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I am a student and I am hoping to travel to the US from India with an F-1 student visa.

The best flights available for me have layovers (less than 24 hours) in either CDG Paris or in LHR London.

What are the rules that apply to me? I am concerned about presidential proclamations regarding travel from Schengen countries.

Air France's website says - "The recent “bilateral air bubble” agreement between India and The United States of America, permits partner Delta Air Lines to codeshare with Air France and fly passengers between India and USA via France."

I will be taking a combination of Air France till Atlanta and then Delta to get to BWI (Baltimore/Washington International) from BLR (Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru). Does this mean I, a student can have a layover in CDG and not worry about travelling via a Schengen country?

P.S: There are many questions with vague answers, but questions even a few weeks old are susceptible to being too old in these rapidly changing environments.

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  • Since you are flying with Air France to Atlanta, they will be the only one who really know if this special arrangement is still valid. If you are using Air France between India and Paris, they know the night before if everything is good to go. – Mark Johnson Dec 15 '20 at 10:48
  • My repeated emails to Air France have gone unanswered. I guess the safest thing is to just take a direct flight between India and the US without transits in any country. – Paddy Dec 15 '20 at 10:52
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At this time, you will not be able to take this itinerary and enter the US. Your Indian citizenship and F-1 visa are acceptable for travel and entry, and you would be permitted to transit at CDG without a transit visa if you present an onward ticket that leaves within 24 hours of your arrival at CDG and you stay in the CDG transit area.

However, the airline will deny you boarding for the flight to ATL. This is because you will have transited in France (or the UK, if that were permitted by the UK - I didn't check) within 14 days of when you would present yourself to US immigration at ATL.

As of December 14, 2020, the KoreanAir Timatic portal returns this information:

  • Passengers are not allowed to enter and transit [the United States] if in the past 14 days they have been to or transited through Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China (People's Rep.), Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland (Rep.), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or the United Kingdom.

Thus, to enter the US, you'll either have to a) arrive directly by air in the US from a country not listed, without having entered or transited at one of the listed countries, or b) after transiting or entering a listed country, then stay in a non-listed country for at least 14 days. After 14 days, you can fly to the US provided you haven't (again) transited via or entered a listed country.

This is a rapidly-changing field. The rules can and are changed with little or no advance notice. The US is currently undergoing a fraught political change of administration. Anything can happen.

Thus, this answer may well be incorrect tomorrow, or next week, or next month. That includes the possibility that the requirements for entry to the US might become even more restrictive.

EDIT: mlc points out in Comments that IATA's Covid Page shows an exception for F-1 visa holders which allows them entry even if they've been in a listed country within the last 14 days. This same exemption is echoed in the more-complete IATA Travel Center info page.

I conclude that my answer above is incorrect, and that the OP can indeed fly to the US on this itinerary.

My comments about the unpredictability of rules changes remain valid.

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  • Immigration will probably be in Atlanta, not Baltimore. Air France will probably know if the special arrangement is still valid before leaving Paris. Are these special air bubble agreements listed in timatic? – Mark Johnson Dec 15 '20 at 10:52
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    @MarkJohnson You're quite right, my eyes skipped right over it: US immigration will definitely be in ATL. I'll amend my answer. Thanks. – DavidSupportsMonica Dec 15 '20 at 15:35
  • According to IATA, this requirement does not apply to "students with an F-1 or M-1 visa and their F-2 and M-2 dependents, if they arrive from or have been in Ireland (Rep.), United Kingdom or Schengen Member States in the past 14 days", which seems to cover the question asked, though your caveats about how things could quickly change continues to apply. – mlc Dec 15 '20 at 16:53
  • I frankly can not make heads or tails of the Department of State memo on the matter, though; in particular, it's unclear if it applies to people transiting the EU or just nationals. – mlc Dec 15 '20 at 16:59
  • @mlc Thanks for the pointer to the IATA Covid page, which does indeed allow the OP entry as an F-1 visa holder. The main IATA Travel Center page (iatatravelcentre.com) also reflects the F-1 exception. I conclude the KoreanAir link generates a truncated and inaccurate result. I'll amend the answer. – DavidSupportsMonica Dec 15 '20 at 18:40
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For LHR, assuming you are taking BA, BA will not let you board from India since they would allow Indian nationals to travel only to the UK, Ireland or Cayman. Check this. Go to the section titled 'Outbound flights from India:' under 'India'

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