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On July 16, 2020, the Department of State provided updated information on the availability of exceptions to the June 22 Presidential Proclamation 10052, which extends Proclamation 10014 through Dec. 31, 2020,.

Some travelers and visa applicants who are affected by the Proclamation may qualify for an exception if the purpose of their travel to the United States is for humanitarian reasons, public health response, or national security. Other exceptions include: (1) applicants who are subject to aging out of their current immigrant visa classification; (2) certain H and J visa applicants who are traveling to the United Sates to work in support of a critical U.S. foreign policy; and (3) dependents of applicants who are excepted from, or not subject to, the Proclamations.

Applicants for H, L, and J visas may request a National Interest Exception waiver to the various Presidential Proclamations (P.P. 9993, P.P. 9996, and P.P. 10052) if they meet the following criteria:

For H-1B visas:

  • The applicant is a public health or healthcare professional or researcher, traveling for the purpose of alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to conduct ongoing medical research in an area with a substantial public health benefit.
  • Travel is supported by a request from a U.S. government agency to meet critical U.S. foreign policy objectives or to satisfy treaty or contractual obligations.

For H2B visas:

  • Travel is supported by a request from a U.S. government agency to meet critical U.S. foreign policy objectives or to satisfy treaty or contractual obligations.

For J1 visas:

  • Purpose of travel is to care for a minor U.S. citizen, LPR, or nonimmigrant in lawful status by an au pair possessing special skills required for a child with particular needs. Also excepted is travel by an au pair that prevents a U.S. citizen, LPR or other nonimmigrant in lawful status from becoming a public health charge.
  • Purpose of travel is to provide childcare services for a child whose parents are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or medical research at a United Stated facility.
  • The applicant is part of an exchange program conducted pursuant to an MOU, Statement of Intent, or other valid agreement between a foreign government and the United States government (federal, state, or local) if the agreement was in effect prior to the effective date of the Proclamation.
  • The applicant is an intern or trainee on a U.S. government agency-sponsored program (those with program number beginning with “G-3” on Form DS-2019).
  • The applicant is a specialized teacher in an Accredited Educational Institution with a program number beginning with “G-5” on Form DS-2019.
  • The applicant is an exchange visitor participating in an exchange program that fulfills critical and time sensitive foreign policy objectives.

For L1 visas:

  • The applicant is a public health or healthcare professional or researcher, traveling for the purpose of alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to conduct ongoing medical research in an area with a substantial public health benefit.

For H4, L2, and J2 visas:

  • The Department of State will continue to issue visas to otherwise qualified H, L, and J derivative applicants who will accompany or follow to join a principal applicant who is excepted from, or not subject to, the Proclamations. An exception is also available when the principal applicant is currently in the United States in valid status.

Travelers who believe they qualify for a national interest exception may request a visa appointment and a decision will be made at the time of the interview. Applicants should provide a description of the specific circumstances of their travel and appropriate documentation to demonstrate that they qualify for the exception.