The Department of State Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions

On June 24, 2021, the U.S. Department of State updated its guidance on “COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions.” The guidance keeps in place the Schengen and India travel bans issued by Presidential Proclamation and clarifies that the ban can be exempted for travelers whose entry would be in the national interest. The guidance clarifies that the following groups of people are automatically considered for NIE at a port of entry and do not require advance approval from an embassy or consulate:

  • immigrants of all categories (not applicable to Proclamation 10199, which only covers nonimmigrant travel)
  • fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens and their dependents (K visas);
  • Students (F and M visas);
  • New or returning students present in China, Brazil, Iran, South Africa, or India may arrive no earlier than 30 days before starting an academic program beginning August 1, 2021, or after, including optional practical training (OPT).


The guidance also includes a long list of individuals who are eligible for an NIE but must apply at an embassy or consulate before travel. This includes: travelers providing executive direction or vital support for critical infrastructure sectors or directly linked supply chains, or travelers providing vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States.


Erickson Immigration Group will continue to send updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.