In a move that will allow greater flexibility for traveling to the United States, the State Department recently announced National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) issued to foreign nationals in the last 12 months who are covered by COVID-related Presidential Proclamations (PPs) will now be valid for 12 months, rather than the previous 30-days. In addition, these NIEs will allow for the ability to use them for multiple entries during the new validity period. Previously, they had usually been valid for only a single entry.

These proclamations have been issued by both President Trump and President Biden to address the spread of the virus. Those still in force are:

PP Number  Date Issued   Affecting
9984    January 31, 2020  Travelers from China
9992 February 29, 2020    Travelers from Iran
9993*      March 11, 2020 Travelers from Schengen Area
9996*         March 14, 2020  Travelers from UK and Ireland
10041*   May 24, 2020  Travelers from Brazil
10199      April 30, 2021 Travelers from India

*9993, 9996 and 10041 continued by President Biden on January 25, 2021, through PP 10143 and adding those from South Africa

NIEs issued under these proclamations had previously been valid for only for 30 days, requiring those foreign nationals to often make very rushed travel plans in order to enter the United States during that validity period.

The new validity period and the ability for multiple entries applies to those who have already been granted an NIE in the last 12 months and will allow much more flexibility in coming to the U.S. However, the reason for the travel to the United States must be the same as was approved by the U.S. Consulate; the purpose of travel cannot change from that for which it was approved.