In July 2020, the Department of State announced that certain business and student travelers coming from Schengen countries or the U.K. (such as B-1 business visitors), treaty traders, or treaty investors may apply for a  National Interest Exception (“NIE”). The NIE allows such travelers to travel to the United States even with the travel bans remaining in effect.

What categories of travelers qualify for the exception?

The following categories of travelers can apply for the exception:

My National Interest Exception Application was denied. Does this disqualify me from getting a visa in the future?

No. If you applied for the National Interest Exception and your application was denied by the Consulate/CBP Port of entry, this should not have any effect on your future visa applications.

When applying for a National Interest Exception, you are basically demonstrating to the Consulate/CBP Port of Entry that you need to urgently travel to the U.S. and your travel is in the U.S. national interest. If the Consulate/Port of Entry denies your application, that means that they don’t believe that you urgently need to travel to the U.S. and the travel is not in the U.S. national interest, but that does not disqualify you/have any negative impact on your future visa applications.

Example

You are currently in France and you submitted your E-2 investor visa application to the Consulate. You have an approved ESTA and you applied for a NIE to come to the U.S. as a business visitor. In your NIE application, you explained that you need to come to the U.S. to hire employees for the E-2 business so the business can start operations and to meet with your supplier. The Consulate denied your NIE application and later scheduled your E-2 visa interview. You are now wondering whether the denied NIE will have any impact on your E-2 visa application.

The fact that your NIE application was denied will not affect your E-2 application. The Consulate Officer may though ask you for example if you hired any employees remotely from France. Again, the officer may ask this more out of interest, but the fact that your NIE was denied should not have any effect on your E-2 visa application.

Please read more about National Interest Exception when you click here.

Please read more about the procedure of applying for NIE at a U.S. Consulate and the CBP port of entry when you click here.

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