On July 6, 2021, the Department of State (DOS) confirmed National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) will now be issued with a 12-month validity, and for multiple entries to the U.S. if traveling for the purpose under which the NIE was initially granted. In addition, NIEs issued within the prior 12 months will be automatically extended for 12 months from the date of approval, and for multiple entries. The 12-month extension applies to NIEs issued pursuant to Presidential Proclamation (PP) 9984 (China), PP 9992 (Iran), PP 10143 (Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa), and PP 10199 (India). The 12-month extension applies to DOS issued NIEs, and it is not clear at this time if the extension will also apply to NIEs issued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
In general, the various proclamations suspend entry into the U.S. of certain immigrant and non-immigrant travelers who were physically present in any of the above regions during the 14-day period prior to their attempted entry to the U.S. The proclamations exempt certain travelers, as discussed here, and NIEs are available to travelers providing vital support or executive direction to critical infrastructure, or critical infrastructure supply chain; travelers providing vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the U.S.; travel due to extraordinary humanitarian circumstances; travel in support of national security or public health; as well as journalists and students.
As a result of the continued challenges with obtaining a visa appointment, and country-specific travel restrictions, foreign nationals currently in the U.S. should refrain from international travel, and should consult with immigration counsel prior to making any international travel plans. Foreign nationals with a valid visa (or ESTA) and previously approved NIE should consult with immigration counsel regarding the continued validity of the NIE for travel to the U.S.