NRI Helpdesk: Are you eligible for the National Interest Exception? – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/migrate/nri-helpdesk-are-you-eligible-for-the-national-interest-exception/articleshow/82851857.cms?utm_source=ETTopNews&utm_medium=HPTN&utm_campaign=AL1&utm_content=23Synopsis

With immigration rules constantly changing with the pandemic situation, it is difficult to keep up to date with it all. For our NRI readers, we have started an immigration helpdesk. Write to us at nri.economictimes@gmail.com and our team of experts will address the most pressing issues.

With immigration rules constantly changing with the pandemic situation, it is difficult to keep up to date with it all.

For our NRI readers, we have started an immigration helpdesk. Write to us at nri.economictimes@gmail.com and our team of experts will address the most pressing issues.

*Please note that questions have been edited and/or clubbed so that we can address similar queries at once and that the answers are clear and relevant to our audience.

Is a visa applicant for an F-2 visa or an individual who already has an F-2 visa eligible for a National Interest Exception?
The simple answer is no. However, you should consider other ways of working around the travel ban, for example, you could travel to a third country where you can spend 14 days before seeking to enter the U.S.

Information Technology is one of the 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors listed by the U.S. Department of State and individuals working in any of these sectors may qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE). If I am going to work in the IT department of an insurance company do I qualify?
All NIE requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. You and your employer should build your case in detail and provide to the relevant consular office your request for an NIE. Be sure to include the maximum possible information, documents and justification to qualify you for an NIE.

My friend, a green card holder, wants to take his aging mother, recently widowed to the U.S. Is she eligible for an NIE?
The Department of State grants NIEs for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for activities specified in their announcements and for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.

All NIE requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and in this case, you could seek an NIE on the humanitarian ground. You should build your case in detail and provide to the relevant consular office your request for an NIE. Be sure to include the maximum possible information, documents, and justification to qualify you for an NIE.

I am a college graduate with OPT. I plan to travel from China to the U.S in the beginning of August for my job. Am I eligible for an NIE?
If you have been in China within 14 days of your estimated arrival in the U.S. you will be subject to the travel ban from China that has been in effect since early 2020. In April 2021, the

Department of State made a national interest determination regarding categories of travelers to be excepted from this travel ban. In addition to other exceptions, already in place, the DOS determination individuals who wish to travel to the U.S. to provide vital support for critical infrastructure; journalists; and students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs, among others, may qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE).

Students and academics subject to the geographic travel bans due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, India or South Africa may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later. If you have a valid F-1 visa enabling you to work in the U.S. in OPT (with valid employment authorization) and your start date is August 1, 2021 or later you do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to travel. There are other restrictions, including on when you can arrive, and these have not been addressed here.

I have a valid F1 visa and OPT and am employed in USA. I travelled to India to Work from Home. Now I need to travel back to USA. Can I travel back with my current visa status or do I need NIE.
As per the DOS announcement of April 2021 individuals who wish to travel to the U.S. to provide vital support for critical infrastructure; journalists; and students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs, among others, may qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE).

As per the information published by the DOS, students and academics subject to the geographic travel bans may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program or OPT begins on August 1, 2021 or later. In view of this, you would have to apply for an NIE at the U.S. consulate in your jurisdiction. Services at the U.S. consulates and embassy in India are limited and there are reports that responses are significantly delayed.

I am in the U.S. on an F-1 visa doing my OPT. Can my wife, who has an F-2 visa, travel to join me in the U.S. despite the travel ban?
Students and academics subject to the travel ban may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later. Derivative family members accompanying a noncitizen who has been granted or would be reasonably expected to receive an NIE and who is engaging in certain types of long-term employment, studies, or research lasting four weeks or more are also excepted. In view of this and since you are already in the U.S. it is best for your wife to reach out to the U.S. consulate in her jurisdiction and check whether she can be cleared to travel.

Can a parent of a US citizen child travel to the U.S. even if the parent is not a U.S. citizen and has been in India prior to arrival in the U.S.?
Yes, as a non-U.S. citizen parent of a U.S. citizen minor child is an excepted category from the ban on travel from India.

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Poorvi Chothani, Managing partner, LawQuestThe author’s views do not necessarily represent the views of ET Online nor do they constitute legal advice or representation. Practice tips provided in the written materials are based on the author’s experiences and the current state of the law and regulations. Please be sure to conduct legal research and analysis, or engage independent counsel for your unique situation as the law and requirements change quickly and the author’s experiences may differ from your own.

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