U.S. Visa Frequently Asked Questions

Starting on November 8, foreign national air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with only limited exceptions. For more information see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/covid-19-faqs-for-travel-to-the-us-information.html

The below guidance relating to Presidential Proclamation 10199 and the National Interest Exception policy remains in effect through November 7th.

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

Dear Applicant,

Visa holders with definite plans to travel from India to the United States who can demonstrate qualification for a National Interest Exception (NIE) may contact the embassy or consulate that issued their visa by email to the following addresses to request an NIE prior to travel:

Important reminders:

  • NIEs can only be issued to people with current valid visas. If you need a new visa, please visit here:  https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/.
  • We cannot pre-adjudicate NIEs for applicants not currently in India.

The email must include the following information in the template provided below for all travelers seeking an NIE (please include templates in the body of the email):

Last name:
First name:
Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Gender on passport:
Country of citizenship:
Current passport number:
Passport number with issued visa:
Visa category (H1B, H4, B1/B2, L1, L2, etc.):
Visa expiration date:
Consulate/Embassy that issued the visa:
Current location, city and country:
Have you applied for an NIE since May 1, 2021? (yes or no):
Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of an NIE: (for H1, L1, and O1 visa holders, please be sure to include your job title, employer, and end client, where applicable)

 

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 their F-2 and M-2 derivatives, 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.

For more 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.  The same is true for F-2 and M-2 derivatives.  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, please 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

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/en/expedited-appointment. 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

At this time travelers are not required to be vaccinated prior to entering the United States.  Travel restrictions are subject to change, however, and individuals should review the latest guidance prior to making any travel plans.  Up to date information on COVID-19 related travel restrictions can be found on the CDC’s Travel page.  Student visa holders should contact their school directly for institution-specific requirements.

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.

Yes.  Individual and blanket NIEs (including the blanket NIEs for F-1 and M-1 students and their derivatives) 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, 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.

F2 and M2 visa holders do not need an NIE to travel.  Other 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.

J1s cannot travel on the blanket waiver applicable to F and M students. However, certain categories of exchange visitors are eligible for the National Interest Exception (NIE) including, but not limited to:

  • researchers, student interns and scholars with a program start date after August 1
  • interns and trainees on USG sponsored programs
  • au pairs providing care for covid-19 first responders or researchers OR for children with special needs
  • Fulbright exchange participants
  • specialized teachers with program numbers beginning with G-5
Your NIE eligibility will be evaluated at the time of your interview. If you already have a visa, please follow the instructions for requesting an NIE.
J1 Physicians sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates are not subject to Presidential Proclamation 10199.

For a full list of J-1 categories eligible for the National Interest Exception, please visit 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