National Interest Exception

National Interest Exception

Due to COVID-19, four presidential proclamations suspend the entry into the United States of all noncitizens who were physically present in one of a number of designated countries (Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, Schengen Area countries, United Kingdom, South Africa, India) during the 14-days preceding their attempted admission into the United States. These are Presidential Proclamation 9984 (China); Presidential Proclamation 9992 (Iran);  Presidential Proclamation 10143 (Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa); and Presidential Proclamation 10199 (India). Certain eligible non-citizen travellers to whom the Proclamations apply and who wish to enter the United States can apply for a National Interest Exception (NIE).

A National Interest Exception is an application submitted to the U.S. Consulate through which the noncitizen requests an exception from one of the current Presidential Proclamations limiting travel to the United States.

It is important to note that the above-noted Proclamations do not apply (among others) to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, certain members of their families, air and sea crewmembers, noncitizens who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and certain U.S. government invitees coming to mitigate or contain COVID-19. A full list of the individuals to whom the Proclamations do not apply can be referenced here.

Eligibility Categories

There are three categories of travellers who are automatically considered for National Interest Exception (NIE) at the Port of Entry and do not require advance approval of a NIE from an embassy or consulate. These include: immigrants of all categories (not applicable to Proclamation 10199, which only covers nonimmigrant travel); fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens and their dependents (K visas); and students (F and M visas).

Other categories of travellers still may apply for a NIE if subject to one of the proclamations: among the individuals eligible to apply for a NIE are exchange students and academics, journalists, travellers providing support for critical infrastructure sectors, and travellers providing vital support for significant economic activity in the United States. Additionally, travellers seeking to enter the United States for lifesaving medical treatment (for themselves or a close family members), public health workers travelling to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic or engage in research with a significant public health benefit,  those travelling for humanitarian reasons (to provide care for a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other nonimmigrant-in-lawful-status close family member), and medical escorts/legal guardians or law enforcement personnel accompanying a U.S. citizen being repatriated are also eligible to apply for a NIE.

A full list of the restrictions and exceptions can be consulted here.

How to Apply for a National Interest Exception

Travellers wishing to apply for a NIE must submit an application directly to the nearest U.S. consulate, which must include evidence regarding the urgent travel need and qualification for the National Interest Exception. The embassy or consulate will then forward their recommendation to the Department of State for consideration.

If you need help applying for a National Interest Exception, contact Silver Immigration and book a free consult.