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Travel to US from India on NIE: User Experiences, Flight, PoE Process

Since the US has banned travelers from India due to the presidential proclamation in place, you need to get National Interest Exception(NIE) and travel within 12 months. Some of you may apply for US Visa at a Consulate based on NIE, some of you may already have visa and just apply for NIE to travel. Many of you might be worried about how it all would work, when you are traveling with NIE, how do US Port of Entry Procedures work, will there be secondary inspection, what is time taken with NIE at Port of entry for transit, etc.

Many of our readers, community members in social media groups were kind enough to share their experiences with the community. Thanks a lot to all of them for sharing these. These are all posted as anonymous for privacy and curated from the Telegram Group of US Visa Stampings India

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If you are looking for NIE process and letter format, read NIE Sample Letters, Format – 14 User Experiences

Experience 1 : Travel from Cochin to New Jersey on NIE

Travel route, Date : COK-DEL-EWR 14th-15th June, 2021 on Air India flight. After all the complex visa and scary NIE issues in India , we finally got onto our onward flights to the US on the 14th of June from COK-DEL and 15th early morning from DEL to EWR on Air India.

At Cochin Airport : At COK, we got a thru check in to DEL…..they checked RT-PCR at COK but surprisingly didn’t ask us anything about the NIE. Just looked at the visa stamps and issued the boarding passes for connecting flights. The gentleman at the AI counter was really awesome, the first AI staff I have met in many a year with some sort of professionalism. Flight from COK to New Delhi was on time and as usual and the food was pathetic.

At New Delhi Airport , RT-PCR Check : At New Delhi, just before the Immigration Counter, the AI transfer desk checked our NIE and RT-PCR again…….I had taken two tests at different places and just as luck would have it, on one of them, they missed the QR code……luckily the second test had the QR code. Just before final boarding, RT-PCR was checked again.

Air India Flight Experience to the US: DEL-EWR flight schedule was exactly on the dot……this was my first AI flight in many a year due to previous poor experiences and AI lived upto my expectations…….my hope was at least the US sectors would be good but I was wrong again……..the DEL-EWR 777 was a rickety aircraft that shuddered and trembled all over the place during takeoff……I expected to have been dropped somewhere in Greenland but luckily we made it all the way……however, Indian pilots are second to none in the world and that’s always comforting. The food was wonderful, to say the least.

On our EWR flight, 50% of all the video screens didn’t work for the 15 hr journey!!!! DO NOT TRAVEL VIA AIR INDIA IF YOU HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE!!!!

Port of Entry Experience at Newark Airport : We reached EWR like 45mins before the actual ETA probably cos of favorable tailwinds and the Immigration queue was similar to the line outside a Kerala marriage reception lunch…….it took us 30mins in the queue to reach the CBP officer, who to kindly escorted us for the Secondary Immigration checks due to our NIE.

Secondary Immigration CheckDelays : The first CBP officer questions were very basic……why are you coming to the US, how long do you plan to stay and what is your line of work……very friendly guy as well. Second one was a room filled with people from all places but mainly many NIE Indians…….it took us, yes, it took is 3.5 hours before we were allowed to proceed to collect our bags and clear Customs……the CBP officers took their own sweet time with the process……no questions were asked at all…….wish the process was made much more efficient……..some passengers got off in 30mins but there was a lady who was in 30mins before us and she was still there even after we left…….and she has a USC kid!!!!!!

So beware……do not take immediate connection flights, worst-case delays can be like 4 hrs as was with the case with us.

At EWR, no one asked for our RTPCR tests anywhere.

The ordeal ended at around 12:30pm, a good 5 hours after we landed. As we declared we were carrying food, we had additional checks as the Agriculture screening as well but this was done quite rapidly.

On the positive side, we were able to take Pfizer shots like 4 hours after our arrival in NYC and that itself seemed to be worth the travel hassle.

Experience 2 :Travel from India(Bengaluru) to US (Seattle) – US Visa with NIE

  • I traveled to the US from Bengaluru on Qatar Airlines during second week of June 2021.
  • I had to check in at the Qatar Airlines counter in the airport.
  • COVID RT-PCR Test : Got my RT-PCR test at the The Gene Lab (Kalyan Nagar, Bengaluru). They gave the results within 12 hours with QR code on it. I didn’t print a copy as the customer service agent told me the digital copy would be enough. But do try to take a hard copy if possible. You can save sometime.
  • They reviewed the NIE annotation on my passport and allowed me to go in. I think they might be checking in the annotation again in Doha, Qatar (where I had to transit). I saw a US Embassy staff member asking one of the passengers to show some documents. I haven’t seen any others being asked any questions though.
  • US Port of Entry Experience: Landed in Seattle, US, a group of 10 people including me were diverted to another direction as there were 4 other counters there. The immigration officer I was called to ask me for the passport and visa.
    • She asked me if I have an email or a letter stating I can get back to the US. Explained to her that since my visa is stamped with NIE annotation. Didn’t seem like she knew it, so she asked her colleague. He explained something to her. She turned to me and asked again if I have a letter.
    • I explained again since I didn’t have a prior visa, the NIE is annotated on the visa and email or a letter is something that is given to someone who requested for NIE through email if they already had visa stamping done.
    • She responded by saying so they essentially stamp it directly on the visa, that’s so cool. I showed her the annotation. She took my picture, stamped the visa and sent me my way.
    • The only confusing aspect was that my fingerprints were not taken. Not sure if it is optional or something they decided to do or not do.

Experience 3 : Travel from Bangalore to Los Angeles with NIE annotation

Flight, COVID Test, Airport process

  • I booked my tickets with Qatar airlines. Bangalore->Doha->Los Angeles.
  • Qatar airlines need 48hrs prior RT-PCR test even though the USA CDC requirement is 72 hours prior
  • At Bangalore airport they just checked my NIE email and gave me my boarding pass within 5 mins. No NIE verification with CBP was done
  • No one asked for NIE at Doha and boarding was smooth.

US Port of Entry Experience

  • At Los Angeles, I was taken to secondary.
  • No questions asked at primary. Office just took my passport scanned it and asked me to follow another officer to the secondary room.
  • I waited for about 2 and half hours and finally, the officer called my name, gave me my passport and said I’m good to go.
  • Not even a single question asked at POE.

Experience 4 : Travel from Chennai to San Francisco with NIE annotation

  • Travel Date, Airline : Traveled to the US on June 16th. CHN – DEL – SFO through United airlines and an onward connecting journey. Chennai to Delhi on June 15th via Vistara at 5.20 pm ist.
  • NIE Visa, No email : US Visa stamped with exemption and no separate NIE email..
  • Checkin : Smooth check in, United has only 1 baggage-free and we got another checked in for $100. Got all the boarding passes there.
  • Boarding in Delhi : Reached Delhi on time. Had 6.5 hrs transit time. United counter did not open until 10 pm ist. Immigration was smooth. Boarded flight at 2.55 am ist on June 16th.
  • Process at SFO , Port of Entry : Reached SFO at 6.10 am pst. Had just 2 hrs of transit time to catch the next flight.
    • Immigration was taken to secondary screening.
    • Took around 30 mins to clear Immigration. Had the stamp entry date wrong so another 10 mins to reverify if it’s correct I. I-94.
    • Went ahead and took by baggage for customs. Both the luggages were opened and had extra scrutiny for “jeera”. Took around 30 mins again.
    • Finally collected the baggage and dropped again for connecting flight. Headed to domestic and was pretty early, boarding did not start. Boarded at 8.30 am PST.

Experience 5 – Travel BLR-DEL-EWR-BOS via United

  • Reached US.. traveled BLR-DEL-EWR-BOS via United
  • At BLR – AI staff took 1 hr to verify my NIE if I am eligible to travel US or not and after that issued boarding passes.
  • At DEL – Went to United counter to check in. I told them abt my NIE, they immly called embassy to verify my NIE. It took around 30-40 mins to verify and then issue Boarding pass till Boston.
  • At EWR- I was asked to go and wait in a room where lots of Indian people were waiting to be verified. CBP officers were checking and asking proofs from everyone for travel ban exemptions. I was hoping that they will ask me same thing. But to my surprise the officer came and handed over my passport and told me I am good to go. I was pleasantly surprised. 🙂 I had to wait 40 mins in that room.


  • My wife (H4) travelled on 24th May with NIE approval
  • Rajkot: Asked RTPCR report and checked 72hours from departure of US flight. Didn’t ask anything about NIE. They just issued both the boarding pass
  • New Delhi: Didn’t ask anything about NIE
    Airport people just asked that make sure you have 72hours departure before you reach at Flight Entry Gate
  • EWR: No one has asked about RTPCR report.
  • 1st CBP Officer Questions:
    • What is husband’s name? She answered
    • What is your husband doing? She answered
    • What food items you are carrying? (We said Yes inside the custom form)
    • She answered
  • 1st CBP officer called his/her colleague and asked to take my wife for the second interview.
  • FYI: Once my wife reached at second interview room, there were too many people who had a second interview. I can say that would be on H1B or H4 or some other visas
    • Do you have I797? My wife didn’t had it and she just handed over mine.
    • What food items you are carrying?
    • Your husband’s passport copy?
    • Where is your husband? She said in US.
    • Are you sure of Question 4? She said Yes
    • Is your husband here to pick up you? She said Yes
  • Immigration is cleared.

Experience 7 – Travel Delhi to SFO via Air India Experience

I traveled on NIE today from Delhi to SFO via Air India.

  • The Air India staff did not called CBP for verification of NIE, but he asked for entire email. I gave him just the approval part but he said he wanted to check the passport numbers on the email. After receiving the boarding pass i asked him how did you verified, he replied we can randomly and main for B1/B2 NIE. The key take away pls get print out of entire email.
  • No questions asked at Indian immigration
  • At POE SFO they sent me and my spouse to second level of screening but we were freed up in 10 mins with stamp on the passport. Question asked – reason to visit India, how long you are working here, did u studied here, have any us born kids, what is nature of ur job, what is ur job title , what roles you perform.
  • I applied NIE at Chennai at first but they did not replied for a long long time out of frustration I send the email to all the consulate’s. Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai asked to apply at Chennai. Hyderabad denied and Chennai finally approved. Hyderabad deny came after Chennai approval and that scared me a lot. Key point do not apply to all consulate and denied from other consulate did not appear in the system but pls avoid applying at all consulate and approval from visa issuing consulate is important.
  • Experience flying with air India was worst in terms of flying experience, united is better but expensive and only 1 bag allowed.

Experience 8 – Delhi to SFO via United

Landed in USA on June 22, 2021 ( H1B with NIE approval (financial sector)

TCS employee working for BFS client

27th May : Sent mail for NIE explaining why i am required in usa to work on my project

Same day (27th May) received approval from delhi consulate

Travelled today with united airlines
Delhi to sfo

Delhi airport asked for NIE approval mail n covid negative report

SFO 1st immigration normal question –
what was last date in usa
was it planned long vacation?

secondary immigration (becz of NIE)
1) asked for current petition original copy
2) how much indiaan and us currency
3) when u recvd nie, if project was so critical why u travel so late after approval

secondary team did stamping and good to go

Experience 9 – Travel Delhi to SFO via United

I got my NIE approved from Delhi and traveled on Saturday via united
Delhi to SFO. United staff didn’t verify my NIE with the embassy (they told me they do that when in doubt.

I was a little bit grilled by immigration at SFO I think I gave them a reason to take to secondary. {In primary Gave vague /confusing answers which gave them a reason to send me to secondary, In secondary I answered the question correctly, they ask what do I do to be considered for NIE by the embassy as well among other basic questions)

For NIE, I gave family separation and working for a cloud provider.

  • Which visa
  • Which company
  • Reason for traveling
  • Do you have covid
  • Where do you work

Experience 10: Mumbai to Newark

Mumbai to Newark @11.20AM
30 th June landed Newark at 4.45 in the morning
From 4.45 to 7.00 was taken in the secondary room no questions asked just the regular ones
Around 7.15 an officer took me to the screening area and all my bags were screened which took almost 15 mins
Then the officer gave me back my passport and wished me good luck for my final destination

Tip here is answer very honestly about any questions asked that what they are looking for

Boarded my flight was in a little rush as I had to go by air train to terminal C

Landed Austin at 11.30

Overall the airline staff was very helpful and friendly
60 percent flight was occupied

Don’t stress at all
Be confident everything will be ok trust me

Felt amazing after landing in the US after 16 months

I pray and hope everyone in this group return back to thier lives in the US

Experience 11: New Delhi to SFO via United with NIE

Travel date: July 2

Airlines: United (non-stop)
Rt-pcr checked at New delhi airport, Visa and NIE asked, departure immigration was smooth at ND – no questions asked, flight was about 50% capacity…landed half an hr early.

Destination: San Francisco; average queue at customs, Immigration officer asked visa category, company name, same company on visa stamped as on i797 (yes in my case), asked if carrying fruits, seeds (no for me), took just a min and went straight to baggage claim.
I believe having NIE annotation on passport helped and officer did check in system and stamped on passport within a min.

Experience 12: Vijayawada-New Delhi-Chicago-Detroit via AI & United with NIE for H1B+H4

Travel date: July 5th

Airlines: AI &United
Rt-pcr checked at Vijayawada,New Delhi and Chicago airports.Visa and NIE asked at VGA airport and Delhi immigration officials. They have asked about NIE email approval, I told I don’t have separate email approval and it’s annotated along with the visa stamp. They have cross checked visa issued date and stamped with departure date.

Immigration at Chicago: Immigration officer asked some basic questions about company, client and location of stay. And also asked about why you switched the company. 179A also asked by the immigration officer. Please carry.
I believe having NIE annotation on passport helped and officer did check in system and stamped on passport within few minutes.

Claimed baggage at Chicago and checked in to united to travel to detroit.
Travelled to detroit and picked up our bags and went home.

Experience 13: Bangalore – Delhi – SFO via United

Hi all, I’m posting my travel experience in case it helps someone 😊✈️

Traveled on July 10/11 BLR – DEL – SFO via United Airlines. At Bangalore airport, they checked my visa stamped with the NIE (I did not have a separate NIE email), neg RT-PCR test and admission letter. Smooth check-in, security, and boarding at the domestic terminal.

Reached DEL on time and headed from the domestic to Intl Terminal. I had 4.5 hours of transit. I went to the immigration counter, but they refused my boarding pass (the one I got at BLR) and asked me to get a new one from the United counter. They checked again my visa with the NIE (did not ask for an email) and neg RT-PCR test. After getting a new boarding pass, immigration and security went well. At the immigration, the officer asked me my reason for traveling and about the research I’ll be doing.

Boarded the flight at 2.30 am IST. Reached SFO at 5 am PST.
The US immigration (CBP) counters don’t open until 6 am, so we waited in the flight for an hour (if you have relatives waiting outside, better to inform them of this in advance)!

At the immigration, the officer checked my documents, took my photo, but then sent me to another room for a secondary screening. He didn’t give me any reason for it. I was called there within 15 minutes, and after 5 minutes of typing on the computer, the officer stamped my passport with an « arrival date », status « J-1 », and validity date as D/S which means « duration of status ». He gave back my DS-2019, and wished me luck! 😅

Went ahead to collect my baggage. One of my two bags had a green tag, and both were additionally screened and scrutinized for “spices”. I believe cumin/ jeera is not accepted. Finally, they let me pass!! I was happy to exit after a long 24h journey, with a few, but no major hurdles!! 🥳

Wishing the best to all of you!!
Have a safe journey!!!

Experience 14: Bangalore – Delhi – SFO

Reached USA yesterday with NIE approval on H1B Stamp.
Travelled in United via BLR – DEL – SFO
Airline agents checked RT-PCR and NIE annotation in Visa at both BLR and DEL
SF Port of Entry – United reached 1 hour early at 5:10 am, so had to wait in flight till 6:00 am for the immigration counters to open at SFO.
The officer just asked my current I-797 and stamped the arrival stamp. Did not ask any question and not be taken to Secondary inspection. I see couple of guys were taken to secondary inspection.
Overall immigration took 1 hour. Happy to answer any questions.

Experience 15: Hyderabad – Delhi – EWR

Itinerary: HYD -> DEL -> EWR with Air India

Visa type: H1B with USC wife, but traveling alone.

At Hyderabad:
Checkin, immigration and security takes 2 hours. Checked RTPCR and asked about NIE exception. Mentioned all details and showed the necessary documents.

At Delhi:
Transfer was easy. Security was done twice once at the terminal and once at the gate. Asked to show RTPCR and travel ban exemption again.

Flight to Newark was packed. Most of them were F1 students. Flight itself was smooth.

Immigration line was moving quick. When my turn came up, I was asked for my H1B I797, passport and was sent straight to a secondary screening room which was like detention.

Everyone who wasn’t a citizen or permanent resident or a student was sent to this room with the exception of some unlucky F1 students who also were in the room. It was also packed as flights from Latin countries kept arriving and some folks were sent here.

No phones were allowed here and the officers were calling up one by one and it felt like a court room. They were taking up each case and conducting a 10 min enquiry and ran an entire background check on their computer.

H1B visa holders travelling with families and those with USC kids were taken care of first and then came my turn after an hour and a half. I was asked about my exception, about travel to India, details about company, etc and was finally given my passport back.

Then collected bags and left!

Total time at Newark: 3 hours.

Be prepared to be put through additional screening. It felt like we were criminals and our court case was running. But the positive side of it was that everyone was being sent out eventually and they’re just making sure that all details are verified thoroughly. While I was in there it felt like I was a bad student sent to detention.Once I was out of rhe room I was treated with utmost respect. Be patient and be honest, you will get through it fine.

Goodluck to anyone whose POE is EWR!

Experience 16: New Delhi to New York Via London

I am here to share my experience:
My flight was from New Delhi to New york via London
Departure time – 11:30 from New Delhi Aug 2 2021

Reached airport at 8 ( if u check in early you can reach by 9 too)
But try to reach early

First thing I would like to tell guys is that Each service was through Vergin Atlantic though they have mentioned Delta( u have to check in via Vergin only)
The only Delta thing you will get is the flight no at the kiosk desk or LED screen

So from start
Went to L counter at airport there was a short desk before the main counter

Asked my Rt pcr report and scanned my Qr code
Then asked my passenger locator form (i had it printed)
Then they asked for US attestation form( which i made a print of the webpage when it was submitted)

Then they looked up my passport and asked me to move in queue to get the boarding pass and handing over the checkin luggage( I had 2)

I went to the main counter
They took my passport and asked the purpose
They they took the luggage and asked me to go to immigration

I went to immigration then they verified my passport and again asked the purpose
I told them

After that i went to security
Then to Boarding gate which was 8A( in boarding pass they have mentioned A08 so dont worry its same)

Everything was smooth because very few people were in immigration and security

Then i board the flight
Occupancy – 75% app

Reached London on time
I had connecting flight so they asked to follow the purple sign and also you can ask the crew members (they will let you know)
Came out of the plane and followed the purple signs for connecting flights

Then I saw the first thing which was security
Passed it

Then UK custom came into action 🤪( dont worry everything is good)

It was a long queue in comparison to others waiting queue (not much though)

They have list of different visa you have so that they can allow you to board

F1 is there too
And alot A,B,C too
Mine was J1 which was not on the list
So they asked me to wait for 2 min
I waited they talked and confirmed from senior and they let me board

So dont worry even if u have J1 . U will be permitted. They just need the confirmation. As everything is verified before your arrival

Although total layover time was 2:30 hrs but i hardly had 20 mins
As security and immigration took 1 hr
And They asked to board the flight 1 hr before
So i board the flight at 6:00 pm approx

Flight was late
It was departed at 7:17 pm

Landed NY at 9:40 pm

Reached the custom
They scanned passport and took picture
And asked the purpose

I had Ds 2019 form as i have J1 so they took me to some room so as to fill in some details from DS 2019 (If u have I20 may be they can ask to do the same but dont worry its just formality)and with in 5 mins
They let me go
Custom took approx 40 -60 mix( was long queue)
And then my luggage were on belt 8
Took it and headed to home

Meal details

  1. From New delhi to London-
    a.) drinks
    b.) after 15-20 min -meal ( Chicken breast/Veg biryani)
    c.) veggie wrap with water
    d.) drinks/tea/coffe
  2. From London to New york
    a.) drinks
    b.) after 15-20 min -meal ( Chicken tikka/Mushroom pasta)
    c.) Berger and muffin and sweet
    d.) drinks/tea/Coffee

Dont hesitate to go to washroom (Telling to those who hesitate to ask)
As I am

I was on window seat and if i had to go to washroom i had to think for like 30-45 mins before
So just ask and go 😂

I guess that will help you a little for your awesome journey

Experience 17: New Delhi – Doha – Dallas

Experience – NIE approved from New Delhi for H1b visa
Qatar airways (New Delhi-Doha-Dallas)

NIE Drop Box -19th July
NIE approved email – 22 July
Passport Issued -23 July
Passport received – 29 July

New Delhi-Doha-Dallas : 3 rd aug
Reached Dallas : 3rd Aug

Reached airport 5hours before departure to make sure there is enough time for NIE verification , was handed 1 form – Qatar consent (had 1 completed at home) .Qatar representatives checked RTPCR approval before entering the line to get to the counter. At the qatar counter asked for passport , rtpcr , nie hardcopy and the 1form. I don’t think any NIE verification happened here with the CBP because after checking all the documents and the weight of my bags , i was handed boarding passes till Dallas within 5min.

Note – Delhi Qatar never called me or did any sort of verification via email. I was not able to do online check-in as well. People carrying 2 bags (cabin and backpack/laptop bag/hand bag) were being asked to put both bags on the scale – asked them to remove stuff and come back with only 7kgs. So plan accordingly looks like qatar is particular about the weight of the cabin bag and hand luggage.

India Immigration – Checked passport and stamped no questions asked. Regular security check and then proceeded to the gate. Whole process from the time i entered the airport to the gate took 45mins.

Delhi-Doha flight was 100% occupied. We are given face shields and were asked to wear those. Flight started with 2 hours of delay (don’t plan anything for Doha airport )

Doha – Got the gate information and rushed to boarding gate (asked for help whenever needed airport people super friendly and helpful) Quick Security check after entering airport.

Boarding gate another security check happens before entering the gate – was confirmed NIE in the passport.
At the security screening – US bound flights have to go through electronics check and was asked to remove all the electronics carrying for screening.
Long queues so get to the gate as soon as possible.

Doha – Dallas flight was fully occupied

Dallas – Immigration was super smooth ,huge line though seems multiple airlines landed on same time.
Handed my passport
Where you going?

Typing something…..
Asked if I wanted to declare anything . I think they are specifically checking on these – not sure if they were allowed to carry at this point of time or not but I didn’t have any and so answered no.

Handed my passport back with the no entry stamp for H1b they said it’s online ,checked my online I-94 information it’s there .

Collected my bags and headed home.

Experience 18: Delhi – DXB – JFK via MXP

My flight was Emirates (DEL- DXB-JFK via MXP) on Aug 13th at 4:15 am.


  • There was a long wait at the check-in counters although they have separate counters for Online Checked-In Customers at Delhi Airport.
  • They ask for Passport, ticket, I-20 (if going to US), US declaration form (to be downloaded for airline’s website) and Negative RT PCR.
  • Details asked: Mobile number and Destination’s address with Pin-code (can say the same as in I-20).
  • Had a cabin bag, laptop bag and a purse. The check-in counters didn’t check the cabin-bag’s dimensions and weight. It’s all good.
  • Went to immigration counters after Check-In. Again a long queue but the process was smooth. No questions asked.


  • Landed Early at DXB.
  • Transit was quite smooth.
  • No personal security check-in was done.
  • Just the cabin bag was security checked.
  • Have ample of time for exploring the airport for first timers.

MXP transit

  • They ask us to leave the aircraft with all our belongings.
  • At Milan airport, first they ask us to security check and then they check our boarding pass, passport, visa and i-20 (if we are F1 students).
  • Once done, we will be issued a new boarding pass with our gate number (the gate number isn’t mentioned in the previous boarding pass of DKB to JFK) and then we wait for at the airport to board the same plane at the same seat.
  • Very smooth process at Milan without any hassle.

JFK immigration

  • Landed early.
  • The first thing after landing is immigration.
  • The process is very easy and fast at JFK.
  • We are required to present our passport and i-20.
  • The immigration officer asked me about my university name and program and the address of my housing.
  • That’s all and STAMP!!!
  • You come to baggage claim and you are finally in the States making your dream come true!!!

Experience 19: Delhi-San Francisco-Chicago-Memphis

Reached back successfully to USA on H1B renewed Visa with NIE PP endorsement. (Came to Delhi-India on 11th July 2021 to see my Mother, under the threat of may not been returning as Travel ban was implemented and due to that got significant delays in Visa renewal as US Embassy issued my Yellow 221g and ask my to bring a new Passport because as per them my current submitted Passport comes under damaged category which was really surprising to me as I was travelled on the same Passport from US to India), This was a Long story already described in my past post that how I got my new Passport within 3 days under expedited service and then resubmit it with all the required documents and got my H1B Visa stamped/issued in August with NIE on current travel ban under PP Nobel Corona Virus.

Reached Delhi Airport at around 11:30 PM on 24th August (To board My SSO flight 2:55 AM, 25th Aug).
At United Counter they have checked my RT-PCR Negative report and Passport with NIE approved Visa and issued all my Boarding pass (Have 3 flights with connections)

  1. Delhi to San-Francisco
  2. San-Francisco to Chicago
  3. Chicago to Memphis TN

After getting my boarding pass and beg checked in at Delhi Airport the United agent told me to wait as one of the United team member gathered travelers in a small group and then take us along with few other passengers to Delhi Immigration counter.

At immigration they have asked few basic questions and put departed stamp then another United agent take us to the Indian Customs counter where the custom officer asked few questions related to cash and other stuff, after that we were free to go for Security check and then wait to board my SFO flight.

United SFO flight was on time, everything was very limited in the flight with no choice and options they don’t even provide the wired earphones so for whole 15+ hours flight with no entertainment due to earphones (I was carrying my AirPods but they were not connected, so take your personal wired earphones). SFO flight was 100% full and reached to destination early around 50 minutes and we were asked to seat in the plane itself for almost an hour due to some security protocols.

US immigration counter was over crowded with Students (no social distancing) and it took me more than an hour for my turn, At Counter Immigration officer check my passport and took a picture and asked basic questions and purpose of my travel also asked about food items and other restricted Stuff then he called another CBP officer to take us in a different room (I have a connection flight but they said you have to wait until we clear you), I lost all hope for my connecting flight and seat ideally in the room with other travelers, then luckily they called my name and ask questions about my work company client etc. Including my US address and tenure, after that they put Arrived stamp on my Passport (Immigration Officer put wrong date on my Passport and then start overwrite on it which looks like tempered and when I asked about the overwritten date and he realized and crossed that stamp and put another stamp on the same page with correct date).

I ran and resubmit my check-in bags and went to TSA security again and they checked my laptop backpack 🎒 with some chemical and then clear me.

After POE I was free to board my connecting flight which was about to go but finally I board it.

Later I reached Chicago and then board my final destination Flight to Memphis Tennessee and reached home.

Feel free for any questions.

Tip: While planning your itinerary be sure to take enough time at POE if you have any further connecting flight. Also handy with your USA address, Salary figure and Job Title, Employer Name, Client name and tenure.

Experience 20: Hyderabad – Delhi – Doha – DFW

Vistara needs a mandatory web check in that is available 48 hours before. Do it online, some standard questions and boarding passes will be issued for hyd – del and del – Doha. It will let you check in for Doha to 🇺🇸Destination

Hyd to del – vistara – bags checked in all the way to Dallas. They issued all 3 boarding passes. Checked rt pcr test and visa on the passport

Del – Doha – international transfer and immigration is a breeze. Standard questions and security check again. Went to the gate and Qatar reissued the del to Doha and Doha to Dallas boarding passes.

Doha- another security check after you land and a final security check at the US flight gate

Landed at 9.40am in dfw. Flying business helps to be the first in line , but honestly there was no one in the immigration area and it looked like Qatar was the only flight.

Immigration – they have their systems set up to check nie, no secondary needed. No questions asked. The poe officer just mentioned the max limit on the i94 fir h1b is only 1024 days and he is stamping it till Sept, 24 although I have the petition end date till oct, 24. This can be fixed when I travel next.

Collected bags and there is no customs line per se. There are a group of officers that are near the carousel that randomly pick passengers and ask questions. An officer came to me asked for my passport

  1. Where are you coming from
  2. Purpose of the trip
  3. Where is home
  4. What is your work and explain in a few words
  5. How much cash are you carrying
  6. What kind of food do you have in your bags

She welcomed me home and I was in and out in 15 min after landing. My fastest ever immigration coming into Dallas.

Experience 21: Chennai – Dubai – Los Angeles via Emirates

First time H1B – No US travel history.

Date: 29-Sep-2021
Chennai (Flight to Dubai)

  1. Checked in 2 bags ~24 kg each
  2. Asked for COVID test report
  3. Asked for attestation document
    Flight was almost full. Breakfast served.

After landing at Dubai, had to go for carryon luggage checking.

There was enough time.

Boarded the light from Dubai to Los Angeles. Flight was almost empty. In my seating rest of the three seats were empty. Mose of the row has only one person occupied and all had to sleep well on the whole flight.

Breakfast, lunch, and some snacks were given. Flight was smooth.

Landed USA on time.

Officer: Hey, how are you?
Me: I’m going great. Thanks. Hope you are good. Gave him the passport.
Officer: Yeah. Why are you here?
Me: I’m here for work.
Officer: What job you are going to do?
Me: I’m going to work as a Solutions Architect
Officer: That’s nice. Do you have any document with you?
Me: Yeah, I have my approval notice. Gave him i797.
Officer: All good, welcome to the United States.
Me: thank you. Have a good day.

Picked up my luggages exited. No customs checks were done.

Experience 22: Bangalore – Dubai – SFO via Emirates

H1b visa (with NIE annotation) on October 7th

Both flights were not full. Not sure if they intentionally left some seats vacant but there were lot of seats empty.

Bangalore – Dubai (2 hrs 20 min layover)- SFO

BLR airport – they verified visa, rt pcr report and NIE approval/annotation on visa. I had taken a print of NIE approval letter from consulate as well.

Dubai – 2 security checks – 1 security check at transit terminal after disembarkation. 2nd one just before boarding at gate.

SFO – immigration went smooth. I had global entry pass so skipped the regular line. Regular lines were also not that big. Didn’t get tick mark/ pass thru at Global entry. So had to meet the officer a counter. There was only one person ahead of me. So the process was complete within few mins. Regular questions were asked by officer – where to do you work, what do you do and where are you going

Custom – there was no need to fill any form. While I was walking out, an officer approached and asked if I had any food. I said yes so he asked what and if I had any meat. I said no and was allowed exit.

Experience 23: Mumbai – Doha – Boston via Qatar

November 10th on B2 Visa.
At Mumbai – checked vaccination certificate and returned it. Then asked for one copy of RT-PCR report, Qatar airways Passenger Consent Form duly filled in and CDC forms 1&2 of USA requirements. All documents submitted.
Checked in 2 luggages (23 kgs each). Was allowed one cabin baggage of 7 kg and my hand bag with laptop in it ( around 2 kgs).

Security Check done.
Boarded flight – 3 hrs to Doha

At Doha – international transfer – went through and waited. The layover was for about 8 and half hours

At about 5.50 am gate number was announced for 7.50 am flight to Boston

Asked for vaccination certificate and passport and checked laptops, jackets, watch, belts, shoes etc. Selectively. Not everyone was told to remove shoes. Ready to board.

Landed one hour early at Boston. Immigration – they asked how long is the stay, what have you brought in your luggage and how much cash you have?

Baggage claim – tool an hour for baggage to come in the conveyor belt.
Got luggages. 6$ for trolley. I didn’t take trolley. Came out.
In short – comfortable and no difficulty journey from India to US.

Experience 24: Mumbai-Bangalore-Paris-Atlanta via Air France

Sharing my Experience :

  1. RT PCR must 72 hrs (showed from mobile)
  2. Vaccination cards
    I did not see any counters in Mumbai for tests as I did already but in Bangalore RTPCR counter is there Rs 500 and test results ASAP
  3. At Paris before boarding they asked all documents such as RTPCR , vaccinations cards along with USA self declaration form , have to submit physical copy ( not online) they do also give paper copy if you missed to print this form but better you carry
  4. At Atlanta GA – Nothing checked once landed to Atlanta Georgia , just port of entry and walked

*H1B expired / valid for Air France no transit visa needed * pls check their guidelines
With the given changing condition , do not panic just check if you get any emails from airline /connect with them instead of listening to so many random sources to get right information

Experience 25: Mumbai – Abu Dhabi – JFK via Etihad

Dec 17 Mumbai:
RT-PCR reports checked for last 24hr/1day. ( one of the fellow passenger had rtPCR for 72hrs, she had to take rapid antigen at airport.)
Chcked contact tracing form which was submitted online on Etihad website
Checked in bags. Issued Boarding pass till JFK only even though i had third connection to Virginia from JFK. They said i”ll have to take it in NY
Security check done.
Immigration done.

Abu Dhabi
Combined passenger disclosure and attestaion to Usa form was distributed. It was just reviewed before entry to gate . No one collected the form; neither at Abu Dhabi port of entry nor at JFK.
Security check done.
Immigration port of entry/preclearance done at AbuDhabi. Simple and interesting questions asked like how much gold worth in USD you bought in India. Did not check i797
Before boarding flight to JFK I asked for boarding pass for my third connection to Virginia and they gave it.

Took AirTrain for terminal to last connection
Security check done. All set.
Rchd Virginia

Experience 26: Mumbai – Delhi – SFO via Air India

BOM-DEL-SFO travel experience via Air India (Short Layover Watch Out)

BOM-DEL segment (Treated as Domestic)

  • Bags get through checked in all the way to SFO
  • Gave boarding passes for both segments but asked to report at Transit Desk in DEL (Just asked if we have rtpcr report within 1 day, did not check)
  • Security Checkin
  • Newer Airbus with clean seats and breakfast too, no screens
  • Landed 15 mins before time (gave us some extra time, since our layover was 2 hr 15 min only)

DEL-SFO Segment

  • 10 min walk from off boarding to transit desk, guy verified passports, rtpcr and boarding passes and sent us through for International Transfers / Departure
  • At International Transfers, Immigration officers check passport, visa , boarding passes and stamp the departed on the passport and boarding pass. Make sure if you have a child ( US citizen), they haven’t overstayed and have right visas (valid evisa) / oci cards.
  • Security Checkin #1 (stamps boarding pass)
  • Goto gate via Duty Free
  • Gate 1 for DEL- SFO
  • Security Checkin #2 (special for US), gives face shield, mask, sanitizer sachets.
  • Ready to Board
  • Older Boeing 787 (No screen worked for us neither did the reading lights for entire 16hrs)
  • Landed on time in SFO, however taxing to the terminal took 45 mins
  • Skip the loo break, headed straight to immigration, checked passport, i797 , officer stamped i94 on the passport
  • Baggage and finally home

What was your Travel Experiences to US on NIE ? Share your experiences in Comments below.


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  1. Hello Sir,
    I’m applying NIE with my old passport number (sealed cancelled) that going to expiry on Nov 2021.
    However, my visa stamped on my old passport only. I have applied new passport and it will get received by next week. I should use new passport for ticket booking and all.
    Do I have to get a new NIE for the new Passport or Can they travel with approval for expired passport?
    Plz suggest!!

  2. I’d received NIE approval from Chennai consulate after 6 weeks. In the approval mail they misspelled the surname but passport number is mentioned rightly. I’d notified to consulate but haven’t received any feedback yet.

    Anyone knows how this NIE worked as email says


    Should I consider this as typo & expect the CBP data base is updated correctly or wait for Chennai consulate to reply and make the amendment.

    • NIE approval over mail is not a mandate from Airlines or POE officers . Embassy is issuing Visa(s) with NIE annotation which is tagged to your passport. I believe you are good .

  3. My Wife has raised a travel request for July 13 for travelling to Dallas.She has NIE annoited on her H1B visa page as he got it stamped on Mid June.

    Any idea if both doses of covishield are needed to be taken for flying to US under Nie?
    She got her first dose on May 31st and its been more than 28 days and asper Indian health ministry can take second dose before 84 days if international travel is scheduled for employment.

    Did any one who has travelled under Nie faced this situation? Can you help regarding the registration for second dose? Is it being checked? I am from Kolkata

  4. Currently, I’m residing in the United States on an H1-B visa and stamped recently in March. I’m fully vaccinated and have a CDC vaccination card. I’m planning to travel to India in August. In my case, while coming back to the United States, do I still need to get approval for NIE before I travel to India? What steps should I need to take?
    Please let me know.

  5. Hi,

    Currently, I’m residing in the United States on an H1-B visa and stamped recently in March. I’m fully vaccinated and have a CDC vaccination card. I’m planning to travel to India in August. In my case, while coming back to the United States, do I still need to get approval for NIE before I travel to India? What steps should I need to take?
    Please let me know.

    Thank you,

  6. I recently traveled to US with NIE email. I work as an electrical / biomedical engineering researcher on H4 EAD. I took United Flight from Hyderabad to Newark. Hyderabad airport officials asked for my NIE email. The border patrol never bothered to ask me about NIE. He told me I don’t need NIE as my husband is living in the US. No questions asked, no secondary checks.

    Customs – I told that I had Indian sweets, scanned my bags and let me go.


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