Home » US Visa Stamping Experiences » National Interest Exception(NIE):14 Experiences, Letters H1B, H4

National Interest Exception(NIE):14 Experiences, Letters H1B, H4

As many of you know US has banned travelers from India, if they have spent 14 days in India before the travel. You can apply for US Visa or travel to US, only if you fall under exceptions for travel ban or fall under National Interest Exception(NIE). Also, even if you have visa stamped in passport, you need to email Consulate and get NIE in email before you fly.

Update: US lifted Travel Ban for India Travelers starting from Nov 8th, 2021. You do not need NIE for Travel or Visa Stamping after Nov 8th, 2021. Check more at US Travel Ban Lifted – US Travel Requirements . You need to vaccinated to travel to US, check List of Vaccines to Travel to US

Many of our readers, users on telegram groups (anonymous for privacy), who applied for NIE were kind enough to share their experiences and NIE Letter templates and guidance for H1B Visa, H4 Visa. Thanks a lot to all of them for sharing their NIE experiences with the community.

What is National Interest Exception (NIE) ? NIE Critical Infrastructure List ?

National Interest Exception (NIE) is nothing but an exception given by the US Dept of State that exempts individuals from the Presidential Proclamation. US Department of state gives the list of who all falls under NIE based on the US National Interest and humanitarian grounds. To get a full list of people who fall under NIE, and general process check the below articles.

Once you get NIE, you need to travel to US within 30 days as per the guidance given by the US consulates and US Embassies across the globe, including India. Check Travel to US with NIE – 30 days Rule.

Now that we have some understanding on the NIE and criteria, let’s look user experiences and NIE Letter templates.

Traveling to the U.S. on H1B/L1 Visa – Get a Credit Card based on Indian Credit History: If you are traveling to the U.S. for the first time on H1B Visa or any other work visa, getting a Credit Card can be difficult as you won’t have a credit history in the U.S. To address this, Zolve, a fintech startup, has raised $55 Million with a focus on helping H1B & work visa holders, in getting a U.S. Credit Card based on their Indian credit history. This way, you can start building your credit history from day 1 in the U.S. with Zolve. The best part is that you can apply for a Zolve Account and Credit Card online from your home, even before you travel.


Experience 1 : NIE Experience H1B end-to-end : Letter, Travel to US

Background : I’m an H1B holder with a stamped US Visa from the Mumbai Consulate. I have been on H1B since 2011. I currently work in the financial services industry in an investment analysis and client facing role and would classify myself as mid level management. I traveled to India on April 26th for my fathers funeral and couldn’t leave before May 4th. 

National Interest Exception Application for Travel to US

I applied for my NIE on May 8th to Mumbai Consulate where my visa was stamped. I received approval on May 12th. My application was certainly a long shot in my view because I did not think I classified as “vital support” but I thought I would try anyway because there was no harm in applying. It doesn’t hurt to apply per my research on this topic.

Sample Letter Format for NIE Request for H1B Visa – Financial Services

For my application, I filled out the standard fields listed on the consulate website as below.

  • Last name : XXX
  • First name: XXX
  • Date of birth: XXX
  • Place of birth: XXX
  • Country of citizenship: XXX
  • Passport number: XXX
  • Visa Number* and Category: XXX
  • Travel dates: XXX
  • Travel Purpose and National Interest Category that you fall under with clear justification of the same : XXXX. ( see below )

The travel justification was the most important field in my view. In this field I wrote about 2-3 paragraphs. Below are the topics I covered in the letter. I did not had any official letter from the HR or my company.

  • I explained the circumstances of my travel.
  • I discussed my work in financial services which is labeled as a critical infrastructure industry per CISA
  • I mentioned my office remained open during the pandemic from March 2020 for essential employees and I was deemed an important employee by company (I have heard others get letters from their HR department to cement their case but I did not have one). Having established my firm a critical infrastructure firm.
  • I went on to explain how I provide “vital support” to the firm. I discussed my role briefly and mentioned the clients I work with include healthcare firms, US public govt pensions and firms in other critical infrastructure industries.
  • I would find a way to link your work to these end clients in your application.
  • I also mentioned i cannot do my role remotely due to the H1B regulations that prevent us from working outside the country and I mentioned how my aforementioned clients would be worse off without the work I do for them.
  • I summarized this by saying I believe it is in the national interest for me to be present in the country to continue this important work etc.
  • Documents Attached : I attached my US visa copy and India passport copy. 


Response from Mumbai consulate as below :  I also asked them what documents I need and they mentioned that a copy of this email will suffice for travel and entry to US. 

Email from Consulate with NIE Approval
Email from Consulate with NIE Approval

 Side Note: Another contact I have who applied for NIE on B1/B2 got declined but the consulate response encouraged them to find a path to spend 14 days in a third country before entering the US. 

Travel to US, Port of Entry Experience: 

  • I flew from Delhi on May 21st – it was a direct flight from India to US.
  • There was a quick secondary check at check in within the airline staff if I could fly on H1B w/ NIE exemption – they didn’t look at the letter from consulate very closely – and issued my boarding pass.
  • I did carry the NIE exceptions language from State website and the airline policy language stating passengers should carry documentation relevant to their case for entry, in case there were issues. The letter wasn’t checked again by airline staff. 
  • Upon landing, I went to immigration officer to who I mentioned I am traveling on H1B with a NIE exemption. The first one asked purpose of trip to India and then if I was in contact with anyone who was sick.
  • He then asked me to follow him and took me to another officers booth toward the right hand side of the hall.
  • The 2nd officer asked me fairly standard questions for entry to US
    • 1) purpose of trip to US
    • 2) what I do at my job and how long i have worked there
    • 3) how much cash am I carrying
    • 4) was i carrying any food.
  • I asked him if he needed the printed out copy of my NIE exemption letter and he said no, he had it on his system.
  • He then stamped my passport and I was in. Check US Port of Entry Process for more info
  • Customs was stopping several people specifically asking if we were carrying food, meat and vegetables (to a much higher degree than they usually do). 

Final Thoughts : I hope this provides some detail on the process and what to include on the NIE application. It is a low risk option to try so I would certainly recommend applying if you work in a critical infrastructure industry and trying as much as you can to create a link between your work and the impact on your company/clients ongoing functioning. It is a very stressful time for those stuck in India – my best wishes to those applying for this or finding a way out through a third country. 


Experience 2 : NIE Sample Letter for H1B Visa – Approval Experience

Shared by Pratik

Background for NIE : I work in semi conductor manufacturing industry. I did some research and asked my immigration lawyers of the company to see if I qualify. I emailed HR and immigration lawyers and got the relevant letter to attach with NIE request. I emailed the Mumbai consualte the below letter with all the relevant information as mentioned by them as below and attached the supporting NIE letter sent by my company .

NIE Email Information Sent

  • Last name : XXX
  • First name: XXX
  • Date of birth: XXX
  • Place of birth: XXX
  • Country of citizenship: XXX
  • Passport number: XXX
  • Visa Number* and Category: XXX
  • Travel dates: XXX
  • Travel Purpose and National Interest Category that you fall under with clear justification of the same :  Working on H1B in US for XXX and fall under “vital support for critical infrastructure sectors”. Please find the attached letter from my company for NIE.

List of Documents Submitted

  • Employment Verification letter 
  • Letter stating which area the company serves in from the Company HR  ( NIE Letter )

National Interest Exception (NIE) Letter for H1B

You need to get the below letter in company letter head signed by the relevant company authorized person with contact info for verification, if needed.
Date : XXX
To Whom it May Concern:
The frontline essential worker XXXX (the “Employee”) presenting this letter is currently employed by XXX Inc., formerly known as XXX, located at 5825 XXX, Oregon XXX (the Facility). In reviewing the Oregon state and federal guidance set out below and the eligibility requirements for vaccination listed in the Oregon “Get Vaccinated Oregon” COVID-19 Vaccination Plan (the “Vaccination Plan”), XXXX confirms that the Employee (i) is classified as a “critical worker in a high risk setting” or “frontline worker” employed by an essential manufacturer, and (ii) meets the eligibilities requirements for vaccination in Phase 1B Group 7 of the Vaccination Plan.

As some background, XXXX manufactures specialty chemicals required by the semiconductor and microelectronics industries to build products and materials needed for advanced technological devices, including healthcare-related devices and more general computing technology. The XXX’ facility located in XXX, Oregon is considered “Essential Businesses and Operations.” At the federal level, pursuant to the most recent guidance issued on December 16, 2020 by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the Department of Homeland Security, the Chemical Sector and Critical Manufacturing Sector supported by XXX’ manufacturing activities are specifically designated as Essential Critical Infrastructure upon which a wide range of other critical infrastructure sectors rely.
Please contact the following XXX management personnel if you have any questions about this letter or XXX’ operations in general

Processing time after Submitting NIE Request : The Consulate in Mumbai took 9 days to process the request and approved my NIE Request. Below is the sample approval email

NIE Approval Email from Consulate to Travel to US

Greetings, 

Please carry a copy of this e-mail while travelling. 

We wish to advise you of an approval for the following individual(s) of an exception to the April 30, 2021 Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019. 

Mr. XXXXXXXXXXXXX

This exception has been registered in our systems, is valid for 30 days from the date of approval, and is valid for a single entry only to the United States. As many flights continue to be cancelled on a regular basis, we recommend you attempt to travel as soon as possible so that the approval does not expire before you can travel. As long as the April 30, 2021, Presidential Proclamation is in place, an exception will be required for travel to the United States directly from India or from any of the other countries listed in other presidential proclamations. 

Please also be advised that admission into the United States remains subject to a determination by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at ports of entry and that you also may be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival to the United States. This approval does not exempt travelers from U.S. COVID-19-related entry requirements. 

Sincerely,
U.S. Consulate General Mumbai

Suggestions for anyone applying for NIE

Talk to company and read the critical infra list by department of state in detail. It lists the different areas which might include yours too. For example: if you work in software which helps in maintained of a factory you might be included in providing critical support to manufacturing.  So make your case accordingly.  Check CISA website Document for full list & Details


If you are looking for more letters, format for applying for NIE for H1B, you can read National Interest Exception Letter Samples for H1B, Format

Experience 3 :NIE Experience with H1B Visa, Travel to US

Background : I came to India on April 17, 2021 to attend a personal matter. I was eligible for dropbox so submitted my documents for dropbox at Chandigarh due to lockdown in New Delhi, got my visa stamped in 1 week. I had change of employer and I was fearing that I will get 221g but fortunately didn’t face any issue.

Applying for NIE for H1B Visa : After the ban almost made my mind to travel to Mexico but after seeing some folks mention NIE applied for NIE.

  • I sent NIE email on Tuesday night at around 11PM and got approval by Wednesday 10:30 AM. I work for a cloud and data center technology and category was critical infrastructure – information technology sector. Mainly followed below for justification
  • 2 lines about my total experience. Next 3 lines about my profiles and company and project details. 5 bullet points about my JD. And last 3 lines about why it’s critical.
  • My travel date in NIE email was 21 but travelled on 23rd May. Took 2 COVID test at labs in Delhi on 20th evening and got results by next day. The timing was within 72 hours.

Travel to US : Travel was via united airlines from Delhi to SFO. I reached airport 6 hour before just to be on safe side. To get boarding pass they asked for NIE email and COVID test and gave boarding pass immediately. Unlike other people no call to Anyone I guess. Nothing at India emigration. At US POE I was asked why I travelled to India and where do I work and was allowed. It felt just like other times. Also there was no rush at US POE, obviously because very few people are traveling.


Experience 4 : NIE H1B, H4, Travel from Chennai to SFO Experience

  • My husband is on H1-B and I am on H4. He applied for NIE for the Chennai consulate we waited for 7 days. On the 7th day, we attached a more recent employment letter that is specifically tailored for NIE and replied to them. After 2 more days, we got approved.
  • So we booked the flight from Chennai -> Delhi -> SFO.
  • Took the Covid RT-PCR test with Metropolis Lab’s home collection that contained the QR code. Got the report on the same day. Took the flight on Sunday evening from Chennai through Air India.
  • In Chennai Air India, they were not aware of NIE and didn’t allow us to board initially. They said they will give a boarding pass only to Delhi as a Domestic flight and said they can’t transfer the baggage for international travel. We were asked to sign a letter saying we will not dispute Air India if we can’t board in Delhi and collect our baggage in Delhi Aiport.
  • We agreed and finally, we boarded the flight to Delhi. After landing in Delhi, we took the baggage and came to the international departure at the United Airlines counter. There they asked for NIE and Covid test. Within 5 minutes they give the boarding pass and checked in the baggage. United Airlines are well aware of the NIE document and the customer service was great. I would definitely recommend United Airlines over Air India.
  • After 7 hours of layover in Delhi, we took the SFO flight and landed in San Francisco. The immigration was smooth but a long process.
  • They asked for the passport and I-797, they took everyone without a US passport or Green Card to the Secondary Room. My husband talked with a different Immigration Officer, where they asked the purpose of travel and why his physical presence in the US is required.
  • They also confirmed that we took a direct flight from Delhi and confirmed the US Address. The officer stamped the passport but kept it in a glass box with a lock. We were asked to collect the baggage and go through customs to check the luggage with the scan.
  • They were sending everyone from the Secondary to customs to check on the luggage. Our baggage check was smooth. Make sure you don’t bring any canned sweets like Rasagula and spices like Jeera. After that, they gave us a passport and we could finally go home.

Experience 5 : NIE for H1B, H4 – Two Separate Requests –

Background : My husband and Myself got NIE approval from Chennai consulate . We applied for 2 separate NIE’s as we both are in H1b visa.
Note : We didn’t approach our companies for any letter we did the entire writing and any supporting documents by our self . We had a previous employment verification letter mentioning that we work for so and so company from this date in such designation
One of us work in EVC model ( Employee Vendor-> client model ) . So don’t worry if you fall in that category, clearly mention why your physical present is needed, it doesn’t matter if you are Full time employee or a consultant.

  • Time line : Applied NIE on May 14th.
  • NIE Reason : We applied under communication sector in critical infrastructure . We have also mentioned that our work helps public health sector as we both work in networking technology which is being used by hospitals for telemedicine .
    a. Additional email with more information in the format requested in the auto reply which everyone gets was sent on May 17th, on that same day tried applying for all other consulate got an email reply immediately that I need to apply only in Issuing post which is Chennai.
    b. My husband got a reply on May 24th asking for additional information with the below questions
    To help us review your NIE request, please explain what your job duties are, and which critical infrastructure sector your work supports (the list of relevant fields is available at https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors). Please also explain why your physical presence in the US is required to conduct your work, including an example of a task that cannot be performed remotely.
  • This time he gave the NIE category only as communication Sector. https://www.cisa.gov/communications-sector ( copy pasted from the web site and quoted communication sector importance.
  • Sent a detailed job description which contained job duties and how much time he spends on each task .( around 2 full pages in MS word )
  • Sent an explanation as below telling why his presence is required as:- Being an employee of XXX and working as a XXX I work in new network equipment introduction in XXX technology which provides high speed internet broadband. For assembling the new network equipment, I need to be physically present in XX labs. As I have knowledge to work in lab which is present in USA. In a similar way sent around 5 examples
  • Example of a task that cannot be performed remotely:
    Powering up a new network equipment in a XX lab which needs certified person . Thus my physical presence is essential to perform the above duty which is critical for enabling high speed internet .
    Provided 2 more examples like this
  • I sent a reminder on 24th mentioning that we have booked our ticket for 31st of May and sent the ticket also requesting to consider our NIE before our planned date , I also sent an explanation on my own why my work cannot be done without physical presence . I can test the equipments signal strength only within 500 meters etc.
  • I got an approval on 25th .
  • My husband got approval today on 26th .

Thank you for all the help in sharing the information as NIE is totally new even compared to the H1b RFE’s , so every small information shared was useful.


Experience 6 – NIE Request, Telecom Sector, Travel

  • Reached USA on NIE on June 1, 2021 and resumed office today.
  • Work for telecom sector and handle key projects on which there is dependency of other critical sectors as well.
  • NIE Request Mumbai :
    • Based on a letter from my Employer applied for NIE at Mumbai consulate on 05/25 with travel date of 05/30 and was approved on 05/26.
    • Also gave details for my wife. Along with employer letter had attached itinerary and copies of US vaccination record for me & my wife.
  • Had Air India tickets for 05/30 but canceled them and booked on United BOM EWR on 05/31
  • Took RT PCR on 05/29 got negative result for me and my wife on same day.
  • Travel Check Mumbai : At Mumbai airport, United staff was aware of NIE requirements. After checking NIE printout ( consulate approval as well as my original mail ) they gave us boarding passes.
  • US Port of Entry Experience : At POE in Newark I was asked questions such as :
    • which Company I work for
    • how many years I am with this Company, and job duties.
    • Asked my wife why she came to US, to which she answered accompanying spouse.
    • I thought it was over then suddenly the officer got up and told us to accompany him to the secondary inspection room.
    • The room had at least 50 other travelers.
    • My passport and my wife’s passport was kept in plastic bags and we were asked to wait. After some time I was called and asked on what ground I was seeking an exception, was it because I had a US kid.
    • I said I handle critical projects for my Company. He then asked for the NIE mail and again asked me to sit. After about half an hour he called out my name and handed both my & my wife’s passports, and said we are good to go.
    • As soon as we stepped out of the room we were asked to deposit the customs form, after which we made our way home.
    • All the best to everyone waiting to return to USA

Experience 7- Automotive – Second email for NIE Approved

Background : I had recently applied for NIE for me and my wife, I’m on H1B and my wife is on H4.Earlier We were in USA on L1b and L2. In mid april 2021 we both came to India for H1B and H4 visa stamping in Chennai. We got our stamping in the end of April. After that travel ban happened. I didn’t know how to travel back and did not had hope on NIE approval, then I found your group, based on NIE experience in this group I have applied to Chennai consulate, with

  1. Passport details
  2. Visa details
  3. Employer letter requesting NIE
  4. Wrote details as below
    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:
    Visa Expiration date:
    Issuing Post Name (upper left corner of visa):
    Exact Travel dates:
    Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of a NIE: Explanation to support our case

Our company does work in the sectors like Automotive, aviation, communication sectors. Based on these details I had applied on May 29th for me and my wife.
I got approval June 4th for both of us.

Second Email: In the first email I got an auto reply saying if answers for my request is there in that email then I will not get any response. I was not confident on that, then I took initiation and wrote them with some more details to support our request on June 3rd. Then on June 4th I got reply saying that we are approved for NIE.

I feel secondary email is helpful to get their attention on the request.May be it will be helpful for some people who are stuck and don’t know how to travel back to US.

Experience 8 – NIE Letter Template Approach – Internet Infra

My company provided a letter on the company letter head with following details.

1) started with employment verification details, role, location etc.
2) mentioned how company contributes to IT critical infrastructure, like how it helps the internet, provides IT infra to local businesses etc. Also mentioned the impact of company on the US economy.
3) That I am willing to return to continue my work as soon as visa and nie are approved.
4) how my roles and responsibilities help the company support the IT infrastructure.
5) lastly requesting VO to consider my application and statement saying company supports this request.

Note that the letter is not Important for in person interview as VO will ask all the questions to get the information out of you.


Experience 9 – NIE Letter Sample – Approved from Delhi

NIE from Delhi consulate approved on June 22nd in 12 hours. Below is the format used.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I had to make an urgent journey to India as [ENTERY YOUR REASON HERE]. I plan to travel back to the United States on July 10th, 2021, to help my employer [ENTER BRIEF EMPLOYER INFO]

I work as a Software Development Engineer at [EMPLOYER, TEAM AND JOB INFO]

My travel is urgent because [ENTER SOME MADE UP INFO ABOUT WHY YOU NEED TO BE IN USA]

My absence will delay the [ENTER INFO ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE NOT BACK IN USA SOON]

I am fully vaccinated with 2 doses of Pfizer Vaccine.

Accordingly, I, respectfully requests a National Interest Exception to Presidential Proclamation 10199, so that I may travel from the India to work in the United States immediately to provide vital support to critical infrastructure and help the US government with the Climate Pledge.

Personal Details

Last name : XXX
First name: XXX
Date of birth: XXX
Place of birth: XXX
Country of citizenship: India
Passport number: XXX
Visa Number* and Category: XXX
Travel dates: 7/10/2021
Travel Purpose and National Interest Category that you fall under with clear justification of the same : Information Technology

PFA copy of my vaccination proof.

Very truly yours,


6 Experiences – NIE Approved for H4 – Family Separation

NIE Experience 1 – Chennai – H4 Visa

  • My NIE experience submitted to Chennai. I am in US and applied for wife wife and kid
  • 5/13- Sent email for Family Separation
  • Only family separation details + my I-94 visa etc. No details my works
    5/18- Received email asking to demonstrate the spouse exception for NIE as well(Even when I am already in US) with task details why it has to be done in US physically
  • 5/19- Replied with task details along with supporting letter from company. I work for Emergency services projects
  • 5/23(Sunday)- Received NIE for both my wife and kid.
  • I was planning to send reminder on Monday morning
  • My suggestion – while applying for family separation include the details of work as well for NIE so we don’t have to send details again and it adds additional time

NIE Experience 2 – Chennai – H4 Visa

  • I got NIE approval from Chennai.
  • I work for a retail company and my job involves working on supporting front line works. But I’ve applied on Family separation reason.
  • I’ve requested NIE for my wife and kid. I’m already in US. Applied for NIE on May 14th to Chennai consulate.
  • Received a reply asking for my Job duties on 17th. Responded on same day. I thought of sending a follow up on Monday but Received approval today.
  • But in the approval mail they mentioned only my details.
  • I was little disappointed and replied asking NIE for my wife and daughter just to confirm. They immediately replied with all three of us are exempted.

NIE Experience 3 – NIE Approval without any Documents – H4

  • Hi All, I applied for NIE at Chennai Consulate yesterday and got the approval today for me and my dependents (wife and 2 kids). I came for India on a vacation got stuck due to this travel ban..
  • I did not expect at this speed.. I have given the travel date as 2nd June..
  • I am working for Infosys and working for a retail client.. I applied for NIE under IT sector.. I just sent an email from my yahoo account without any documents..

NIE Experience 4 – New Delhi H4 Email, Letter Sent and text

  • Sent all basic information and got it approved for family separation from Delhi. Used below as the text as reason for family seperation
  • Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of a NIE: My spouse, who has a non immigrant H1B visa, is currently in New Jersey, USA. I had traveled to India for a medical emergency in my family. I have a valid H4 visa and a travel ticket from New Delhi to USA for 16 may, 2021. I have to travel back to the USA to support my spouse. Please consider this as a case of family separation and help by providing an exception from the new presidential proclamation.

NIE Experiences 5 & 6 – H4 Visa

  • Experience 5 : Got NIE approval from Hyderabad based on Family separation. I am on H4, applied on 6th May then again on 13th May and sent few reminders after that they asked to share I94 of primary H1 holder
  • Experience 6 : Got NIE approval from Hyderabad..purely based on Family separation, applied on 13th May..got approval around 2.00pm today…

What email subject to use for NIE Request email to consulate ?

You can use something like “Request for National Interest Exception(NIE) under category – Supporting Critical IT Infrastructure, H1B”. Depending on the purpose, you can change the purpose and add visa type in it.

If I get US Visa Annotated with Annotation “NIE UNDER ALL P.P.S ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS”, do I still need to email ?

No need, if you are traveling within 30 days from the US Visa issuance date. If you are traveling after 30 days, then you need to email the consulate and get approval email.

What has been your experience with NIE ? How as your travel ? Share your experiences in comments below.

   

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1,146 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I am in USA,I am on H1B . My wife is in India planning to travel next month on H4 Visa.So I have following questions.

    1.I don’t have NIE reached the USA 2 months ago from a third country taking quarantine. So what documents need to be carried by my wife for the Interview.
    2. Do I/My wife need to send an email to the consulate before going to interview about the NIE request letter?
    3. Can I carry the NIE request letter physically or should I mail it to the consulate for approval?
    Please reply..your help is highly appriciated.

    Reply
  2. I got the approval today from New Delhi. I applied on Friday (Oct 9) night. It was embassy holiday on Monday.
    Ideally it got approved within 4 working hours.. 😊
    Happy to help if someone has any questions.

    Reply
  3. Does first time H1B visa goers should apply NIE only at the time of visa? Does it has to be on client letter head ? On vendor letter head works?Please help.

    Reply
    • Ramesh,
      Yes, at this point, you need NIE. It may change in November. It depends on the work and why it falls under NIE. Usually employers documents are good enough with some contracts info.

      Reply
  4. Hi All,
    My NIE request got approved today from Hyd Consulate
    Initially Applied on July 23rd and sent couple of reminder mails.
    Finally approved.

    Thank you Everyone.

    Reply
  5. Hello All,

    Today i received NIE approval from Chennai Consulate for myself, wife and kid. I got approval with in 3 days of time. I sent email on 21st of Sep and got approval today 24th of Sep.

    Just wanted to share my experience in this thread, as this forum gave me lot of info. Thanks for forum creators.

    My email template:
    – Body of the email had around 17 lines. First three lines was about the details of the contract between my company and the client. I mentioned the duration of contract and all.
    Second of 4 lines i mentioned about my roles and responsibilities, what i have been doing with the client from India, Challenges working here and all other details.
    Next 4 lines on the impact on the project if i don’t travel to US. I gave this in bulletin points.
    Last 3 lines were about H1B approval information and all the documents information which i attached in the email.

    I attached my client letter, H1B Visa of mine and family and Covid Final certificate.

    Then at last i mentioned all the details in the vertical tabular column as mentioned in NIEFAQS in US government portal.

    The reason why i could have got approval with in three days of times is due the format of the email and content i mentioned it. I really showed the urgency of my travel and what will be the impact of delay. Definitely getting an client is will be added advantage.

    If anybody have any concerns. Please send email to vikram.j210@gmail.com. Will share my experience.

    Regards
    Vikram

    Reply
    • Hi Vikram,

      I got the NIE approval from Chennai Consulate in 3 days too. Thanks for answering my question on the file attachment size below. I’ll elaborate my experience for others to benefit from:

      Applied for NIE on Sep 20th with the vertical table format found on the US Embassy & Consulates in India website. As someone on this blog had suggested, I included a short paragraph on the NIE justification in the table itself but also attached a letter from my employer stating what the company does, what I do and why my physical presence in the US is essential. The original attachments included this employer letter and passport + H1-B visa of size > 300 kB each. I received an auto-reply from NIE Team asking for details in a horizontal table, one line NIE justification and documents < 300 kB. Responded on 20th night with details in this new format but wasn't serious about the document size so didn't reattach any. Waited about 2 days when I decided to compress the docs and resent attachments of size < 300 kB each to the email thread on Sep 22nd. Got the approval on the 23rd.

      I guess the NIE Team is looking for short, succinct information and compliance with their desired format/file size. Now that the travel ban is about to be lifted/reduced starting November, people may get responses sooner. Good luck to everyone waiting for NIEs!

      Regards,
      Deepti.

      Reply
    • Hi Vikram,
      Thanks for all the details. Could you please post or share the link for the tabular format you mentioned in the comment above

      Thanks

      Reply
    • Hello All, I am traveling to Chicago, this month 15th. Can any one give me some contact reference from Chicago. Needs some basic information. Kindly help and do the needful.

      Regards
      Vikram

      Reply
  6. Hello All,

    I have sent NIE Exception email for me including my wife and kid to US consulate yesterday. I sent email with detailed description of my project and also with vertical tabular format as mentioned in NIEFAQ for our visa details and my attachment size of all the document together was 1 MB. I received an auto reply mentioning to send the data horizontal tabular columns and also attachment size 300KB only.

    Both format comes from US consulate only not sure which one is correct. Does any of you sent email with attachment more then 300 KB and got approval? Is it mandatory to maintain the file size?

    Regards
    Vikram

    Reply
    • Thanks for asking this question; I had the same doubts. Also, is it 300 KB combined from all documents or each attachment can be 300 KB? What all attachments should we include: passport biopages, visa page, employer/client letter if any, itinerary?

      Reply
      • Hi Deepti,

        I attached 1 MB files size. Client letter, Covid certificate of me and wife, H1B of three people.

        Size is not an issue. I got Approval today.

        Regards
        Vikram

        Reply
  7. Hi Guys,

    I visited India in April first week along with my husband. Soon after we reached India the travel ban took place from 4th May 2021 and we had our return flights booked for 10th May 2021. We tried our level best to manage tickets for both of us to fly back to USA, but we were only able to manage one ticket and we decided that my husband needs to fly back due to his employment duties and responsibilities. So, my husband flew back to US, and I had to stay back in India.

    We waited for almost two months for travel ban to lift or the situation to change but nothing happened in these two months and it was becoming very difficult for us to manage as my husband was alone in US. We came to know about NIE for H4 on the basis of family separation by a friend in the US. So I applied for NIE on 5th July along with the pre booked tickets and a letter containing all the essential details . By god’s grace my NIE got approved in just two days ie. on 7th July i got reply from Delhi Consulate and travelled to US on 20th.

    Immigration was very smooth and all the documents were checked. So thank god i got my approval in just two days, didn’t expect the approval at this speed and of course thanks to our friend who told us about this. So, yes guys you should also try if you are eligible for NIE and hope for the best. God bless all 🙂

    Thanks,

    Reply
  8. Hi Everyone,

    H4 NIE Experience – HYD!!

    I rec’d Approval from HYD Consulate Today after 2 Months of Wait. Sharing my timeline below.

    – Applied on Jul 21st without attaching any documents.
    – Attached Visa Copy in a reminder email on 17th Aug.
    – Received Response on Aug 19th Asking for my Spouse i-94. Sent Doc on Same Day.
    – Sent couple of Reminder emails on 22nd and 28th Aug with flight tickets.
    – Sent Reminder email on Sept 7th in NEW TABULAR FORMAT with all Documents again.
    – Received APPROVAL Today. (PATIENCE is the KEY)

    This forum helped alot in determining the timelines and Email Format. Thank you Everyone.
    Happy to Help.

    Reply
    • Hi All,
      I sent NIE approval request for travel to Chennai consulate on Sept 10, but I did not get any auto reply from them. Shall I reapply and send the request again.

      Thanks,
      PK

      Reply
      • From My Exp and what I had seen, Chennai and Hyd are taking longer than expected, Could be the volume of applicants. Unfortunately, No other option to expedite it other than waiting Patiently.

        Verify the email address that you sent is correct. Usually we get auto-reply.

        Reply
    • Hi,

      Glad to see the long wait finally paying off. I’m seeing a slightly different tabular format in the automated response (a horizontal table) from the one mentioned in the 5th question at https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/national-interest-exception-frequently-asked-questions/

      Can you please clarify for me on as to which is the one you used recently. Also, did you provide a separate category (like Family Separation) for the “NIE Category” info, or the primary applicant’s.

      Thanks,
      Shankar

      Reply
      • Hi,

        I have used TABLE from FAQ 5th Question. Yes, I mentioned “Family Seperation” as Category in the last row of the Table and gave Justification Point wise after the Table. Hope this Helps!

        Reply
        • What did you do for the attachment file size limitation of 300 kB? Is that for a single document or should all combined files be <= 300 kB? What all attachments should we include: passport biopages, visa page, employer/client letter if any, itinerary?

          Reply
  9. I am exempt from travel ban and eligible for drop box but I am unable to get an appointment at Mumbai consulate with pick up from Pune. I am eligible for NIE too but I haven’t requested for a letter from the employer.

    How to get an expedited dropbox appointment ? Is the support contact that can be reached for the same ?

    My kid is missing the school and its important for me to present in US.

    Reply
  10. I have applied for NIE in Hyderabad on August 15th for my wife and children and I got reply on august 18th for requesting documents for primary applicant I-94 and I797 copies. After that there is no response. I have send couple of reminder emails but there is no response. Any one can help for my questions please. H4 can travel without NIE like 14days quarantine or is there any other way to travel.

    Reply
    • Hi,
      H4 cannot travel without NIE. But there are other options.
      You can travel through third country like Mexico, Dubai, Doha. There are lot of quarantine packages available and there are some telegram and WhatsApp groups coordinating the same. Let me know if you are interested. I can add you to the groups.

      Priya

      Reply
          • Hi Priya,

            This is Deepti. I would like to be added to the Whatsapp/Telegram groups discussing third country stay. I have emailed you of the same. Yet to hear from you or be added to the groups, so thought I’d let you know here as well, in case you’re checking this blog.

            Thanks!

  11. I had H1 in person interview at Hyderabad on Aug 31st and I also shared NIE letter with interviewer and at end she mentioned following
    “At this point we do not need anything from you and I’m placing your passport in NIE queue”
    and its been 2 weeks and haven’t had any update so far.

    What this mean and when can I expect stamped passport ?

    Reply
  12. Hello,
    I would like some input on my situation.
    My visa expired in Sept 2019. I am currently with a new employer on H1b valid till Aug 2023. Currently working in the telecommunication field as a software developer. And my work requires me to be physically present to do the work.
    The employer is not providing an NIE request letter. If I can get the client and employer letter and prepare the NIE request letter Without employee letterhead and submit it through Dropbox, would this be acceptable? Any input would be helpfull

    Reply
  13. I rec’d approval from Mumbai Consulate for my family on Sept 13th. I had applied on July 21st and had been waiting since but based on few previous comments I replied in the tabular format. I had followed up a couple of times but I think they only respond if you submit details in a tabular format & most importantly provide justifications in the table (last row) itself where they expect. I had followed up initially by providing all other info in the table but forgot to mention the reason within the table but once I did that, they responded immediately. Hope this info helps others. I was also in the middle of spending 14 days in Mexico, was almost half way thru it when I saw the approval yesterday. We immediately changed our tickets & travelled home in US. If anyone has any questions that I can help with, email me on writetoskhan@yahoo.com as I will not be checking this blog anymore. Thanks all for your ideas & experience. Good luck to the ones still waiting for a response.

    Reply
  14. Hi .. Finally, Got my NIE approved today from Mumbai Consulate.

    I have applied on 11th Jul under Critical Infra category, got their first response on Aug 6th after 3 reminders. They asked for the client letter, which I could not provide as my client doesn’t have policy to share any letter.
    Suddenly, today i was reviewing comments on this forum/site and I understood that we need to provide details in some tabular format which is mentioned here “https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/national-interest-exception-frequently-asked-questions/” under question #5.
    I just filled it up and provided the details to Mumbai consulate (Responded to same thread) and got approval in within 2 hours.

    Thank you everyone for posting very useful information here.

    Reply
  15. Hello,
    Can someone please let me know if NIE request must be submitted through applicant email only? Can a law firm representing the applicant submit the application from USA? Will an embassy decline the application if it was submitted through a law firm?

    Thank you

    Reply
  16. Happy to Share that my son’s NIE got approved yesterday.
    I want to give my scenario as I feel it might help others.

    I am on H1B currently in USA since Feb 2020.
    My son is on H-4 in India whole time with my husband who recently got his L1-B.
    My son never visited USA and his visa (originally stamped at HYD consulate) got expired last year October along with mine.

    My husband got NIE from his company but couldn’t apply NIE for my son, as my son’s H-4 Visa is my derivative H1-B.
    I am in USA with my valid Visa expired(original visa stamped in Hyderabad consulate) Son’s Visa was stamped through Chennai consulate once, it was expired last year through drobox. I applied NIE as I am working in semiconductor domain ( even though my Visa expired and not in India).
    Applied for NIE : Chennai Consulate, 27th August with all the relevant documents but couldn’t provide any itinerary as still my husband’s company dint book any tickets and he still dint get NIE.
    Got Autoreply on the same day (27th August) and one email from Chennai consulate asking for more details work duties basically one liner.
    However , I replied with two points along with my company’s work in critical Infrastructure.
    I dint receive any reply this time. Meanwhile my husband’s NIE got approved and tickets booked by his company.
    I thought of mentioning this clearly in the follow-up email on 7th September along with tickets information and requesting them to consider the application.
    Got Approval yesterday with my son’s name mentioned in the NIE .

    Some tips I felt might have helped quicken the NIE approval.
    1. Please attach the documents again as sometimes they might have to again search the documents . If all the documents are available at one shot , who knows it might help them to decide.
    2. If possible , please send the tickets travel dates and other information in the tabular format.

    Good Luck to you all !!!

    Reply
  17. Happy to share my NIE got approved today from Hyderabad consulate.
    Applied on July 19.
    Critical infrastructure-IT.
    This forum comments are really helpful in building the hope for me and made me to wait such long.
    Apna Time Aayega.

    Reply
  18. I got NIE approval today from the CHENNAI consulate for H1B.

    I applied on 16th August and got a response on 19th August to send the details in tabular format. I did not reply to that email as I thought it’s an auto-response. I sent a follow-up email on September 1st and got the same response. This time they clearly highlighted the text “The email must include the following information for all travelers seeking an exception, as it appears on the visa and attached valid, unexpired copies of the visas issued in Chennai for all travelers: ”

    I sent the details in the tabular format ( added justification and attached visa copy) on the same day. I did not send any follow-up emails after that. Finally got the approval today.

    Thanks all for sharing your experiences and all the best!!

    Reply
  19. I got NIE approval yesterday i.e Sep 7th from Hyderabad consulate for H1B. Applied on August 8th under Critical Infra structure – Information Technology. Waited for 4 weeks before sending a reminder mail and received response same day. Attached vaccination certificate in reminder mail. May be vaccination certificate is helping get response but I am not sure. This forum helped me a lot in gathering information and being patient. Thanks a lot to you guys and All the best!

    Reply
      • Applied on : July 12
        Approved : 8 sep
        Follow up – 5 reminder emails
        Last email sent today on top of mail sent on 12th july – sent details in *tabular* format with required documents attached.Initially I haven’t booked the ticket but after going through some experiences shared on this page i have booked ticket and same attached in the reminder mail.

        Thanks all for sharing your experiences

        Reply
        • Hello Geetha,

          Could you please forward the auto reply email from the consulate about the new tabular format to follow while applying for NIE.

          This is my email Id: mohamedshaik348@gmail.com

          Thank you.

          Reply
          • Hi Swetha,

            Hope this helps you.

            Open the link below then go to the 5th question from the list and you will find the format.
            https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/national-interest-exception-frequently-asked-questions/

            I tired attaching screenshot of the format to my comment here but seems like this comment section is not designed to attach files.

            If you have any questions you can let me know.

  20. Today I got approval(H4) from Hyderabad consulate. Had applied on July 20th. They have asked me to send principal applicant travel history on Aug 20th, had replied to them on the same day. No reminder mails were sent.

    Reply
  21. Hi,
    I am H4 valid visa holder and husband is working on H1B Visa. I have sent an NIE request to Chennai consulate on 02-JULY-2021. Consulate requested me to share additional documents and I have submitted the same on third week of July itself. Since then, I am not seeing any update from Chennai consulate on my NIE request. Sent couple of reminder recently as well.

    Anyone reached out (over the phone) Chennai consulate for NIE Status ? Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Hi AS,

      I’ve applied on 6th July with no response after 60 days from Chennai consulate. What additional documents did they request? Is there another email id that we can follow up or escalate since there is no response after these many days?

      Reply
      • Happy to share that I finally got the approval today after 60 days. Sent follow-up last night with support email from onsite manager and the table format. Thanks to this forum, was really helpful. All the very best to thise waiting, just have patience.

        Reply
  22. Hi All,
    I am in USA (primary visa applicant H-1B) . My son is in India on H-4. I have applied the NIE to Chennai consulate for family separation and am also in critical infrastructure on 27th August and waiting for my NIE approval.
    My husband recently got NIE from his company from Chennai consulate. His NIE says family needs to travel with NIE . Can my son on (H-4) travel with my husband as my husband has L1-B from his company . Did anyone face similar issues?

    Thanks

    Reply
  23. Hello, I have applied for an NIE on 31st July and still waiting for the response. My lawyer submitted the application. We support 3 to 4 critical infrastructure from the list. During last year also our industry was listed as an essential serive and I have been employed in this company since last 9 years. Any idea why it’s talking so long? My lawyer submitted the application to Mumbai consulate and CC my email address. Are you suppose to include only embassy email address and not any other email address? Is it possible that it might have generated an error? Just trying to find out the reason for this delay.

    Reply
    • I submitted NIE request on 30th July and yet not received any response from Mumbai Consulate.
      I may be wrong but i guess NIE request must be sent by primary applicant official mail id.

      Reply
        • Hi RK,

          I got the NIE approval today from Mumbai Consulate.

          Yesterday had sent request in the latest format as requested by Mumbai consulate.

          I had first sent my NIE request on 30th July in the old format.

          Did follow up on 2nd Sep. On 7th Sep I got reply from Mumbai consulate to resend the details in latest tabular format.

          Reply
          • Hi Sarfaraz, what is this new tabular format that everyone is talking about? I am still waiting for an H4 Family separation NIE approval, applied on July 21st at Mumbai Consulate.

          • Hello Sarfraz,
            Many congratulations. Thanks you letting me know. Can you please share the format which they have requested? Many thanks.

  24. I finally got NIE approved after 49 days from Chennai Consulate (Approval date – Sep 3rd)
    Category – H1B (Critical Infra. – IT) & H4(spouse).
    Initially applied on Jul 17th, did three follow-ups, and kept quiet by looking at a few posts stating the follow-ups are delaying the approval timelines.
    I was about to finalize travel via the third country with 14-day quarantine, glad I see the approval before making payment.
    Experiences shared by each and everyone helped a lot to keep my fingers crossed.

    Documents: Passport, I-797, Visa copy, Vaccination record.
    Others who are still waiting for NIE approvals, WiSh YoU All ThE bEsT..!!

    Reply
  25. Got my NIE approval today from Hyderabad consulate. Process took exactly 2 weeks for me. Initial
    Email was sent on Aug 19. Since there was data error in the original email sent another email with correction on top of original on Aug 29 and attached H1b approval notice, vaccination record, passport, visa and company letter. My suggestion is to include all the required documents in the initial email itself and don’t send follow up or reminders atleast for 2-3 weeks.

    Reply
    • Dear Pavani, Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Since you mentioned that you have H1B approval notice, and got NIE approved. Which means you got VISA interview and stamping at Hyderabad consulate as well, along with NIE to travel to the USA?. I am in the similar situation. I thought your experience might be very much useful for me. I want to learn more detail from you.. How can I contact you.?.

      Reply
  26. Hi just wanted to let you all know that I received my NIE approval from the Mumbai Consulate today . I am on an L2b (dependent) and my family is in US . My experience was as follows :
    I applied on 14th August 2021. ( on an earlier template)
    I followed up once after a fortnight on the 28th of August 2021. Sent ONE reminder email in a new template on 28th.
    Got an approval on morning of 3rd September 2021 against my previous email ( on the old template). So total timeline roughly 3 weeks.
    Stay patient guys . Approvals are coming through. One reminder after 14 days is ok. I guess they just don’t people to spam them everyday.
    This forum was very helpful in understanding the process and timelines. Hence thought I should post my experience here for others.

    Reply
    • ………..Also forgot to mention: I applied on the basis of family separation and my ability to run my own business. Attached and sent all documents related to me and my family like ( Passport photocopies for the entire family , I-94 for all , Business Incorporation Docs ). I guess it helped them to establish the fact that my case is truly genuine and family is in US and that I am stuck in Mumbai.

      Reply
  27. Hi
    I sent my NIE request to Chennai consulate ie ChennaiNIE@state.gov. But the mail has bounced back. Please let me know the correct EMail ID of Chennai US consulate to send request for NIE

    Reply
  28. Hi,

    I have applied for NIE based on Family separation 3weeks back. I have not heard back to date. How do I follow up on my case? I have Advance parole to travel back to the US.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  29. Got NIE Approval from Chennai Consulate today(Sep-2) for H4-dependent-Spouse.
    First applied on July-19 with all the passport, Visa, vaccination card, Booked flight tickets, primary applicant passport, visa, I-797A.
    Got a reply on Aug-6 to share the additional details for Primary applicant to be in USA.
    Sent a brief description of roles and responsibilities in the mail on Aug-11
    Again sent a follow up with same details/documents and confirmed travel tickets of Sep-16 on Aug-31.
    Finally got an approval mail sent on top of my follow up mail.
    On an average it is taking 3 weeks for Chennai consulate to respond. Better have all the documentation submitted in first mail.

    Reply
  30. Hello Bhavin,

    If you have an interview at the end of the month, you will get a stamp on your passport once your visa is approved. There is no need for NIE at that point of time.

    Reply
  31. Hi All,

    I have got my H1B visa petition and I had come to India for family emergency. My wife has left to the USA on F1 visa for me its a family separation case.

    My H1B stamping is yet to happen and I have got dates for the interview at the end of SEP.
    Could you please suggest if i should apply for NIE now and get the approval or what possible steps should i take in order to get the approval?

    Can someone please guide me its a very tense and urgent situation for me.

    Thanks,
    Bhavin Parmar

    Reply
  32. Hi,
    Is anyone able to schedule the US Visa Stamping appointment from anywhere in India? Any of the consulate in the Major cities are open and accepting appointments? I have paid the fees but when I get the last screen to check on the available slots it says “There are currently no appointments available” for all cities. Please share some information if you have any regarding this.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • There are telegram groups which keep updating status of vacant slots.
      It helps if you are quick enough.
      I had joined the below group :
      https://t.me/H1B_H4_Visa_Dropbox_slots

      Reply
  33. Hello Sujith,

    Nope they mention only the names not other details. Consulate update all our details electronically to USCIS meaning that no physical document is required to carry from our end and the approval mail we are receiving is just for information. Officers will pull our NIE details during POE. All the best for safe travel.

    Reply

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