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 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 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
Below is the update on the US Embassy India website confirming the same in the FAQs
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.
Email response from US Embassy in Delhi in India NIE valid for 12 months and says it applies to existing ones as well.
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 days12 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 days12 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 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
- 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
- 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 checkUS Embassy Sweden NIE info
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.
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.
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.