The Department of State recently extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for travelers from a single entry, to a multiple entry exception, valid for 12 months from the date of approval. The NIE approval is valid for multiple entries, only if they are used for the purpose under which they were granted.
The extension applies to travelers subject to geographical COVID-19-related travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and any subsequent proclamations related to the spread of COVID-19. The new guidelines apply to individuals who currently have approved NIEs or who were granted NIEs in conjunction with a visa application.
As a reminder, students holding F or M visas and travelers with immigrant or fiancé(e) visas have automatically been granted NIEs and do not need to apply to obtain an NIE in advance from a consular section. Students from the countries affected by the ban are eligible for NIEs if their programs begin on or after August 1, 2021.
The Department of State advises:
Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling if they have not previously been approved for an NIE and have a valid visa in the appropriate class or have a valid ESTA authorization for travel under the Visa Waiver Program and seek to travel for purposes consistent with ESTA authorization. If an NIE is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate. Each approved NIE is valid for 12 months from the date of approval and may be used to travel to the United States multiple times for the purpose indicated in the approved NIE.
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