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.


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. For those in US and can not apply for NIE from US, can we take a letter from our employer stating we are critical worker to the visa interview directly?

    Reply
  2. Happy to share this. Today I have received the NIE Approval for my H1B under IT infrastructure category from Chennai consulate . I applied on 16th July and sent 2 reminders and last was on Aug 3. From my Experience, please note that
    1. Don’t send reminders because the normal processing time is between 3 to 4 weeks if you not receiving approval then you can send after 4th week. I think reminders are delaying process.
    2. I attached only My Passport and Visa copy nothing else and the doc size was almost around 2Mb. so no bother about the size of the doc and employer and client letters.
    3. I just send only the details requested and i send 3 para of my exp and my roles and responsibilities. I would say don’t stick on 1 liner but ensure the justification be like short and perfect to justify why your physical presence needed in USA would be fine.

    All the best!! Good Luck !! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hello BT,

      I got approval today for H4 dependents but in approval email only names of applicants are mentioned and no passport number. Could you confirm in your case did they mention passport number.

      Reply
  3. Hi,
    My spouse recently received her new h4 stamp with nie& is in India now .I’m in the US and changed jobs this week. Can she travel to US on her current visa stamp and nie , or would she have to apply for new Visa stamp and nie based on my new job petition?
    Let me know !

    Thank you

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Reply
  4. Congrats Divya. I have also sent in tabular form. If I get approval I will also be travelling by September with my 12 year old son.

    Reply
      • Thanks Divya! I misspelled my dob in my first email but I replied with changes after 10 days. Now I am not sure if they consider my request or if I need to send another request with correct details ?

        Reply
  5. Got my NIE approved from Chennai Consulate for H4 (myself and Kid) today
    Applied on : July 11
    Approved : 30 Aug
    Follow up – 5 reminder emails
    Last email sent today on top of mail sent on July 11th – sent details in tabular format with required documents attached.

    Thank you so much to everybody here , which helped me to be patient.
    Be patient , do not send reminder emails. Put the details in tabular format as mentioned in the auto reply emails from consulate.
    Do not forget to attach visa,passport,nie,i-94 docs.

    @Abhi and @William – I know you both are waiting for approval from chennai consulate. You can try to mail them in tabular format as I did.

    Reply
    • I have not booked tickets yet , if anybody is planning to travel in SEP from Chennai , Please share details as I am travelling alone with 1.5 yr kid.

      Reply
    • Congrats Divya. I have also sent in tabular form. If I get approval I will also be travelling by September with my 12 year old son.

      Reply
    • @Divya Srinivasan

      I got approval today for my wife and kids and in the approval email they mentioned only names of applicants and passport numbers are missing. Could u let me know in your case did they mention passport numbers in the approval email.

      Thanks

      Reply
    • Hello Divya,

      Please forward the auto reply email from the consulate about the new format to follow while applying for NIE.

      This is my email Id: mohamedshaik348@gmail.com

      Thank you.

      Reply
  6. Hi,
    My family has valid H4 Visa which is stamped before ban and applied for NIE exception to Hyderabad NIE and got reply like below but am not sure what does that mean, could someone please help me on this.
    they replied like “Derivative following to join PA confirmed to be in US and/or in possession of NIE – Sukeshini”.(Sukeshini might from NIE, not my family member)

    Reply
  7. Hi,
    We applied for NIE for my spouse on H4 on 18th July at Hyderabad consulate where she already got her stamping done in Apr’21 and followed up on 3rd August and didn’t get any response. However my spouse followed up on the same email thread attaching her tickets on 12th Aug and we got approval on 19th Aug. Upon arrival in US Immigration was looking for start date of NIE and we clarified the mail date can be considered. Therefore we feel it’s better the person who needs NIE can followup along with tickets to get response.

    Reply
    • It seems that for H4, this additional document (travel itinerary) help, though we do not have enough cases here to support it. I also have booked the ticket, then only went for NIE request, because of one terminology (I came across) for NIE request: Definite Travel date.

      Since the the approval timeline is varying drastically, it is advisable to book (if any) fully refundable tickets. Also, United airline (not endorsing) is providing free rescheduling and free cancellation (no refund, but one can get same $ amount as United credit, to use in next 12 months), one can opt for same.

      Caution: while rescheduling, airlines charge the fare difference if it is higher then existing ticket price, but do not refund for lower ticket price balance.

      Disclaimer: The above information is based on couple of experiences. Each individual should book the ticket/plan the travel based on their own discretion.

      Reply
  8. Hi,

    Received NIE approval from Hyderabad consulate on Aug 27th evening.
    I had applied on July 8th and since its been a long wait I already took the mexico route. They approved it on my 14th day in Mexico but tough luck.
    Hope this information might be useful for someone waiting for NIE approval from Hyderabad consulate.

    Category is H1B, IT and last reminder I sent was on Aug 6th. I did send a weekly reminder and just received auto reply.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Abhishek, I have applied for my NIE on July 26 and haven’t heard back till now. I am planing to travel from other country. Can you please share your experience and tips for the same. It Willis be great if you share your contact. Thanks in advance

      Reply
  9. How soon I can travel to USA after getting the NIE approval? Is that okay if I travel 2 days after getting the NIE approval. Some people said it takes time to update the approval information in their database.

    Reply
    • Hi Santhosh,

      My wife and son received NIE on 27th evening and they reached here on 31st (started from India on 30th). We took 2 days gap (from NIE to start travel) to get the covid test done and considered if any report delay.

      Reply
  10. Got my approval today from Hyderabad consulate under family separation category.
    Applied on 14th July with one reminder email after 2 wks.
    Last Friday was asked to submit principal applicants 1-94.
    Good wishes to all waiting for the approval.

    Reply
  11. My NIE request got approved today from the Chennai consulate today. I have applied on July 10th. I havent sent any reminders till date. Patience is the key.

    Reply
  12. Received the NIE approval today from Chennai Consulate
    NIE for: H4 (wife and son)
    Applied on 11th Aug late night
    Approval received 27th Aug evening
    Received mail regarding more details about H1B (already in US) on 12th late afternoon, replied back on 12th evening
    Follow up/reminder mail sent on 18th Aug
    Planned travel was 26th Aug, however cancelled because of unavailability of NIE, now rebooking

    Thanks a lot to all the individuals, for your valuable inputs and suggestions.
    All the best

    Reply
      • Thanks Geetha.
        In follow up mail (on 18th Aug), we requested that the travel date (which was 26th Aug) is approaching so consider the request, since covid test within 72 hrs was also required.
        Also requested regarding family separation challenge for kid and uncertain travel situation.
        at the end, mentioned that my wife is fully vaccinated in India, and sent my client letter (which we received for VISA extension earlier – no exclusive NIE client letter), to establish the Employee-Employer-Client relationship (though it was not requested).

        Some recap: In the initial mail, I sent H1B & both H4 Visa copy, H1B I94 (since m already in US), I-797, marriage certificate, child birth certificate, Travel itinerary (already booked the ticket before NIE request), NIE request application (in word format). Most of the documents were not required to send, still sent to avoid any future follow ups. Also, the Critical Infrastructure Category was “Transportation Systems Sector”.

        Hope it will help. Feel free to let me know if any doubts.

        Reply
        • Thank u so much ApS.This is really very helpful.
          I have applied on 12th july mumbai consulate on the basis of family separation.I have attached all necessary documents and also sent 3 follow up mails(last follow up on 9th aug).Now problem is my visa is going to expire in the mid of September.So should I mention the same in next reminder mail or it will be negative impact? Please suggest

          Reply
          • Sorry to hear about your long wait. May be Mumbai has lot of NIE cases in progress, which might be reason for this delay.

            I believe that mentioning about VISA expire is big NO, it will have negative impact for sure. Even, at US border security (immigration point), right now, u need to face question regarding the VISA extension plan.

            Your family case somewhat similar to mine. My VISA (so my dependent) also going to expire in early Oct. As suggested by immigration team, we need to initiate H4 extension at least a month before expiration (if they are in US). My extension is already in progress and decision is pending.

            for your reference, here is what we planned in absence of NIE.
            1. No travel within a month of VISA expiration
            2. Wait for my extension approve, then H4 will go to consulate (in India) with my approved petition and get VISA stamp (no need to apply for extension)
            3. To accelerate the process, convert the current extension application to premium processing (decision in 15 days)
            4. while stamping, apply for NIE.
            5. Last option: Prime petitioner (myself), travel back to India, and apply for stamping along with NIE for entire family.

            I do not have any visibility regarding your prime petitioner extension status, however I believe that it might be similar to my case. Ask him to discuss with company immigration team for better clarity.

            Thanks and all the best.

  13. L1B visa here. Applied for NIE on august 12th and approved today.

    My e-mail was only one page. It contained the following:

    1. Explained the circumstances due to which I had to return to India in July beginning (family emergency).
    2. Explained my work in the USA and why I need to return to the USA. Basically why my physical presence is required.
    3. All the information that is needed, i.e visa category, date of expiry, date of travel, etc.

    Attachments: Passport, Visa and vaccination proof (got vaccinated before coming to India).

    Next day, I got an e-mail asking for the same details in point 3 above, again, in tabular format, plus a copy of the visa. So sent that.

    I did no follow ups. One thing to note is, that the attachments need to be below 200kb in size, preferably in PDF.

    Thanks,
    NIE approved.

    Reply
  14. Guys,
    Thought of sharing my experience…
    Got my NIE approval today from Chennai Consulate. H1b, Critical Infrastructure, IT
    Initial draft sent on 12th Aug (received automated response but after 2hrs),
    got a response the following day, 13th Aug, to send the details in tabular format, compress the attachments to less than 300kb & to summarize the reason for NIE in 2 lines (my Initial draft had few paras with my experience, current role, client details, and petitioner details). I responded the same day.
    No follow-ups sent, got approval in 2 weeks, today (27th Aug).
    Good luck for those who are waiting out here!!

    Reply
      • yes, I got a separate email to send the details in tabular format, compress the attachments to less than 300kb & to summarize the reason for NIE in 2 lines

        Reply
  15. Guys received NIE approval on Aug 25 applied on July 7th under critical infra

    Request your patience you guys will get too this forum helped a lot to attain the patience needed to wait .

    Reply
  16. Hi All – I had applied for NIE (Critical Infra – IT) on Aug’17 to the Consulate in Chennai. Till now I didn’t get any auto-response email. Is this normal? I’m worried if the NIE email even reached the consulate. Please share your thoughts.

    Reply
    • my old response to similar query:
      Yes, most of the time u get it immediately.
      Some people have experienced no auto response of follow up mails (I received initial auto response. After that, received a mail for primary H1B details, responded and again got auto reply. After a week, sent a reminder (on earlier SENT mail, not on auto response) since travel date approaching, however no auto reply received.

      Hope it will help. Please do check the consulate email address for safer side.

      All the best.

      Reply
  17. Hi All,
    I was issued 221g white slip for client letter and i have submitted client letter June 23rd still no response even after 2 followups with chennai consulate , how long they are taking for 221g approval after submit the client letter ? If anyone had similar experience Please share, Thanks !!

    Reply
  18. Hi All,
    I received NIE approval email from Chennai Consulate for H1B and H4 dependents. I had applied on July 14,2021. 42 days..
    Timelines:
    H1B and H4 same email all 3 travelers list sent to consulate on July 14
    Chennai Consulate
    Approval – I received 2 approval emails 1st on 20 August for My Son and 2nd on 25 August for Myself and Spouse.
    Critical infrastructure – IT

    I had responded to NIE approval of my son on Friday that i didn’t receive for other 2 travellers. I again sent email on top of Friday’s email on Monday and Tuesday.

    Finally on 25 August, i got NIE approval email for myself and spouse (1 email). consulate responded to the original date 14th july email.

    Reply
  19. Hi,
    Finally received NIE approval from Mumbai Consulate today.
    Category: H1B
    Applied on July 29th, evening
    Consulate: Mumbai
    Approval: August 25th
    NIE Sector: Critical infrastructure – IT
    Document attached: Visa copy, Employee Letter, passport copy
    Had Sent 1 follow up after 2 weeks

    Thank you all for sharing your NIE experiences and statuses, it was very helpful.
    And all the best to folks who await approval.

    Reply
  20. All,

    H1B, Chennai Consulate
    Applied on Aug 03.
    Approved 8/24
    Healthcare
    Supporting docs include letter from employer and copy of current visa.

    Thanks and good luck to all!

    Reply
  21. Hi,

    I’m currently on H4 visa and I’m planning to go to India this October. My husband holds H1B visa and is not flying with me. So, do I have to submit nie in order to return to the US in the first week of December.

    Reply
  22. My husband with H1B visa got approval for NIE day before yesterday .. …Only his name was mentioned in that email…Now what are the further steps to get NIE approval for me and baby to travel along with him to US togetherly…..Kindly suggest me to solve my issue. Please guys….

    Reply
    • Did you mention in the email that you need NIE approval for all 3 of you ? If yes , then reply back to same email asking them to include missed names in approval email.

      Reply
      • Hi Divya Srinivasan,
        Thank you for replying.
        My spouse did not mention clearly ,he felt that asking for NIE approval for main applicant was enough to travel dependents with him.But Now we faced this issue.Immediately I confirmed through mail from NIE,that my spouse need to mention complete details of mine and baby seeking for NIE approval along with him in his mail which he has missed to enter, so me and baby did not get NIE approval.And also they confirmed to send (dependents details ) to respective NIE mail ID and we sent. Now Waiting for revert from them.

        Thank you ,

        Rojarani

        Reply
    • Hi,
      If your Husband had applied NIE for all 3 Travelers in same email initially, then go ahead respond to that NIE approval email stating that initial mail date sent …. with 3 travellers , only received for H1B and ask them that other 2 travelers approval email will be sent seperately… so on………………. also list the names of the travelers for their reference again…

      I had received 3 rd business day approval NIE email when i did respond to that mail. Since we donot have other option or communication to reach NIE team.

      Reply
      • Thank you Ibrahim for reply ,

        Immediately I confirmed through mail from NIE,that my spouse need to mention complete details of mine and baby seeking for NIE approval along with him in his mail which he has missed to enter, so me and baby did not get NIE approval.And also they confirmed to send (dependents details ) to respective NIE mail ID and we sent. Now Waiting for revert from them.

        Thank you ,

        Rojarani

        Reply
  23. Hi Vijay ,did u get NIE approval for ur wife…Kindly inform me ….Even my family also facing the same issue got NIE approval stating name of my husband(H1) and we didn’t notice my name and my baby name

    Reply
    • Hi Rojarani,

      I replied to the same email two times this week asking for my spouse details for the NIE approval but I have not received any update as of now.

      I am planning to send a separate email from my spouse Google account tomorrow by forwarding the approval email of NIE and requesting to add her details.

      I don’t know what i have to do to expedite this process to add the missing name and not sure why one person is eliminated from the NIE Approval list in their reply.

      Thanks,
      Vijay G

      Reply
      • Hi Vijay,
        Thank you for replying.
        I confirmed through mail from NIE,that my spouse need to mention complete details of mine and baby seeking for NIE approval along with him in his mail which he has missed to enter, so me and baby did not get NIE approval.And also they confirmed to send (dependents details ) to respective NIE mail ID and we sent. Now Waiting for revert from them.

        Thank you ,

        Rojarani

        Reply
        • Hi All,

          Finally, I have received approval for my Spouse also on Friday (after a week). The only change what I have done here is, I have forwarded the Approval email to my spouse email account and then sent a followup email to NIE.
          They replied after 4 hours with an approval details.

          Thanks,
          Vijay G

          Reply
  24. I am planning to apply NIE for myself in H1b and dependents in H4(Spouse&kid).. do i need to raise separate request for my dependents. doing this so, i need to provide justification for h4 . family separation wont be an option since am already in india.

    Reply
    • Hi,
      Single request will be good enough. You can refer lot of cases here which can guide you.
      Only justification you need to provide to consulate as: why your physical presence required in US (based on your job nature and which critical infra you are supporting).

      It will take time however it will happen for sure. All the best.

      Note: it may take 14 to 30 days (sometime more for H4 cases, but clubbing the dependent with your case will reduce the H4 approval time- based on cases experience shared here), so plan accordingly.

      Reply
  25. Hi,

    Anybody waiting for more than 40 days for H4 category NIE approval from chennai consulate? Do I need to send new mail or send follow up?

    Reply
  26. Hi,
    Sending for the benefit of others.
    I received NIE approval today.
    Category: H1B
    Applied on August 2nd, evening
    Received approval today, August 23rd
    Basis for NIE: Critical infrastructure – IT
    Document attached: Visa copy, self written NIE letter, passport copy, and i94
    No followup emails sent.
    Thank you for all the help for sharing the NIE specific information and experiences, it is very helpful.

    Reply
  27. My NIE request has been approved by Chennai Consulate.
    Applied date:- 09-Aug
    Category :- H1B
    Approval Date:- 23/08
    IT Sector
    No Follow up just waited patiently

    Reply
  28. Hello Everyone,
    Happy to share that NIE has been approved for H4 visa from Hyderabad consulate ….applied on 14th June ….3 reminder mail sent…approved on 21st Aug…

    Reply
  29. Hi All,

    I have applied for NIE at Chennai on 30th July,2021. Till now no resposne yet from Chennai Consulate. Mine is H1B visa category. Not sure howlong will it take further..

    Reply
  30. Recived H4 NIE approval from mumbai..applied on 20th july..thanks to everyone..comments on this forum help me lot…suggested to all try to avoid send any remider this could be delay in process

    Reply
  31. Hi – I have received my NIE and had provided only current unexpired passport number.
    My Visa is on old passport.

    However, I see that new template needs both current passport no and old passport no with Visa.

    Will this cause any problems during my travel ?

    Reply
  32. Does anyone know if there is still a need for NIE with a valid H-4 visa to travel to USA, Since the CDC has lowered India to a level 2 threat? I have applied at Hyderabad embassy, still no response for the past 4 weeks. Has anyone received any updated? Are people with valid H4 visas getting approvals faster than new applicants? Please let me know. Looking for advise on what next steps should be for us.

    Reply
    • Yes, you need to have NIE approval for US travel, until US govt lift the restrictions (it will be exclusively publish once done). US may revisit the restrictions by August end.

      Valid H4 VISA doesn’t have any advantage as of now for NIE approval except you can save time for VISA stamping and appointment struggle. All the best.

      Note: As per US embassy site the turnaround time is 2 weeks (14 days), however when u apply for NIE, the auto response says 30 days or longer.

      Reply
  33. My NIE for H1b got approved today but they did not mention my dependent(H4) details in the mail. Should I mail them back to include my dependents in the list?

    Please let me know if anyone faced this issue. If I mail them back, how many days would be the turnaround time in Chennai consulate?

    Consulate: Chennai
    Date applied: Aug 4th 2021
    Date of approval: Aug 20th 2021
    Any followups: No
    Category: Support to critical Infrastructure sector(Information Technology)
    Docs provided: Passport copy, Visa copy, Employment Verification letter, I-797 & I-94, Fully vaccinated proof

    Reply
    • Please refer: 6 Experiences – NIE Approved for H4 – Family Separation,
      the experience 2, similar to your case.

      Follow up immediately, you may get the response within a day (as per the listed experience).

      All the best.

      Reply
    • Hi all,

      NIE approval for me and my dependent was sent in a separate email which i just noticed.
      Please be aware of it!

      Thanks!

      Reply
    • Hi Sowmya,

      Did you get any response. I have received an Approval (20 Aug 2021) for H1 and H4 (Kid) but not for H4 (Spouse). This is from Hyderabad Consulate.
      I did reply to them to consider approving for spouse the same day but no response as of now.
      Please post me if you get any update.

      I am planning to wait for a day and apply asking for an approval based on below statement.
      Derivative family members, who are joining someone who have been granted National Interest Exception (NIE) or likely to get NIE exception

      Thanks,

      Reply
      • Hi Vijay,
        Did you get any reply from NIE for your question?because I also received same kind of reply but am not sure that means its approved or not?

        Thanks,

        Reply
  34. Hello all,

    I’ve been waiting on my NIE decision since 6 weeks. H1b, Hyd, critical infra (IT). Sent around 20 followups. Would it help if I resend the application from same email Id, by stating the same in the email (No response from consulate since 6 weeks, so re sent the application).
    Kindly suggest on this.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  35. Hi All-

    Type of Visa – H1B
    consulate- Chennai
    NIE request submission- Aug 3 evening
    Approved on -Aug 20

    No follow up emails sent.

    My Suggestion- If possible, try to get the support letter from your manager or Employer. However its not mandatory.

    all the best to everyone. You will get the approval soon.

    Reply
    • Hey there! I am in the same boat. Thinking of re-applying from my company email and a letter from my employer stating I am a critical healthcare worker. So we will see what happens. I might do it on Monday 8/23, Hyd NIE. My previous email with 5 reminders and original application on 7/12, still has had no response. I am in USA H1B, trying to visit my parents for two weeks.

      Very tired of this hap hazard process, but I guess it is what it is!

      AD

      Reply
    • Happy to share that received H4 NIE approval from Chennai consulate yesterday (20 Aug) .First I got approval mail for my son but they did not mention my name in the approval. Again I sent the mail to approval for me and I got the approval within two hour later.
      The experiences shared in this group gave me hope and helped me during this waiting period.

      Initial mail sent 2nd July
      Additional details with primary applicants details sent 23rdJuly
      Date of approval: Aug 20th
      All the best to everyone. You will get the approval soon.

      Reply
      • Hi Sangeeta,
        Did you respond to the approval mail of your son and asking clarification or you sent email again with the details responding to the approval mail? Hw did you approach..
        I mean to ask you didn’t sent email to them as like initial separate email again for getting ur approval in 2 hours
        Thanks Ibrahim

        Reply
        • Hi Ibrahim
          Thanks for asking .
          I just sent another email to approve my NIE request and in this mail I wrote that:
          The above email only states the approval for my son (My son’s name)however my name is not present as I am his mothe(My name).

          Could you please also provide the approval for (my name)(Self)?

          Reply
          • Thank You for responding. I had received for My son approval mail but not for Myself and Spouse on 20th Aug Friday. I had responded back on Friday evening to the same approval email ,but still no response as of now. Chennai Consulate.. I have to wait since no other option to reach ChennaiNIE team except email.

          • Sangeeta did you apply for NIE for H4 or your husband applied for you who has an H1B visa.
            Was he also in India or US ?

  36. good news: U.S. CDC, State Dept ease India advisory
    hope we may see any change in August end

    https://www.reuters.com/world/us-cdc-warns-against-turkey-travel-eases-india-advisory-2021-08-16/

    Reply
      • We never know, the current restrictions are based on 400,000 cases/day, however it is still imposed though the cases reduced below 40,000/day. We can only hope for the best i.e. restriction free travel post August.

        Reply
  37. Hi everyone, I am in India for last 1 year and have a new job offer for which I am getting H1b. I need stamping and I will qualify for Dropbox. Are NIEs getting approved for employees who are yet to start? Thanks in Advance!

    Reply
  38. My NIE approval was denied from Mumbai. I applied on 23rd July, sent reminders on 9th August and 16th August. They did not mention a reason for the denial. However they encouraged me to consider traveling to a country not listed in the presidential proclamation and spend at least 14 days over there.

    Reply
  39. Hi , if anybody get NIE approval from Chennai consulate recently for H4 , please comment here.

    My friend who applied for NIE on aug 3 for H1B got approved yesterday
    Do not know what is happening with H4.

    Reply
  40. Will we get the auto reply mail immediately after submitting the email request for NIE to the concerned consulate mail address. I did not receive any auto reply email from chennai consulate, its been 2 days.

    Reply
    • Yes, most of the time u get it immediately.
      Some people have experienced no auto response of follow up mails (I received initial auto response. After that, received a mail for primary H1B details, responded and again got auto reply. After a week, sent a reminder (on earlier SENT mail, not on auto response) since travel date approaching, however no auto reply received.

      Hope it will help. Please do check the consulate email address for safer side.

      All the best.

      Reply
      • U guys making me nervous 🙁 I applied for H4 NIE on 11th August and booked ticket for 26th August (based on embassy 2 weeks turnaround time), also based on the listed experiences at this page.

        will wait till Monday then reschedule, also, dont know what timeline I need to consider.
        Anyways, all the best for your cases.

        Reply
    • Nope! Applied on July 12th, sent 4 reminders. No response from HYD NIE. Healthcare worker grounds.

      H1B approved and stamped till Oct 10th 2021. Applied from US requesting a visit to see parents. Hoping the US will open travel to vaccinated travelers. This current situation is very unfair and extremely biased.

      Reply
    • Nope! Applied on July 6th, sent 2 reminders. No response from HYD NIE.
      On 2nd week got email to provide more details about job duties, that I provided immediately , but after that It has been 4 weeks, no response from them.

      Can anybody have idea, how long HYD NIE is taking time to give the approval ?

      Reply
  41. Hi all,

    Has anyone here received any correspondence from the Mumbai consulate regarding NIE? I see lots of updates from other consulates but none from Mumbai.
    I had applied for NIE on 28th July under Critical Sector IT, but no response yet.

    Reply

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