IMPORTANT NIE UPDATE – Covid-19 Travel Ban-related NIEs Auto-extended for 12 Months from Approval
On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that travel ban-related National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) issued in the last 12 months will be automatically extended for 12 months from the date of approval, and for multiple entries. The extension is only valid so long as the purpose for travel remains the same as the purpose under which the NIE was granted. This NIE extension applies to travelers located in the following locations: China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India.
If You Have An Existing NIE
For those with existing NIEs, this extension applies retroactively from the date that your NIE was granted. Based on communications with various U.S. consular posts, it appears that no additional steps are needed to effectuate this extension, though we encourage each NIE recipient to confirm the extension process with the issuing consular post. The U.S. consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, has confirmed that its NIE recipients should re-print the NIE approval email from the U.S. consular post or reference the “NIE” annotation on the visa if issued with such an annotation. Please note, the 12-month and multiple entry extension is only valid so long as the purpose of your travel remains the same as the purpose for which the NIE was granted.
If You Do Not Have An NIE Yet
For those who have not yet applied for or received initial NIE approval, the above extension would apply automatically from the date of your approval. This extension does not affect the NIE application or approval process. NIE applicants still cannot be located in the U.S. when applying, meaning those currently in the U.S. will still need to depart the U.S. before applying, as has been the case since the NIE program began. The NIE extension also does not affect the qualifications that the applicant must possess to receive NIE approval: vital support or executive direction to companies involved with U.S. critical infrastructure, vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the U.S., extraordinary humanitarian circumstances, medical or national security support, etc.
If you have any questions regarding the new NIE guidance, please contact our firm at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those interested in updates on this new guidance, please subscribe to our newsletter. We will send updates through the newsletter as more information becomes available.