March 3, 2021

New Department of State Guidance for Visa Eligibility for individuals in U.K. and Europe

On March 2, 2021, the Secretary of State rescinded the national interest determination guidance regarding which travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland are eligible for exceptions to the regional entry bans. The rescinded guidance made exceptions for “certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty-traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents.”

The new national interest exception (NIE) determination guidance includes academics, students, journalists, and “certain travelers seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure.”

In the announcement, the Department of State (DOS) confirmed that previously issued visas or national interest exceptions will not be revoked. DOS additionally confirmed that it will continue to grant national interest exceptions for qualified travelers to the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.