The U.S. Department of State has announced, in updated guidance, that special “National Interest Exceptions” (NIEs) for travel to the U.S. will be valid for twelve (12) months, and may be used for multiple entries. Previously issued NIEs will remain valid, provided a traveler is entering the United States for the same purpose, as stated in their original NIE request.
- Background: In reaction to the COVID pandemic, the Department of State has issued strict travel bans for individuals who have been physically present within any of the following countries within fourteen (14) days of their request for admission to the U.S.: United Kingdom, Ireland, China, India, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, and any Schengen Area countries.
- National Interest Exceptions: Individuals traveling from any of the named countries are eligible to request an NIE, if they can demonstrate that they will provide either: a) executive direction, or b) or “vital support” to critical U.S. infrastructure.
- Process: Travelers may request an NIE from a U.S. Consulate, either in connection with an existing visa in their passport, or, while making an application for a new visa stamp. Most consular posts will take several weeks to review such requests, and if granted, NIEs have only been valid for thirty (30) days, and for a single entry into the U.S. The recent announcement by the Department of State expands the validity of NIEs, to a full twelve (12) months, and for multiple entries to the U.S.