About the National Interest Exception
Travel to the United States has been heavily restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing many people even with valid visas to not be able to enter the country. Because of this, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has introduced the National Interest Exception (NIE) to allow travel to the U.S. if deemed a person of national interest by the DOS or Department of Homeland Security (DHS). An NIE can be applied for if you meet the requirements that we have listed below. NIE’s are not just limited to top scientists and infectious disease experts but rather have a broad scale of who can apply. This includes business people, investors, teachers, students, journalists, and more.
The NIE may be applied to both the COVID-19 travel bans and the Nonimmigrant Visa Entry Ban. To apply for the NIE, you must either have a valid U.S. visa, have a valid ESTA travel authorization, or be an applicant for a new U.S. visa. To obtain an NIE, you must also prove that you are of national interest to the United States. There is no set path to prove that you are of national interest, so judgments and results may vary. For business people who want an NIE for themselves or their employees, if you can prove that your travel to the United States can benefit the U.S. economy and/or U.S. employment, then you may receive an NIE.
Getting an NIE
To apply for the NIE, you usually must do so through your closest U.S. embassy or consulate. The application process may vary depending on the country or embassy or consulate to which you are applying through. We have helped many clients submit their NIE applications and would be happy to help you as well. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for an NIE, contact us here and we would be happy to discuss the process with you.
We are also hosting a webinar to explain more about what an NIE is and the process of getting one on December 8th. If you would like to register, click here!