He went to India after his dad died, now he can’t return

With husband away, wife risks losing her job and his son is missing doctors’ appointments.

When P.P. [name withheld upon request] an IT professional working in the US on an H-1B visa received the news of his father’s death in India this April, he had no option but to return to India to attend to his grieving family.

However, the professional who has been living in the US for 11 years now had no idea that his emergency travel would leave him stranded. Today as he awaits opening of consulate services in India, his wife and two children are awaiting his return with no clear date in sight.

P.P. is among hundreds of Indian professionals living on work-based visas in the US who are currently left stranded in India due to President Biden’s sudden travel restrictions.

As the Covid situation in India worsened, many countries including the UK and Australia banned travelers from India. While the US joined the list a bit later, US citizens, green card and F1 student visa holders traveling from India to the US were exempted.

READ MORE: Because of the India travel ban, I am separated from my 9-year-old (May 15, 2021)

This partial restriction left many separated from their families as they needed either visa stamping or were ineligible to travel to the US for the time being.

Relating his story, P.P. tells the American Bazaar, “I first came to the United States in 2010 on H-1B employment visa and I’ve been resident of the USA for the past 11 years. I also have an approved immigration petition.”

“I had to travel to India due to a family emergency as my father expired in April. I had to leave my family behind in the USA,” he says about his travel to India which has now left the family stranded.

A timeline and history of H-4 EAD (January 27, 2021)

His family, P.P. says, “includes my spouse and two children including a newborn baby. Both my children are US Citizens, and my spouse is a first responder who joins a hospital in the Midwest as a physician on July 1 on H-4 EAD for spouses.”

“As my spouse’s work status depends on my visa, If I don’t return sooner, it will jeopardize her work status as well as my employment.”

READ: More than 1,000 unstamped H-1B, other nonimmigrant visa holders stranded in India (May 19, 2020)

Not just this, he had other family matters to attend to in the US. “My younger child is due for his one-year physical exam and his vaccine. He had to be hospitalized in January after being diagnosed with low calcium and vitamin D levels,

Since then, he is being followed by pediatric endocrinology for weekly monitoring of low calcium and low vitamin D levels. He is currently taking oral calcium and vitamin D supplements daily.

READ: Travel ban keeps Indian American away from husband’s funeral in US (May 11, 2021)

“My spouse doesn’t drive either. So, she couldn’t manage taking my son to the pediatrician for the follow-ups,” P.P. says.

“I’m on H1B and have been stranded in India. In order for me to return to the US and get united with my family, I’d have to get a visa stamped. I’m unable to book an emergency appointment as I qualify for dropbox,” he says.

“My kids are asking every day, when I will return home and asking why am I stuck here as they don’t understand all these. Now I’ve no idea when I will be able to return to the USA and unite with my family.”

“I don’t know what else to do other than waiting for the positive news,” P.P. signs off sadly.

(This post has been updated.)

READ MORE:

 Indians on work visas upset about selective Covid travel ban (May 4, 2021)

US restricts travel from India; H-1B, L1 holders most affected (April 30, 2021)

US asks Americans to leave India amid Covid surge (April 29, 2021)

Indian Americans concerned about travel to Covid hit India (April 26, 2021)

3 Comments

  1. Dr Manmohan Singh

    Miserable wretch of a cheap labor visa work coolie!! Living 10-15 to a one-bedroom apartment in filthy squalid Sunnyvale and San Jose. Why so desperate?? Their media and films glamorize life in America but cleverly don’t expose how these visa coolies displace local workers, destroy well-paying middle class jobs and wreak utter havoc in corporate offices once they get a foothold in there and bring in entire village-fulls of their relatives. No company has been spared by their ravages. In many companies, you WILL NOT get a job today unless you’re an H1B india so toxic and cancerous is the culture. Every company in the Bay Area is infested with indians. How many are enough?? Yet overpaid tech CEOs keep harping the same worker-shortage nonsense year after year while making millions from these sweatshops. Americans have been leaving Silicon Valley since the 90s only to be replaced by millions of South indians willing to work for $5 an hour. California is certainly numero uno in one thing – homelessness which is a direct result of wealth disparities caused when H1B indians displace locals.

  2. Little Ed

    When you’re in temporary visa, please expect these to happen at any time. Being an IT profession or been here for decades doesn’t make you automatically gain citizenship or a permanent residency. USA is a country with high standards of laws, regulations, lifestyle and immigration system. That’s is a reason why you are in this country for decades and striving to get into this country and ready to give up citizenship of your own birth country where you were more than half of your lifetime. This is a pandemic. Don’t try to use it for one’s benefit which would affect millions of the nation.
    Note: Also there are many exception clause as per whitehouse.gov . One of them is “ (iv) any noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;”

    The reason this guy couldn’t travel is not the travel ban. It’s because he’s not having a valid visa to travel. All US embassies around a world are hardly hit by the pandemic too. Case loads are piling up. US citizens working in the embassies specially from India, can’t risk their lives, health and work 24/7 to process all pending applications. That’s the other side of the story.

    What Ponraj can do is wait until he gets his visa stamped. No used in shedding tears saying I have house, cars, need to pay mortgage, etc. When you’re in TEMPORARY visa, be ready for it. Don’t complaint about immigration system of a country, which you desperately want to get it. You know it’s what makes it a great nation.

  3. Jeff Collins

    He should have been sent forced to back to India after 6 years since he was on a TEMPORARY VISA. He already overstayed by 5 years, no sympathy for him. Stay in India. You were NEVER promised a green card or permanent residency when you got your TEMPORARY VISA. You have already taken too much from the USA. THe USA owes you nothing. We have too many Indians coming here lowering salaries, work conditions, and standard of living for everyone.

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