National Interest Exception Frequently Asked Questions

No. Presidential Proclamation 10199 does not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

No.  Immigrant visa holders are not subject to Presidential Proclamation 10199 related to India, and they remain excepted from the other geographic COVID proclamations per the Secretary of State. K visa holders are also able to travel without any additional processing from the Embassy or Consulates.

The Proclamation does not apply to:

  • Any non-U.S. citizen spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR),
  • Any non-U.S. citizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or LPR child, provided that the U.S. citizen or LPR child is unmarried and under the age of 21,
  • Any non-U.S. citizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided both the non-U.S. citizen and the U.S. citizen or LPR sibling are unmarried and under the age of 21,
  • Any non-U.S. citizen who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or LPR, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications.

Qualifying family members do not need a National Interest Exception or any preapproval from the Embassy or Consulates. Travelers should carry proof of the qualifying relationship (such as a birth or marriage certificate) when initiating travel to the United States.  Please note that we do not provide travelers with letters or other documents demonstrating proof of relationship issued by the Embassy or Consulates, and we do not determine what carriers will accept as proof of relationship.

Information regarding current travel restrictions can be found at travel.state.gov.  The travel restrictions bar entry of most nonimmigrant visa holders who are or have been physically present in India within the last 14 days.  There are exceptions for certain categories of travelers.

Formore information about categories of individuals who are not subject to the Proclamation, as well as those who may qualify for an exception to the current travel restrictions, see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/presidential-proclamation-on-the-suspension-of-entry-as-nonimmigrants-of-certain-additional-persons-who-pose-a-risk-of-transmitting-coronavirus-disease-2019.html

Visa holders with definite plans to travel who can demonstrate qualification for a National Interest Exception may contact the Embassy or Consulate that issued their visa to request a national interest exception prior to travel:

The email must include the following information for all travelers seeking an exception, as it appears on the visa:

Last name:

First name:

Date of birth, in DDMMMYYY format (ie – 01JAN2021):

Gender (M/F):

Country of birth:

Country of citizenship:

Passport number:

Visa Number* and Category:

Issuing Post Name (upper left corner of visa):

Travel dates:

Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of a NIE:

*The visa number, also known as the visa foil number, is located on the lower right of the visa. Please attach a scanned copy of your visa.

Each request will be carefully considered as our limited resources allow.  Emails in languages other than English may slow response time.  We aim to respond to each request within two weeks but cannot guarantee a decision date or the outcome of the decision. Errors in the submitted data may prevent approval in NIE requests.

Please note that National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) are now valid for12 months and multiple entries from the day of approval, though only for the originally-approved purpose of travel. This change is retroactive for all NIEs issued under PP 10199 or other COVID-related proclamations, even if you previously received an NIE with a shorter duration.

Certain travelers are not subject to the Proclamation, and do not need to request a National Interest Exception.  In addition to U.S. citizens and LPRs, individuals not needing a National Interest Exception include:

  • Certain qualifying family members (see above),
  • F-1 and M-1 students who already possess a valid student visa and who will begin their studies on or after August 1, 2021, and
  • Holders of nonimmigrant visas in the following categories:
    • C-1, D, C-1/D air and sea crew, and
    • Diplomats and officials: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, E-1, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6

Travelers who do not fall into the categories above but who may qualify for a National Interest Exception should follow the procedures outlined above.

Formore information about categories of individuals who are not subject to the Proclamation, as well as those who may qualify for an exception to the current travel restrictions, see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/presidential-proclamation-on-the-suspension-of-entry-as-nonimmigrants-of-certain-additional-persons-who-pose-a-risk-of-transmitting-coronavirus-disease-2019.html

Travelers who already possess a valid student (F-1or M-1) visa and who will begin or resume their programs on or after August 1, 2021, may travel to the United States without further action from the Embassy or Consulates in India.  Direct travel to the United States from India with a F-1 or M-1 visa may begin no more than 30 days prior to the start date of a student’s classes.  For more information about exceptions to the current travel restrictions, pleasesee https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/presidential-proclamation-on-the-suspension-of-entry-as-nonimmigrants-of-certain-additional-persons-who-pose-a-risk-of-transmitting-coronavirus-disease-2019.html

Workers who are seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure sectors may qualify for a National Interest Exception, as may their dependents.  Please review https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/presidential-proclamation-on-the-suspension-of-entry-as-nonimmigrants-of-certain-additional-persons-who-pose-a-risk-of-transmitting-coronavirus-disease-2019.html and follow the above procedures if you can demonstrate your eligibility.

Please note that nonimmigrant visa holders (including H-1B holders) who are not subject to Presidential Proclamation 10199 based on their familial relationship to a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or unmarried minor child (see above) do not need a National Interest Exception.  Such travelers should bring proof of the qualifying relationship to present to airline officials when initiating travel to the United States.  The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India do not provide letters to airlines confirming relationships.

At this time, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are only accepting emergency appointments in most visa categories. Applicants with an emergency need for travel can request an expedited appointment through our online appointment system at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/expedited-appointment.html.  In your request, please clearly state which National Interest Exception may apply and provide any supporting documentation.

Information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 testing requirement for all air travelers to the United States can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html

Yes.  Individual and blanket NIEs (including the blanket NIEs for F-1 and M-1 students) for PP10199 are valid for transit only through all other countries that are subject to the Novel Coronavirus Proclamations, including Schengen countries and the United Kingdom.

Please note that the blanket NIE applies only to F-1 and M-1 students.  Most J visa holders, F-2 and M-2 derivatives, and any B1/B2 travelers are subject to the proclamation due to presence in a designated country and would need an approved NIE prior to travel.

Travelers who already possess a valid student (F-1 or M-1) visa, including those continuingCurricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) programs, and who will resume their programs on or after August 1, 2021, may travel to the United States without further action from the Embassy or Consulates in India.  Travel to the United States from India with a F-1 or M-1 visa may begin no more than 30 days prior to the resumption date of a student’s classes or CPT/OPT program.

The Proclamation does not apply to non-U.S. citizen travelers with certain qualifying familial relationships with a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR); please see above for qualifying relationships.

Non-U.S. citizen travelers possessing derivative visas and who do not have a qualifying familial relationship are subject to the Proclamation and require NIEs before commencing travel to the United States from India. See above for instructions on applying for an NIE.

You need not be concerned about a lack of an annotation on your visa. There are many types of cases that will not receivean annotation, including those who have demonstrated that they are not subject to the Proclamation, those whose visas were issued prior to the Proclamation, and certain  categories of visa holders who are eligible for blanket waivers, including F-1 and M-1 students  with start or resumption dates on or after August 1, 2021. NIEs are processed electronically and do not require any additional letters to airlines.