State Department Issues Guidance on National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Zone, UK, and Ireland

July 27, 2020 | United States of America

Due to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has issued guidance on National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for some travelers from the Schengen Zone, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Based on the agency’s updated guidance, certain treaty traders, academics, business travelers, and students may qualify for NIEs. Investors, business travelers, academics, treaty traders, and J-1 students who either have an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or a valid visa issued prior to the effective date of Presidential Proclamation 9993 or 9996, or those who want to apply for a visa and believe they qualify for an NIE, should contact a nearby U.S. Embassy or Consulate prior to traveling. Students who are qualified for an M-1 or an F-1 visa are automatically considered for an NIE. Therefore, students traveling from the U.K., Ireland, and Schengen Zone with a valid M-1 or F-1 visa do not have to contact a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request an NIE for travel. However, students who want to apply for a new F-1 or M-1 visa should check the status of visa services offered at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Along with the new guidance for certain travelers, the DOS will continue to issue NIEs for qualified travelers who wish to enter the United States for select purposes including national security, humanitarian travel, and public health response.