Some travellers from Ireland are exempted from travel restrictions to the United States, the State Department has announced. Students, journalists and academics covered by exchange visitor programmes can qualify for a ‘National Interest Exemption’ (NIE) under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, and 10143 related to the spread of COVID-19.
The State Department announced details of the exemptions, which also apply to certain travellers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.
“Students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel,” according to the State Department press release.
They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.
Among others, the Department advised travellers who belong to these categories and hold a valid visa or ESTA authorization for travelling under the Visa Waiver Program and want to travel for purposes allowed under ESTA authorisation to contact the US embassy before heading to the US.
In addition, the State Department is continuing to provide NIEs for eligible travellers wanting to go to the United States for some particular reasons, including humanitarian travel, public health response, or for national security purposes.