On July 6, 2021, the Department of State issued guidance extending the validity of certain National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) granted to travelers through U.S. embassies and consulates abroad for those subject to restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199. The guidance affects certain travelers coming into the United States from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India.

Previously, each time a traveler obtained an NIE, he or she would have 30 days to enter the United States, and that NIE was only valid for one entry. Any subsequent travel would require a new application for an NIE. Under this new guidance, any NIE granted would be valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, and for multiple entries.

It is still unclear whether NIEs granted by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) are afforded the same 12-month extension, as many ports of entry have confirmed that the extension does not apply unless the NIE was granted by a U.S. embassy or consulate.

As a reminder, to apply for an NIE, review the instructions of each specific consulate. Those who qualify for an NIE include “those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction to critical infrastructure; those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States; journalists; travel due to extraordinary humanitarian circumstances; or travel in support of national security or public health.”