On June 2, 2021, the Department of State has expanded National Interest Exception rules. This expansion adds individuals “who are seeking to provide vital support or executive direction for critical infrastructure; those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States;” to the list of those who are eligible for NIE in travel banned countries. In some cases, this new language would make getting an NIE for an E-1, E-2 or L-1 visa possible. After the language changed, we emailed the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, who had an E-2 application on hold pending an NIE, and they approved the NIE under the new standard. This is a very positive step for E-2 visa holders.
This expansion will apply to the following countries and regions:
This update is in additional to the existing pool of eligible individuals including journalists; students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs; immigrants; and fiancés of U.S. citizens.
Travelers in categories described above who have a valid visa in the appropriate class or who have a valid ESTA authorization for travel under the Visa Waiver Program and seek to travel for purposes consistent with ESTA authorization, should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling, if they believe they may be qualified. If a NIE is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization. Each approved NIE is valid for 30 days and a single trip to the United States.
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