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.  

Overview 

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. (www.giafirm.com), 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. 

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