The Biden administration announced Tuesday it's loosening COVID-19 travel restrictions on international students attempting to enter the U.S. for schooling, according to the State Department.
Starting Aug. 1, students and certain academics who will "provide vital support for critical infrastructure" or who have F-1 and M-1 visas will qualify for a national interest exception, according to a statement from the department.
The qualifying countries include China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa. Travelers from these countries who don't qualify for an exception are still restricted from entering the U.S., according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
President BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE in January issued a proclamation continuing travel restrictions for foreign nationals from these countries originally issued under former President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE.
The State Department previously issued a similar exemption for students hailing from European countries, Reuters noted.
The new regulation stipulates the students will be able to enter the United States 30 days prior to the start of their academic programs.
Colleges and universities in the U.S. have been pushing the Biden administration to ease travel restrictions on international students.
Doing so would "deliver a welcoming message to current and prospective international students, which can help restore the U.S. as a destination of choice, as well as supporting an important economic activity as the U.S. economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic," argued the American Council on Education (ACE) in a letter to Biden, Reuters reported.
International students also generate additional revenue for schools, ACE noted, claiming that educational institutions suffered a $1.8 billion financial loss during the 2019-2020 academic year as a result of not having international students, according to Reuters.