On June 29, 2021, the U.S. State Department announced that National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) to Presidential Proclamations 9984 (China), 9992 (Iran), 10143 (Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, & Ireland), and 10199 (India) issued by the State Department will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries regardless of the annotation on previously issued visas for NIEs. This extension applies to all NIEs issued by the Department of State, including for those traveling without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.

The validity period for all affected NIEs will be extended for 12 months from the date of approval unless travelers have special circumstances. It also applies to NIEs issued before June 29, 2021. This announcement also applies to similar subsequent Presidential Proclamations that may be issued in the future in connection to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Previously, the NIEs were only valid for 30 days and for a single entry. Further, the State Department confirmed that the 12 month and multiple entry extension applies retroactively to all existing National Interest Exceptions approved in the last 12 months. This means that individuals who have already obtained an NIE within the last 12 months should no longer need to reapply for a new NIE if the purpose of travel is the same as the purpose for which the existing NIE was granted. The 12 month period starts from the date of the NIE approval.

National Interest Exceptions to the proclamations fall into the following categories:
1. Students: Students who have been present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, or South Africa. It also applies to programs that begin on or after August 1, 2021.
2. Academics/Researchers
3. Public Health Professionals
4. Government Officials
5. Crew Members
6. Emergency medical treatment
7. Humanitarian exceptions
8. Others whose travel is in the U.S. national interest for vital support to critical infrastructure, significant economic activity, or national security reasons.

We, at Emandi Law Firm, are closely monitoring developments in this regard and will keep you posted with further updates.

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