USDOS Updates National Interest Exemption for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland
On February 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued an update on the National Interest Exemption for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.
The guidance for F-1 visa holders is confirmed as follows:
“Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to travel. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel.“
J-1 visa holders, who hold a valid J-1 entry visa, are still required to contact the local U.S. Embassy/Consulate to request a National Interest Exemption approval for each time traveling to the U.S. from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.
“Business travelers, investors, academics, J-1 students, journalists, and treaty traders who have a valid visa in the appropriate class, an ESTA authorization that was issued prior to the PP’s effective date, or who are seeking to apply for a visa, and believe they may qualify for a national interest exception should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. If a national interest exception is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate.”
Please read the full announcement here.
We advise that all F-1 and J-1 student travelers be sure to print out a copy of this announcement on the U.S. Department of State website to carry when traveling to the U.S.
If you have any questions concerning travel, please view the information available on the webpages of the MIT International Scholars Office or MIT International Students Office, and contact you appropriate ISchO or ISO Advisor.