On Tuesday July 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued guidance extending the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) given to travelers through U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. According to the guidance, existing NIEs are now valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, assuming they are used for the purpose under which they were initially granted. Prior to this recent guidance, travelers who obtained NIEs only had a window of 30-days to enter and subsequent travel required a separate NIE application.

Important to note: it is unclear at this time if NIEs granted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are being offered the same extension. At this point, we can only verify that this 12-month extension is in effect for NIEs granted by U.S. embassies or consulates. That said, CBP will honor those 12 month extensions granted by the embassies and consulates.

To apply for an NIE, review the specific instructions of the applicable consulate. As noted in the July 6th, 2021 guidance, 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.”

We encourage travelers to continue to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 guidance regarding necessary COVID-19 testing and protocols pertaining to international travel as the pandemic continues to fluctuate. Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the above, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.


  • Andrew Clancy Rodgers

    Andrew Rodgers is a Senior Associate Attorney in the Firm’s Providence office. Andrew represents clients on a variety of matters, including Form I-9 / E-Verify Compliance, Cross-Border, nonimmigrant visa applications, employment-based visa petitions, and applications for permanent residency and citizenship.

  • Jonathan A. Grode

    Jonathan Grode serves as the U.S. Practice Director and Managing Partner for the Firm.

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