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.

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.


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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1,135 Comments

  1. I applied for NIE Jun 14 and have hear no response from Mumbai Consulate. I have a exception to PP 10052 and fully vaccinated. I have not seen a review with no response to NIE application. Did not receive response from consulate because I have exception to PP 10052? My understanding; if there is a rejection to NIE consulate will respond accordingly. Any ideas why no response ?

    Reply
  2. Hi ,

    Can I know if any one has received NIE Approval from Hyderabad Consulate for H4.
    I have my kid stuck in India.It would be helpful if anyone can share their experience and the email format to be sent for NIE request for H4.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Bharathi

    Reply
  3. I have approved H1b petition which is valid till 2023 and i’m eligible for drop box.

    How to apply NIE for getting expedited drop box appointment and travel along with dependents? I have document from my employer explaining the primary applicant critical IT infrastructure support from IT sector. Guidance will be really helpful.

    Reply
  4. Hi , I am in the same situation, Chennai consulate asked for Visa copy just in 2 days. I followed up after two weeks if the case was reviewed, been another two weeks and no response yet.

    Reply
  5. My husband in h4 visa .He is in US right now. Myself and my kid in India .We applied for NIE under the family separation case .We sent the request on May 30 to chennai and mention the travel date as June 26 and we sent remainder by June 24 and reschedule the travel date to June 30. They also for few information we respond on the same day and they asked for few more information again we sent that.but didn’t get response after that .After June 30 we reschedule the travel date to July 2 and send an follow up mail ..but we didn’t get any response after tats. it’s been almost one month .Not sure how to proceed further .Any help appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Valli,

      No other option but to send follow ups and wait. I applied on May 30 with a travel date of June 22 . I got the approval today from Chennai consulate. So the wait time is long but you will get approval. Don’t worry!!

      Reply
  6. Hello, Anyone applied and received NIE approval from delhi consulate recently . Please share your dates and timelines. I have applied last week and there is no response.

    Reply
  7. I have received NIE today specified my name and passport in the Email. But my wife name is not there in that approval. Do I need separate NIE request or can she travel with me ?

    Reply
  8. I have h1b and got my approval today from chennai consulate today. I have sent email on june 10th. sent 2 reminders one on june 28th and another on today early morning. Could someone tell me what do i need to carry other than negative covid result?

    Reply
      • I edited the subject to “reminder with existing subject “to make sure my old email shows separately on the date it’s sent.( I was thinking my emails should not delay my priority of date which is sent , if they open and process in stacked for passion, same subject may pull the old email to the top) And asked for status update for the below nie request.

        Reply
        • Did it helped? I send reminder and got big automatic reply in that mentioned NIE is valid for 12 months and for multiple entry and normally NIE take 30 days and in some cases it can take more than that too? Did you noticed this too in reply you recieved from consulate?

          Reply
    • My relative’s parents could not get NIE (NIE was denied) so they are currently in Mexico for 14 days and will be in US after completing the required 14 day stay.

      Another option from July 15th is spending 14 days in Maldives which is reopening for Indians. Mexico is less expensive than Maldives, but still has a considerable cost.

      Reply
  9. @Nitesh – I applied on June 3 and they asked for my visa copy which i sent on jun4 . What time did you apply on June 4?

    Reply
  10. I had applied for NIE on June 9th and sent 3 followup mails requesting for an update and finally got approval today.. so they are taking about 3 to 4 weeks for final response..be hopeful you guys shall get it too.

    Reply
  11. I have applied for NIE at the Chennai consulate on the 12th of June. I am on J1 Visa and Visited Bangalore due to the sudden death of my Father. Till now I have not received any email from the consulate, other than one email which I have received on July 1st, states “… It can take up to two weeks from receipt of a National Interest Exception request to conclude processing, and in some rare cases it may take longer. We will reach back out by e-mail as soon as processing is complete.
    Thank you for your continued patience. ”
    My travel date was the 30th of June. bit worried about this situation. I hope I am not the only one here who is in this situation. Should I send a reminder? did you guys hear anything from the Chennai consulate?
    Best of luck,
    Thanks
    AK

    Reply
  12. I have sent nie request for h1b to chennai consulate on June 10 th and sent a reminder on June 18th. I got the same automatic response. I am still waiting to hear back. Should I send one more reminder ? I kept my travel date as June 25th.

    Reply
    • I had applied for NIE on June 9th and sent 3 followup mails requesting for an update and finally got approval today.. so they are taking about 3 to 4 weeks for final response..be hopeful you guys shall get it too.

      Reply
      • good to know you got the approval – wishing you safe travel. It looks like the NIE approvals are opening up in Chennai Consulate at least. And the 3 weeks seems to be the approval time frame. Hopeful that others like me who are waiting get the approvals soon.

        Reply
  13. Looks like, Chennai response times are best example of random number generation. Not sure what basis the NIE applications are processed.

    Reply
  14. How to apply for NIE for both – primary and dependent. ?
    We both are in India holding valid h1b and h4 visa.
    Primary applicant working in critical IT infrastructure.
    Guidance will be really helpful.

    Reply
  15. Hi All,

    I had my dropbox appointment in Hyderabad consulate on Jun 23(H1 B stamping for myself and H4 for my daughter).
    While my documents were dropped off(For Drop box), the front desk agent did not take in documents supporting my request for travel/NIE.
    My husband is already in US with L1 A.

    Can I send a email regarding my family separation ? If so what is the email id for hyderabad consulate?

    Thanks
    Swathi

    Reply
  16. It looks like Hyderabad consulate gives approvals in 2 weeks time frame.
    Our case: Valid stamped VISA until end of 2021. Wife is in India. Son and myself are in USA.
    June 21 st: My wife applied for NIE family separation.
    June 23 rd: Got a reply, asked 2 questions
    1. proof of Principal applicant is currently in USA(I-94) .
    2. How long you intend to stay.
    June 23rd: Replied with I-94 proof and mentioned that will stay until validity of principal applicant. Also mentioned that our employer is planning for Extn. (Probably this piece of Extn related information is not required.)
    June 29th: Got approval.

    Hope there will not be any hiccups in the travel and POE.

    Reply
    • Kishore,
      Hope you can help me here. My wife is currently in India and has valid H4 visa until 2023. She is planning to travel next week (July 9th). Myself and our US born son are currently in USA. Does she require NIE or can she travel by showing his birth certificate?
      Please let me know.
      Thank You.

      Reply
      • The proclamation says exception for – ”
        parents or legal guardians of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident unmarried minor child;”

        So, I guess, she can travel at her will. Probably can check with airline too.

        Reply
    • Hi Kishore,

      Can I know the Email shared to Consulate for NIE Family Separation.
      My Spouse and kid are stuck in India and need to apply..

      Thanks & Regards,
      Bharathi

      Reply
  17. All of you that are waiting for an NIE approval from Chennai – did you guys travel to India during the pandemic and get stuck or are you moving to the US for the first time on an H-1B? I am just trying to understand if there’s a priority order here in terms of processing.

    I came to India last year to get my H-1B stamped and have been stuck here ever since.

    Reply
    • I traveled to India on 26 April to see my new born baby. I was in quarantine for 14 days to make sure I am safe enough to see my baby. In between US announced the travel ban. I worked with my employer and got a supporting letter from the HR to prove that I qualify for NIE. On 4th June I sent NIE request to Chennai. When I sent the request to Delhi, they asked me to reach out Chennai because that’s where I got my visa stamped . It’s been 26 calendar days since I applied for NIE. I did follow up 2 times. I got only auto reply from the consulate. I think it is not bad to send a response saying they are working on it or something. I can understand the work load they have due to the pandemic. But proper response to queries won’t even take 5 seconds to send .

      Reply
  18. On the primary applicant’s NIE approval letter, can the dependent also travel? or we have to apply for a new request for the dependent?

    Reply
      • How much time Chennai consulate taking in sending updates NIE with added dependent details ?

        I received NIE Approval for me & my dependents however My daughter passport got renewed in between so do I need to ask Consulate for updating her passport number ? Or my Daughter can travel with old passport since VISA stamping is still on old passport.

        Let me know if anyone has experienced this.

        Thanks.

        Reply
    • Two people , one applied on May 19 and one on June 7 received approvals an hour ago from chennai consulate. Not sure of the travel dates they applied etc.

      Reply
    • Hi we got NIE approval from Chennai today applied exactly before 2 weeks. So please wait patiently they are responding. Thanks

      Reply
    • Hi Atul,

      Yes. I received my approval today from the Chennai consulate. Requested on June 13th and sent three to four follow-up emails for which I’ve not received any responses till Jun 23rd. On the 23rd I received an email from the consulate that it can take two weeks or more to process the request. So I waited patiently hoping for the approval and finally, I have received it.

      Thanks for this forum for providing guidance to request for NIE. Good luck to the ones who are waiting for the approval. Be positive!

      Thanks,
      Vishwa

      Reply
    • Hi Atul,

      Yes, I received my approval yesterday from the Chennai consulate. I requested NIE on June 13 under “Critical Infrastructure – Information Technology Sector”. I’m holding H1B Visa. From Jun 13th till June 24th, I have sent nearly four follow-up emails and I’ve not received any response from the consulate. On Jun 25th, I received a reply saying that it can take up to two weeks from receipt of a National Interest Exception request to conclude processing, and in some rare cases it may take longer.

      So I was waiting patiently. Finally, I received it yesterday (June 30th). Thanks to this forum for providing guidance to apply for NIE request. Good luck to the ones who are waiting for the approval.

      Thanks,
      Vishwa

      Reply
    • My wife is on H4 dependent visa, she applied to Mumbai consulate on basis of family separation on 27th June. No reply yet. I don’t see any timeline for Mumbai anywhere.
      If anyone has any idea about response time of Mumbai consulate then kindly enlighten us.

      Reply
      • How does the NIE for visa stamping work. Do you need to submit the NIE forms and get it approved prior to going in for a dropbox appointment or submit the NIE form along with supporting documents while at the dropbox location.

        Reply
      • My wife is on H4 as well , stuck in India since last 3 months, while I am in the USA . She applied for NIE to Mumbai consulate on June 14th and reminder email sent on June 28th. No response yet.

        Reply
  19. Hi
    I am h4 visa holder I applied for nie on may 24th . I am waiting for the approval till today . Can I visit chennai consulate directly and get approval . kindly suggest

    Reply
  20. Hi All,

    Requesting NIE approval as family separation

    What all documents we need to attach in NIE email for my spouse & Kids ( they have H4 valid Visas ) apart from I797 ( latest ), i94 , Visa & passport copies .

    My Spouse & kids are 1st time travels

    Reply
    • Got the below reply from Chennai consulate.
      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 or all travelers:

      Last name:

      First name:

      Date of birth, in DDMMMYYY format (ie – 01JAN2021):

      Gender (M/F):

      Country of birth:

      Country of citizenship:

      Passport number (valid unexpired passport number only):

      Visa Number* and Category:

      Visa Expiration date:

      Issuing Post Name (upper left corner of visa):

      Exact Travel date:

      Required Justification (see below)

      – For B1/B2 Humanitarian applicants please mention the life/death emergency that requires your immediate travel and any supporting documentation.

      -For all other visa holders please provide the national interest category using the Primary Applicant’s Information in the format below.

      -Specific job title

      -NIE Category (choose one from the list below):

      Urgent Medical

      Public Health Professional

      National Security

      Derivative

      Critical Infrastructure

      Journalist

      Pilot/Air Crew

      J1 Academic

      – If selected Critical Infrastructure Category (choose one from the list here: https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors

      – One sentence describing why the PRIMARY APPLICANT’S work duties requires their physical presence in the United States (i.e. they need to access hardware, customer data, inspect factories, treat patients, etc.)

      *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 and in some cases longer. We cannot guarantee a decision date or the outcome of the decision. Errors in the submitted data may prevent approval in NIE requests.

      Reply
  21. My Family is going for a dropbox interview . They are on H4 visa. Do they need to carry any NIE form of the H4 visa approval ?

    Reply
  22. For people who have applied NIE to Chennai consulate, I collected some details from FB page “SOS Global Indians” that people who had applied to Chennai consulate on 19th may with a travel date of 18th June had got their approvals from Chennai consulate on 21st June (Monday).

    So the approvals might be tied to travel date, but the good news is Chennai consulate is providing approvals, but the wait times are high. In this case from 19th may to 21st June is about 34 days, worst case. So people who have applied NIE to chennai consulate, please keep this in mind and dont waste your time worrying/expecting updates.

    I applied NIE on 31st may and still waiting for the approval. The news above was at least a temporary relief that people did get their approvals last week from the consulate. So please keep your hopes low and dont expect it until 34 days passes by!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Srini. Please keep us updated if you get any approval. I submitted for my family on June 14. So long way to go. Just wandering how Delhi consulates process in 2 days and we are waiting for 34 days.

      Reply
      • Cruel, isn’t it 🙁 . I sent the same to Delhi Consulate adding that we have already waited for a month, so please consider approving my request in your consulate as we are not sure when Chennai would approve it. No response from Delhi consulate though!!

        Reply
    • srini,Thanks for sharing,what is the travel date you have given, I have applied for NIE on June 10 and gave travel date as June 28,Yet to get confirmation Mail.

      Reply
    • thanks for the clear and hopeful update srini. Wish everyone good luck. Anyone here who has applied for NIE under L1A visa?

      Reply
    • This is really interesting to see how timeline has stretched to 34 days. i applied on May19th at Chennai consulate, got approved 4 hours later and flew back on May 20th.

      Reply
      • I sent to Delhi Consulate last night and today morning around 9 AM, i got an response that i should apply to Consulate, which had issued the VISA.

        Reply
        • I received the same response. I have explained to them I have already wiated for a month to get approval from Chennai and they might have a backlog because of which this is delaying and asked Delhi team if they can approve my request. No response yet :/

          Reply
      • All of you guys who sent NIE waiver request to Chennai consulate and waiting for a response, did you travel to India during the pandemic and got stuck here or is this your first time going to US?

        I applied for a waiver on June 14th and haven’t heard back from them yet either. I traveled to India last year and got stuck here

        Reply
    • Sent to Delhi consulate, they replied asking me to send it to the visa issued consulate. i.e Chennai . No other hope except for Chennai to approve it!!

      Reply
  23. Hello Everyone,

    My Wife had applied for her first H1B stamping on Apr 7 and it was pending until June 16th for ECL clearance which was duly arranged from her company and client end..Her Visa got stamped on June 16th and upon collecting the visa, we saw her H1B visa page was printed with
    ” NIE under all P.P.S on Novel coronavirus. PN- .P#-.
    PED- ”

    I have few queries:
    1) With this line printed in her H1B stamping page, is she eligible to travel to US immediately or needed additional approval email from Consulate for NIE?
    2) When shall the 30 days period for travel commence ? From date of stamping with the NIE line printed or from date of email approval from consulate?

    Can anyone help?

    Reply
      • Thanks for the help.

        Also does any one have any idea that how can we schedule an early second dose of covishield before travel in Kolkata ? Is this mandatory to get fully vaccinated while flying to US under NIE?

        Reply
    • Siva,

      I have few queries regarding Canada travel.
      1) Can Indiand holding US visa get on arrival Mexican visa?
      2) Which route you are going to Canada? I heard if your flight is via UK do we need to get transit UK visa too and are we allowed to get right now?
      3) What is the quarantine guidelines for Indians in Mexico?

      Will it be ok, if I call you on whatsaspp? I am planning to travel to Mexico around 10th july.

      Regards,
      Atul Kumar

      Reply
  24. Any update from Chennai consulate for NIE applicants ?. Applied on May31st, no response yet 🙁 Want to know atleast if someone is getting upates/approvals from the consulate

    Reply
  25. Hello Team

    I want to go for dropbox appointment for H1B stamping. Please confirm if it is advised to apply for NIE as works comes under critical support infrastructure and our client deals into medical equipments .

    Kindly assist on the same

    Reply
  26. I applied NIE on June 9th to Chennai Consulate. Still I didn’t get any reply from them ? Can we try to apply in another Consulate ? Delhi ?

    Reply
  27. Does this statement “humanitarian travel, to include those providing care for a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other nonimmigrant-in-lawful-status close family member” in the travel guidance mean all H4’s in india are eligible for NIE if their H1B spouse is there in the US ?. Someone please clarify . I applied to the consulate for H4 travel, the H1B is in the US and I am waiting for a reply for past 25 days. If the travel guidance includes this criteria , I dont know why the processing time is high!!

    Reply
  28. Applied NIW exception for H4 spouse in india .
    Category : Family Separation from my my son (H4) who is in US.

    NIW got approved in 14 hours. Received approval on same day.

    Document attached to support my case :
    Supporting documents for my NIE:
    – US visa page
    – travel ticket
    – I539 approval; H4 extension
    – Valid I-797 – approval notice
    – IT Services Letter from Project
    – CDC vaccination card

    Reply
  29. I applied NIE for my spouse (h4) who is in India right now . Myself (h1b) and my minor son `14 year old (h4) are in US.

    Applied for NIE and it was approved in 14 hours. I received approval on same day.

    My email : vmongs@gmail.com , if you need help.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  30. I am on L1B and sent an NIE request to the Chennai consulate under Information Technology. It’s more than 14 days and I have not received any reply from them. What should I do?

    Reply
  31. Hi all,
    I applied for NIE on June 14th worth chennai consulate and I got reply asking for more details and I respond back with the details on June 17th and I didn’t get any response back…so I sent a reminder on 21st…still waiting for the response from consulate….anyone got NIE approval in June month?

    Reply
    • Hi Baskar, On the same boat and same dates as of you. Sent one reminder and got “It can take up to two weeks from receipt of a National Interest Exception request to conclude processing, and in some rare cases it may take longer. We will reach back out by e-mail as soon as processing is complete.”. Seems Chennai alone is getting delayed. Please keep updated if you receive any updates.

      Reply
  32. Applied for NIE to Chennai consulate on 4th Jun with supporting documents from Employer. I got an auto reply. I waited until 18th Jun and sent a follow up email on 18th Jun and got an auto reply. My planned date of travel is 3rd July. Planning to wait for one more week and see if I can travel to another country and stay there for 15 days and travel to US. Anyone got an approval between 4th Jun and 18th Jun?

    Reply
  33. Hey guys
    I had a very weird case
    My husband had his H4 visa interview on Jun 15, 2021. VO approved his visa but visa is not stamped with NIE annotation. Usually everyone who is getting their visa stamped right now is getting it with NIE annotation or they get 221g.
    Have sent an email for NIE approval to consulate.
    Has anyone else experienced this? Anyone has any thoughts on this?

    Reply
  34. I have a regular L1B individual visa appointment scheduled for 6th July 2021 at Kolkata. I do qualify for the NIE (Oil and Gas sector, Mechanical Engineer)

    Do I carry my NIE letter from my company with me to the interview to be considered for travel exemption under the PP ? Just curious, as I cannot send an NIE email to the consulate since I do not have a valid visa yet

    Is the visa approval related to the NIE? I presume not.

    What are the chances if getting a 221g in this case?

    Reply
    • Yes, you should carry the NIE letter from employer for the purpose of interview. As you don’t already have got VISA you cant email then requesting NIE exemption.

      If Visa Officer is convinced about NIE exemption you’ll get VISA else he will issue 221G commenting “Presidential Proclamation” as the reason.

      Do share your experience , post interview on 6th Jul.

      All the best.

      Reply
    • Hi Asutosh Misra,

      How did your visa interview go ? Hopefully you got it stamped. Let me know what NIE letter was provided by your company.

      Reply
  35. My H1B visa stamp is valid on passport until Sept2021 (old employer) but my H1B visa is valid till May2022 (due to new employer change). I scheduled appointment with US Consulate in Mumbai and visa stamping got rejected due to “Applicant does not have NIE letter”. When travel restrictions get lifted, can I still travel to US with my current H1B stamp that is valid till Sept2021? Does the rejection of new visa stamp have any impact on my travel?
    Also, does getting NIE letter from company mean that H1B visa holders can now travel to US?

    Reply

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