United States

National Interest Exception

Update 6 July 2021

The US consulate in Amsterdam has announced that all NIEs are now valid for 12 months and multiple entries. This is also retroactive for NIEs issued in the past. Thus, if you received an NIE within the past 12 months, it is still valid, even if you already traveled to the United States, and you do NOT need to request a new one.

The consulate further reiterates that they do not respond to requests for updates, and that “Requests for updates may inadvertently move your application to the back of the queue as they are processed in chronological order”.

Update June 2021

Travelers who have been in the Schengen area in the 14 days prior to U.S. entry are still not allowed to enter the US (Proclamation PP 9993). The US government is negotiating with the EU and trying to determine under which conditions travel might be able to resume.

There are however a number of exceptions that make it possible for a select group of people to travel to the US despite the travel ban.

US Embassies/Consulates can issue National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for travelers with valid visas, travelers that need to apply for a visa and travelers who do not require a visa such as ESTA travelers.

Travelers with visas (and travelers who do not require a visa) can apply for a National Interest Exception if they fall in the following categories: urgent medical treatment, public health, humanitarian and national security reasons, as well as certain students and academics.

As of early June, senior-level managers and executives might again qualify for an NIE. This is in addition to the existing NIE possibilities for technical experts and specialists. Only “those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the US” have a chance of securing an NIE in the economic category. Please note that many NIE applications are denied, and the bar is set high by the US consulate.

For travelers who require a visa and a National Interest Exception the situation is more complicated. Until complete resumption of routine visa services, applicants could be processed for a visa interview appointment if the applicant appears to be eligible for an exception under the applicable Proclamation(s).  Applicants who are subject to any of the Proclamations, but who believe they may qualify for a NIE or other exception, could request an emergency appointment and should provide specific details as to why they believe they may qualify for an exception.  While a visa applicant subject to one or more Proclamations might meet an exception, the applicant must first be approved for an emergency appointment request and a final determination regarding visa and NIE eligibility will be made at the time of visa interview.  

VisaVersa has been successfully assisting companies and individuals in obtaining a National Interest Exception (NIE) at various embassies and consulates in Europe including Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Frankfurt.

Please contact us for more information if you believe you may be eligible for the NIE.