State Department Grants Extended Validity for National Interest Exceptions (NIE) - (07/15/21)
Late last month, the U.S. Department of State announced an extended validity period for National Interest Exceptions (NIE) issued to travelers seeking to enter the U.S. from countries subject to COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Each approved NIE is valid for 12 months from the date of approval and may be used to travel to the United States multiple times for the purpose indicated in the approved NIE.
The extended validity appears to be retroactive, but several questions remain. Because extended NIEs are valid “as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted” it is unclear which conditions are used to determine similarity of purpose, for example, whether similar purpose is defined by the nature of the work (solo performance before an audience) or whether the NIE only applies when working for the specific employer associated with the initial NIE. It is also unclear which agency determines the applicability of this extended validity – the U.S. Department of State or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), what kind of documentation may be required, and whether CBP-issued NIEs will be treated differently than those issued by consulates.
Artists from Abroad will update this news page as more information becomes available.