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Do I Need a NIE If I Have a U.S. Citizen Child?

By March 23, 2021Immigration
Group of children playing

Travelers that were physically present in the Schengen area countries or the UK or Ireland within 14 days before their entry to the U.S. will be denied entry, unless they are either exempted from the presidential proclamation (e.g. parents of minor U.S. citizen children) or they qualify for a National Interest Exception.

Certain categories of travelers are automatically excluded from the Presidential Proclamation restricting entry to the U.S. to travelers that were physically present in the Schengen area countries or the UK or Ireland in the past 14 days prior to their entry to the U.S. Please note that parents of minor U.S. citizens are exempted from this presidential proclamation: The presidential proclamation does not apply to:

  • “any noncitizen who is the parent of a U.S. citizen, provided that the U.S. citizen is unmarried and under the age of 21”

The issue of whether the parents of a U.S. citizen can come to the U.S. comes up in 2 scenarios:

1. I already have a valid U.S. visa and I am returning to the U.S. from a Schengen area country or the UK or Ireland

As stated above, the presidential proclamation restricting entry to travelers coming from Schengen area countries or the UK or Ireland does not apply to you and you will also not need a NIE to enter the U.S.

To avoid issues at the border, you should travel together with your U.S. citizen child and have the child’s birth certificate with you. We have heard that some people were able to enter even when they travelled by themselves (without a U.S. citizen child) and only carried the child’s birth certificate, but we would recommend travelling with your child.

2. I need to apply for a U.S. visa

Please note that the U.S. Consulates in the Schengen area countries and the UK and Ireland are currently not issuing non-immigrant visas unless you also qualify for a National Interest Exception.

However, if you have a U.S. citizen child, you will not need a NIE as parents of U.S. citizens (unmarried & under the age of 21) are automatically exempted from the Presidential Proclamation. As you are exempted from the proclamation (the proclamation does not even apply to you), you will not need a National Interest Exception and the Consulate should issue you a visa if you meet all the visa requirements.

Example

You are a UK national and you want to renew your E-2 visa. You have 2 minor U.S. citizen children and 2 minor children who are UK nationals. Your spouse is also a UK national. Do you need to apply for a NIE?

No. In this scenario, you would not need to apply for a NIE – because you have a U.S. citizen child and the presidential proclamation restricting entry does not apply to you. Your spouse would also not need to apply for a NIE (for the same reason). What about your children?

The Presidential Proclamation also exempts any noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21”. This means that your non-U.S. citizen children would be exempted from the proclamation as well, and they would not need the NIE.

You can read our blog post on When will the travel restrictions be lifted by clicking here.

You can find out whether you can apply for an ESTA during Covid when you click here.

Please click here to find out whether NIE denial can affect your future visa application.

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