, is that the coronavirus is here to stay and we all have to somehow learn to live with it. Many countries, while fretting about another COVID wave striking, are deciding to cautiously ease up restrictions and open up the borders. To what extent these relaxations will be, only time will tell.
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