The U.S. State Department has provided new guidance on the availability of National Interest Exemptions (NIEs) to the U.S.’s regional travel bans, applying certain NIE determinations to all regional travel restrictions currently in effect.
Background: The regional travel bans bar entry to most foreign nationals who have been physically present in Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area in the 14 days before entry. These bans will remain in place until President Joe Biden lifts or modifies them. The State Department has updated its guidance on NIEs multiple times, most recently on April 8. Anyone traveling to the U.S. by air must provide documentation of a negative viral COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel or evidence of recovery from a recent COVID-19 infection.
BAL Analysis: While the announcement clarifies who will be eligible for NIEs, a number of travel restrictions remain in place. Consulates continue to operate at reduced capacity, and applicants should expect significant delays in obtaining visa appointments as operations gradually resume. Foreign nationals should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel.
BAL’s Government Strategies team is hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 29 on the latest developments in U.S. immigration, including the impact of COVID-related travel restrictions. More information on the webinar is available here.
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