Here is the latest update on the VISA and NIE status. The US government updated the extension of validity for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for Travelers from South Africa and other countries on July 6, 2021. On June 29, 2021, the Department of State extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for travelers. The extension is subject to restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199. As well as similar subsequent PPs related to the spread of COVID-19. Unless otherwise indicated, existing NIEs are valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries. Only, as long as you use them for the purpose under which they were granted.
This extension applies to travelers subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India. But, only those who currently have approved NIEs. Or, those who were granted NIEs in conjunction with a visa application.
Among the qualifications for NIEs are 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. The US also granted NIE’s to Students holding F or M visas and travelers with immigrant or fiancé visas. Thus, these persons do not need to obtain NIEs in advance from a consular section. NIE eligibility for students who have been present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, or South Africa applies to programs that begin on or after August 1, 2021.
Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. Especially if the US Embassy has not previously approved them for an NIE. Or if they have a valid visa in the appropriate class. Or, they have a valid ESTA authorization for travel under the Visa Waiver Program. Also, if these travelers seek to travel for purposes consistent with ESTA authorization. If the US Embassy approved an NIE, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate. Each approved NIE is valid for 12 months from the date of approval. You may use this approved NIE to travel to the United States multiple times. But, only for the purpose indicated in the approved NIE.
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