State Department Extends National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) Granted to Travelers Subject to COVID-19 Country Restrictions

July 7, 2021 Anne Walsh

The U.S. State Department has announced that National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) 
granted in the past year are automatically extended for 12 months from the date of approval 
and for multiple entries to the U.S. when used for the purpose for which they were granted.  


Multiple Presidential Proclamations are in place restricting travelers seeking to enter the U.S. 
from the following countries:  

  • China
  • India 
  • Schengen Area 
  • United Kingdom 
  • Ireland 
  • Brazil 
  • South Africa 
  • Iran  

If not exempt, persons present in these countries can enter the U.S. only if granted a National Interest Exception (NIE) or if absent from a restricted country for 14 days. NIE qualification includes those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction to critical infrastructure or significant economic activity, journalists, travel due to extraordinary humanitarian circumstances, and travel in support of national security or public health. 

Effective immediately, approved NIEs will be valid for up to 12 months from the date of their approval and for multiple entries to the U.S., so long as the traveler is entering the U.S. for the purpose for which the NIE was granted.  

The automatic NIE extension applies retroactively to all existing NIEs approved in the past year.  

Looking Ahead 

Aside from the automatic extension and multiple entry use, the protocols for obtaining an NIE remain the same. Global Immigration Associates (GIA) has advised that individuals who need visas and/or NIEs contact their legal counsel for additional guidance. Further information on country-specific instructions can be found at embassy or consulate websites.  

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Anne Walsh, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm. 

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional. 

About the Author

Anne is a Partner with Global Immigration Associates. In this role, she provides counsel for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 corporations and their foreign national employees. Anne’s practice focuses on obtaining visas and employment-based green cards in all categories; immigration compliance arising from corporate changes, such as reorganizations and restructuring; and office relocations and company immigration policies and best practices. She also has extensive experience preparing and reviewing business immigration filings, requests for further evidence and appeals, and in researching and analyzing immigration statutes, policy and procedure. Anne works with clients in several industries, including software, cloud technology, manufacturing and electronics. In addition to her employment-based practice, Anne provides counsel for individuals pursuing visas and green cards through family relationships.

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