The US Department of State has confirmed the extension of the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, and the Schengen Area. This extension will permit existing NIEs to be valid for 12 months from the date of approval, unless indicated otherwise. Moreover, NIEs will now be valid for multiple entries as long as they continue to be used for the originally intended purpose.
Why is this groundbreaking news? NIEs previously were valid only for 30 days and for a single entry into the United States. This means that frequent travelers now now longer are required to request a new NIE before every US trip. The NIE validity extension is considered by some to be a sign of potential lifting of travel restrictions for some international travelers to the US in the near future.
The NIE extension is intended for travelers from the aforementioned regions who are subject to restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and similar subsequent proclamations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.