National Interest Exception Frequently Asked Questions

I am a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident.  Does the April 30, 2021 Proclamation apply to me?

No.  The April 30, 2021 Presidential Proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

I have an unused, unexpired immigrant visa.  Does the Proclamation apply?

No.  Immigrants are not subject to the April 30, 2021 Proclamation related to India, and immigrants remain excepted from the other geographic COVID proclamations per the Secretary of State.

I am the immediate family member of a U.S. Citizen or LPR.  Does the Proclamation apply?

The Proclamation does not apply to:

  • Any non-U.S. citizen spouse of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR),
  • Any non-U.S. citizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or LPR, 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 bring proof of relationship when initiating travel to the United States.  Please note that we are unable to provide travelers with a letter or other document demonstrating proof of relationship issued by the Embassy or Consulates.

I have a valid nonimmigrant visa.  Can I travel to the United States under the April 30, 2021 Presidential Proclamation?

Information regarding current travel restrictions can be found at travel.state.gov.  The travel restrictions bar entry of most nonimmigrant visa holders physically present in India.  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

I am subject to the Proclamation but have a valid nonimmigrant visa and believe I qualify for a National Interest Exception.  What do I need to do?

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:

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.

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, when granted, are valid for a single entry within 30 days of approval.

Does every traveler need to be processed for a National Interest Exception?

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),
  • 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 National Interest Exception 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

I am an F/M/J Student.  Do I qualify for a National Interest Exception? 

Travelers who already possess a valid student or exchange visitor (F, M, or J) visa and who will begin 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/M/J visa may begin no more than 30 days prior to the start date of a student’s classes.  We are unable to facilitate travel for F/M/J visa holders with a program start date before August 1, 2021, including whose who have already been issued a visa.  Students with a program start date before August 1, 2021 should contact their respective educational institutions to discuss their options.

Students who have not yet applied for their visa will be processed for a National Interest Exception at the time of their interview if needed.  Please note that currently, due to safety concerns, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are only accepting emergency appointments.  We remain committed to student visa applicants and will add additional student visa appointments as soon as we are able to do so safely.

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

I have a valid H1B visa.  Does the April 30, 2021 Presidential Proclamation apply to me?  Does it apply to my dependents? 

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 H1-B holders) who are not subject to the April 30 proclamation based on their familial relationship to a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or 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 are unable provide letters to airlines confirming relationships.

I have urgent travel and believe I qualify for a National Interest Exception, but I do not yet have a valid visa. What should I do? 

At this time, due to safety concerns, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are only accepting emergency appointments. Applicants with an emergency need for travel can request an expedited appointment through our online appointment systemat 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.

What are the COVID-19 Testing Requirements?

Information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 testing requirement for all air travelers to the United States can be found at the Covid-19 Testing Required for U.S. Entry page.