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Travel to US from India with NIE – 12 Months Rule, Annotation -Need Email?

As most of you know, due to the extreme COVID situation in India, President Biden signed a presidential proclamation banning all Travelers from India to US, if they spent 14 days before their travel in India on April 30th, 2021. As part of the travel ban, US Dept of State provided National Interest Exceptions (NIE) criteria defining who are not subject to this travel ban and process to apply the same. Read US Bans Travelers from India – NIE Exceptions, Process for more info.

One important change is the time limit to travel if you receive NIE. In the past, with Trump Travel ban on H1B, L and other visas, that expired on March 31st, 2021, the NIE rules to travel to US were different. In this article, we will review what are the current NIE rules for travel to US.

If you are looking to book a slot using Emergency Appointment in India based on NIE or general emergency, read Guide to US Visa Emergency Appointment Process – India

How does US Visa Approved under NIE look ? Sample ?

If you get US Visa Stamping done in India on or after May 4th, 2021, which is after the Biden presidential proclamation went into effect based on National Interest Exception (NIE), it would say in annotation section “NIE UNDER ALL P. P. S ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS” and look like in below screenshot. If you were eligible for NIE and get US Visa approved, then your US Visa Stamp Foil that is glued in the passport would have annotation called National Interest Exception (NIE) and the proclamation text as you see below. Below sample is shared by one of our readers, who got H1B visa stamping under NIE.

NIE Stamp on Passport - India Travel Ban
NIE Stamp on Passport – India Travel Ban
NIE Under All PPS on Novel Coronavirus Text in US Visa
Full Text on Visa Stamp : NIE Under All P.P.S on Novel Coronavirus

NIE Stamp with Risk to Labor Market Sample

To compare, how the visa annotation looked for someone who got NIE and got stamping during the previous President Trump Proclamation related to H1B Travel Ban, PP 10052 , below is the sample of the same. If you see closely, the text says “RISK TO LABOR MARKET”, in it that clearly tells. Again, the below screenshot is for comparison only, you would NOT get visa annotation like below anymore as the proclamation expired.

NIE Visa Copy USA - Sample Annotation
Sample US Visa issued under NIE with Annotation – H1B Travel Ban

NIE Validity for 1 Year with Multiple Entry for US Travel

When Biden signed the presidential proclamation that banned travelers from India, they added a clause for NIE to have 30 days validity and the person who received NIE has to travel within 30 days from the date NIE was issued. But, this changed on July 6th, 2021 as the US Dept of State gave new guidance.

As per the revised guidance from US Dept of State on July 6th, 2021, if anyone receives National Interest Exception(NIE) to travel to the US, the NIE is valid for 12 months (1 year) and is valid for multiple entries to enter America. The 12 months US Dept of State guidance is also confirmed by US Embassy in India in their FAQs. Also, we have some of our users, who got email confirmations on the same. See all of those below.

Below is the revised guidance from the US Dept of State on their official press release

NIE Valid for 12 months from the date issued Change by US Dept of State
NIE Valid for 12 months from the date issued Change by US Dept of State

Below is the update on the US Embassy India website confirming the same in the FAQs

NIE Valid for 12 months from US Embassy India website
NIE Valid for 12 months from US Embassy India website

Below is email from New Delhi for a person, who got NIE approved. It clearly says that NIE is valid for 12 months with multiple entries.

NIE Issued for 12 months Email from New Delhi
NIE Issued for 12 months Email from New Delhi

Email response from US Embassy in Delhi in India NIE valid for 12 months and says it applies to existing ones as well.

National Interest Exception now valid for 12 months - Email from US Embassy Delhi
National Interest Exception now valid for 12 months – Email from US Embassy Delhi

The current guidance for NIE to travel from India given by US Consulates in India is the same as given by other US consulates across the globe. Some of the consulate websites are still updating the same. See below

We have many users who got NIE approval in India before travel and were able to travel to US. Read article : 15 NIE Approval Experiences India – Letter, Travel

US Visa Stamp with NIE Annotation – Do I need NIE Email ?

Many of you, who have attended US Visa Stamping during the travel ban, would have got US Visa foil glued in your passport that has annotation saying “NIE UNDER ALL P. P. S ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS” that looked like in above screenshot in beginning section. The question is, do you need to again send an email to Consulate or Embassy and get the NIE Email confirmation.

We have reached out to US Embassy in Delhi and US Consulate in Chennai on the same and below is the response.

  • If your visa stamp has the annotation “”NIE UNDER ALL P. P. S ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS”” and if you travel within 30 days 12 months from the date when your visa was issued, you do not need to email anyone and get separate NIE approval. Your visa stamp annotation will serve that you are exempt to travel under NIE. See below email screenshots.
  • If you travel after 30 days 12 months, then you need to reach out to the consulate or embassy over email and share all your details and get NIE approval before you travel. See below email screenshots.

The below emails say you need to travel within 30 days, but the guidance changed from July 6th, 2021 to 12 months, instead of 30 days. So, do not be confused.

NIE Visa annotation - no need of NIE Email confirmation from US Embassy Delhi
NIE Visa annotation – no need of NIE Email confirmation from US Embassy Delhi
NIE Visa annotation - no need of NIE Email confirmation from Chennai Consulate
NIE Visa annotation – no need of NIE Email confirmation from Chennai Consulate

NIE Travel 12 months Rule – EU Region Guidance

US Consulate in Germany, Norway, Sweden is yet to update its website. But, it applies to all the EU region as well. We will update this page as we have more info.

  • US Consulate Germany:  They have listed the 30 days travel rule, under the FAQs section and have it indicated for many of the visa types. Below is one of such screenshots that talks about the 30 days rule.  Here is the exact text “Please be advised, if a national interest exception is granted for travel on a new or existing visa or for travel under ESTA, it is good for only one entry and for travel within 30 days after it is approved.” . You can  Check US Consulate Germany COVID-19 FAQs
NIE Rule Germany US Embassy 30 days Rule
NIE Rule Germany US Embassy 30 days Rule
  • US Embassy Norway:  On US Embassy Norway, they have clearly put in big header on the page and talk about the limitations of National Interest Exception (NIE) Travel. They say that, even if you get full visa validity, if it was issued under NIE, then you need to travel within 30 days. See below screenshot. You can check US Embassy Norway – Expansion of NIE
National Interest Exception US Visa - Norway Consulate
National Interest Exception US Visa – Norway Consulate
  • US Embassy Sweden: You can find the exact same message on US Embassy Sweden website that tells that you need to enter US within 30 days from the day visa is issued as well. See below screenshot and check US Embassy Sweden NIE info
Sweden 30 days travel Rule
US Consulate Sweden 30 days travel Rule

Common FAQs

I got NIE approval before July 6th, 2021 with 30 days. Is that now changed to 12 months ?

Yes. US State Dept. confirmed that the NIE validity is applied to existing NIE approvals as well. Also, the US embassy updated the same in their email sent to users.

I have annotation in US Visa “NIE UNDER ALL P. P. S ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS“, do I still need to email ?

No, you do not have to email if you have the annotation that says “NIE UNDER ALL P. P. S ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS“. The annotation is an indication that you got NIE approved and it is valid for 12 months from the date it was issued.

Is the NIE Approval valid for Single Entry or Multiple entries to travel to US ?

It is valid for Multiple entries as per the new guidance from July 6th, 2021. In the past, it was only single entry.

What has been your experience with travel with NIE from India ? ? Did you get the NIE for12 months ? Share your experiences in comments.

   

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101 Comments

  1. I have got my NIE approval on AUg 30th 2021. But my visa is going to be expired on Sep 5th 2021. I hold H-4 visa. Whats the process, could someone tell me.

    Reply
  2. I recently got my visa stamped in May while I was in India. Later I travel back to US (with 14days in Mexico). Since then, I have switched jobs and I need to travel India once again. My stamped visa is still valid and I have my new I-797 and new job starts in another 10 days.

    Would I be able to travel India if I get an NIE and travel back without visa stamping?

    Reply
  3. I have got my visa stamped under H1B and got the NIE stamped (“NIE under all P.P.s on Novel Coronavirus”) on July 2021. My wife and son already had their visa stamped for H4 in December 2020. But their visa have an annotation of just “#NIE” on both of their H4 visas.

    The confusion came up because my H1 visa stamped in July 2021 have an annotation of ” NIE under all P.P.s on Novel Coronavirus” and my dependents H4 visas stamped in Dec 2020 (I was in USA at the time) have annotation of “#NIE”. The difference in annotation is what bothered me.

    Does this mean that my wife and son are also having valid NIE and can travel now?

    Reply
    • Harikrishnan,
      Well, usually it should have the full annotation. It does not hurt to write to the consulate and have an email from them to be safe.

      Reply
  4. Hi ,

    I got my L1B Blanket approved and also the consular officer mentioned that NIE is applied on my VISA on 16th of July . I received my VISA but there was no NIE annotation on the same , but I did receive a letter stating that NIE has been applied on my VISA . Is that enough to travel to USA . Planning to travel around 29th of August

    Reply
    • Hello, I have similar situation with approved H1B visa and NIE sent in email. However, there is no annotation on the H1B Visa. Did you email the consulate and clarify? Appreciate your response!

      Reply
      • Hi Guys, I have the same situation on the l1 blanket ? what is the way to go ? did you needed any extra documents to showcase that to the airline?

        Reply
  5. Hello,

    I’m a F1 continuing student and I have a valid I 20 with program dates Jan 2020 till May 2022 and a recent travwl signature on it. I’m planning to travel to USA on Aug 14 and my final semester starts on Aug 21st.
    Do I need a NIE in this situation?

    Thank you.

    Reply
  6. I have annotation – “EXCEPTED FROM OR NOT SUBJECT TO PP10052” which was stamped in October 2020.
    Does this mean I have NIE ?

    Reply
    • I have the similar annotation… But I think you cannot travel as the PP 10052 which is blanket ban on H1 which is expired and no longer valid…. Current proclamation is country specific and different PP.. this is my understanding…

      Reply
    • No you do not that proclamation is for labor market restrictions and you need one for corona virus new travel restrictions that was imposed on April 30,2021.

      Reply
    • No, you do not have one as they are restricted based on labor market for visa issuance and now you are restricted based on corona virus travel.

      Reply
  7. Can an H4 visa with a stamp “NIE under p.p. on risk to labor market” travel to US without NIE approval? And whether the new 12 months validity applies to this NIE also?

    Reply
  8. Hi Kumar / everyone – I just got my renewal i797 and I’m dropbox eligible (have been for my last 2 times renewal too and it’s been an easy process). I’m currently in the US.

    If I travel to India and to get my stamp, do I need an NIE? It’s been over 2 years since i’ve seen my family and I’m trying to figure out if it’s even worth going at this point. Esp, if I need an NIE for even getting the dropbox appointment

    Reply
    • Same here!
      My stamped visa is expiring in August 2021 and I am in USA. Need to go to India for Visa stamping which is in first week of Sep 2021. I am eligible for drop box.

      Question 1: Do I need to apply for NIE separately?

      Question 2: If yes then can this be applied with visa drop box application or has to be applied after I receive my visa stamped?

      Question 3: I work with a major Indian IT service company. Do I need to obtain NIE letter from my employer or my US customer?

      Reply
      • Hi Tannuj,
        Did you find out the answer to whether carry Employer or Client letter as NIE?
        And did you attend the visa stamping?

        Reply
  9. Hi,
    I am Dileep. I recently got my first H1B visa stamping (applied from INDIA) on 22th June with an annotation saying ” EXCEPTION UNDER PP ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS”. Does it mean that I can travel to USA during this travel ban without applying for NIE, because I’m physically present for more than 14 days in India.
    Can please someone help with me with this.

    Reply
  10. hi,
    This is rekha.My husband is an H1B visa holder .I am on H4,I came to india on medical emergency(my father expired).Now i have to go to US as my husband is unable to manage both work and kids.None of our kids are US citizens.My visa expired and I have to go for stamping.Will my case come under NIE

    pls advice

    Reply
  11. Someone please confirm this understanding for H1-B visa holders:
    Case 1: Person has a stamped visa and is travelling to India : He should get a NIE approved letter from the consulate and then travel to India (recommended) or travel to India and get an approved NIE letter from consulate. Using that approval letter he can enter US only if the travel back date is within 30days from the date of LETTER APPROVAL.

    Case 2: Person does not have a stamped visa travelling to India: He should get an EMPLOYER LETTER and submit it with other docs for Visa stamping when in India. Once he gets the Visa stamped with “NIE exemption “as stated in the article, he has to travel within 30days from the DATE OF ISSUANCE mentioned in Visa stamp. He need not send any email to consulate.

    Reply
  12. Hi Kumar,

    I got my h1b visa appointment on july 27th, and as of now my appointment isn’t canceled by the embassy. however, I work for a health care company which works on covid vaccines and I am currently in usa and planning to travel to India on July 24th being said that can I apply for nie from usa and schedule another appointment or should I be able to use the existing July 27th appointment with a nie letter.

    Thanks for your answer

    Reply
  13. Hi All,

    My son is 3 years old( US Citizen), My self and my wife here in the US. Can my Mother-in-law and father-in-law travel directly to the US along with my kid? Do they need any NIE or other documentation? Plan of travel is July 16th 2021.
    Please post your reply.

    Reply
  14. While sending the NIE approval, there was typo and I sent an email them and asking them to ignore the email and sent a new request.. please suggest me whether this will not give any negative results..also how long this process will take..

    Reply
  15. Does visa approved under NIE stays valid if we do not travel after 30 days. Will i be able travel once ban is lifted on same visa and without any new approval?

    Reply
  16. Hi ,
    I am on J1 visa of category P4 in US . I need to go to India to take my daughter who has been approved J2 visa . As she is minor so she cannot travel alone . Am I eligible for NIE ? Can I apply for NIE from US ? Or is it necessary that I need to be in India to apply for it ?

    Reply
  17. Hi,

    I am working in US on H1-B visa, my wife and son are in India now, but they have valid US visa . Do they qualify for NIE?

    Thanks

    Reply
  18. Hello,

    My wife’s H-4 got approved with a NIE. But it states in her visa she cannot travel before a certain date in Aug 2021. So my question is does the travel within 30 day rule for NIE start from the visa issue date or from the date she is allowed to travel and enter the country? In this particular case.

    Anybody in the same boat? please advise.

    Reply
    • Hi Keerthi;

      Did you gather any additional information with regards to the NIE. I too have my H-4 visa approved with a NIE annotation. But there is no date and I too am confused about the same.

      Thanks;
      Anu

      Reply
      • Confused with same situation when visa was issued with NIE annotation. And do not have any clue which date was considered as start day of counting those 30 days rule. Is it day of visa issuing? Or NIE could be added to system with another start day, for an example day which was specified as approximate date of traveling in ds-160. Very worry to not enter before allowed time frame.

        Reply
      • Hi Keerthi, was your wife a new H4 filer? If yes, then can u guide me the process for getting the NIE? We are having a hard time to find a slot for interview. When can I apply for the NIE?

        Reply
  19. Hi Kumar,

    I have got my visa stamped via an emergency appointment last month. My kid is US born.
    Our stamped visa doesnt have the word NIE per se. It appears like this,
    “EXCEPTION UNDER PP ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS”.

    Does this mean that the travel to US within 30 days rule applies to us or not?

    Your inputs will be very appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Best,
    Girish

    Reply
  20. My wife got NIE approved from Delhi embassy. Can some one please guide us the next steps on what documents we need to carry to US port?

    Reply
  21. I have a F1 student visa and had to travel to India in May 2021, do I need to apply for an NIE as I wish to return to the US by June end as my summer courses start in the first week of July? How many days does it usually take for the Mumbai consulate to reply back to an NIE request?

    Reply
  22. Hi
    My wife is on H4 visa, went to India due to emergency and now stuck in India due to travel restrictions.
    She has valid H4 visa stamp in her passport expiring sep21.
    I am currently on valid H1B in the USA working in infrastructure support in financial industry.
    Can she apply for NIE based on family separation ?
    If NIE get rejected, does her H4 visa still remains valid?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hey

      Was your wife able to get NIE under family separation? Need some help regarding details to be sent in the e-mail?

      Thanks

      Reply
  23. Hello,

    I work for the state department as a contractor in the Information Technology division. Am I eligible to apply for NIE under Information Technology Sector? Thanks.

    Reply
  24. Hi,

    My company is willing to provide me NIE and planning to request for approval .

    Question:
    – I don’t have my visa stamping done as I don’t come under Dropbox category
    – my initial visa slots in June first week got cancelled

    If I request for NIE approval, what will be the procedure?

    Can someone please explain me as I don’t see any above comments mentioning this situation?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
  25. Hi, I have family emergency need to travel from USA to India. Prior to travel I can apply for NIE to get approval? Please suggest. Thanks.

    Reply
  26. Hi,
    None of them in my family has US citizen,
    Can I apply h4 extension for my family under NIE? Friends, please advise how will i get consular appointment anywhere in india?
    Currently i am staying in US and waiting for EB2 biometrics.
    Thank you,
    prabhakar

    Reply
    • prabhakar,
      There was one user, who got the Approval for situation like yours. You can try to write to consulate and see, if it works.

      Reply
  27. Good afternoon,

    I know currently a H1B visa issue can be denied at the consulate if one does not meet NIE requirements, because of the existing PP 10052 (which suspends the issue of some visas) and PP 10143 (which restricts the entry in the US of individuals who have been in the Schengen area and other countries during the previous 14 days).

    In the scenario that PP 10052 is not extended and ends on March 31, after that will it be possible to get a visa stamp even if you don’t meet any NIE requirements for PP 10143??

    According to what I have read, I think so because I believe PP 10143 does not suspend the issue of visas. If the only proclamation in place is PP 10143, I think that one can get a visa stamp without processing any NIE; and in order to get back in the US he/she would have to stay outside the restricted countries for 14 days before entering the US.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  28. Has anyone travelled on H1B visa with annotation “NIE UNDER P.P. ON RISK TO LABOR MARKET”. If yes, then can you please share your experience at port of entry. What questions were asked or any other issues/difficulty faced due above annotation.

    Reply
    • DINSIN,
      Many have traveled and were able to arrive in US safely. Some of them shared that there was secondary inspection and few questions were asked related to work, how they qualify for exception. So, be prepared to answer and have all documentation handy.

      Reply
  29. Hi, My wife got H4 visa stamped thru dropbox channel from Bangalore just 2 days ago. She too had the same annotation. As per the advice from redbus2us I reached out to Chennai consulate . Here is what they had to say.

    Hope this helps.

    Hello, thank you for your inquiry.

    Some applicants who are subject to one of the recent Presidential Proclamations, but have been granted an exception, are required to travel to the United States within 30 days of visa issuance. Please follow the subsequent guidance to determine whether or not this applies to you:

    If your visa is annotated “NIE under P.P. on Novel Coronavirus,” you must enter the U.S. within 30 days of visa issuance. If your travel will take place 30 days or more after the issuance of the visa, please respond to this message with a photo of your visa along with the planned date of travel. An interview will generally not be required, but may be requested if necessary.

    If your visa is annotated “NIE under P.P. on Risk to Labour Market,” or there is no annotation in your visa, this regulation does not apply to you, and you may travel at a time that is convenient.

    Please note that upon entering the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveller may stay.

    Regards,

    Consular Information Unit
    U.S. Consulate General
    220, Anna Salai
    Chennai 600 006
    India

    Reply
    • Hi Sunil,

      While you have applied for stamping in dropbox did you prepared NIE template for providing justification for the need for travel? I am processing and trying to apply for the same and require to prepare the reasons so need help in preparing the justification.

      Reply
  30. Hi Kumar,

    As from previous thread, I just got my visa for H1B with issuance date of Sept 23, 2020 but I don’t have this exemption “NIE” annotations. What should I do? Am I allowed to travel back to US? Please help!

    Or anyone who were in a same boat and able to get entry?

    Reply
  31. I, got my visa stamping via drop box completed in Pune, new VFS office in Wanowrie. Process is very easy, very few people. There is no travel within 30 days mentioned on the passport or neither did the representative say so. I would like to request please dont be so scared or concerned. We all are doing everything legally and officially. I also got the NIE under PP on risk to labor market – means National Interest Exception under Presidential Proclamation on risk to labor market. Only means we are an exception and are allowed to get visa and travel as well.
    Though I had clicked photo, my hair were untied so they requested me to get another photograph 2 for 250 INR to meet their criteria.

    Reply
  32. Hello,
    I asked this question to Kolkata consulate & here’s their response:

    “Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you for contacting the U.S. Consulate,Kolkata.

    In response to your query, currently there is no restriction that the applicant must travel to the U.S. within 30 days of visa approval.

    Please check out the COVID-19 alerts information on travel.state.gov before you plan your travel.”

    Reply
  33. Hi Kumar, I had the same question since many weeks as my family is travelling after 30 days of their visa approval using EA under NIE. Today I emailed Chennai consulate with this question and received the response from them as below.

    “Hello, thank you for reaching out.
    An exception to Presidential Proclamation 10052 remains valid for use even if after 30 days from the time of issuance.
    Regards,
    Consular Information Unit
    U.S. Consulate General, Chennai”

    What I understood from their email is that we can travel even after 30 days ?, can you please confirm ?

    Regards,
    Suresh V

    Reply
  34. The travel state gov site says,
    “`Note, a national interest exception is not required if the principal applicant is not subject to P.P. 10052 (e.g. if the principal was in the United States on the effective date, June 24, or has a valid visa that the principal will use to seek entry to the United States).“`

    So, if the principal H1 applicant was in US on june 24th, then the H4 visa applicant shouldn’t get NIE annotated, is the understanding right, could anyone confirm?

    Reply
    • My understanding is same too. But as far as I checked H4 issued through emergency appt got tagged with NIE. Its crazy.

      Reply
      • Hi Kumar, I had the same question since many weeks as my family is travelling after 30 days of their visa approval using EA under NIE. Today I emailed Chennai consulate with this question and received the response from them as below.

        “Hello, thank you for reaching out.
        An exception to Presidential Proclamation 10052 remains valid for use even if after 30 days from the time of issuance.
        Regards,
        Consular Information Unit
        U.S. Consulate General, Chennai”

        What I understood from their email is that we can travel even after 30 days ?, can you please confirm ?

        Regards,
        Suresh V

        Reply

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