National Interest Exceptions for Travelers from Europe: US Department of State Update July 16, 2020
On July 16, 2020 the U.S. Department of State released guidance outlining national interest exceptions to the Presidential Proclamations (PPs) prohibiting the admission of travelers arriving from the Schengen Area (PP 9993) and the United Kingdom and Ireland (PP 9996).
Who may qualify?
The following travelers may qualify for a national interest exception:
- Certain business travelers
- Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors
- Qualified business and student travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorizations
Notably, students traveling to the U.S. from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland holding valid F-1 and M-1 visas are not required to seek a national interest exception to travel to the U.S. In contrast, students who intend to travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa must initiate an exception request.
The Department of State also continues to consider national interest exceptions for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.
“Area” Ban v. “Visa” Ban
The aforementioned exceptions to the “area bans” are only available to travelers from the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Schengen Area. The Presidential Proclamations restricting travel to the US based on visa classification (“visa bans”) remain in effect. An individual could fit within an exemption to an area ban, but still be restricted by the nonimmigrant visa ban nonimmigrant visa ban or the immigrant visa ban immigrant visa ban.
Gibney will continue to monitor how exceptions are processed and the information required to demonstrate eligibility. Individuals seeking to enter the U.S. or apply for a visa under one of the exceptions are advised to consult with their designated Gibney representative for specific legal advice prior to any travel.