Because of the pandemic, the government does not allow certain people to enter the U.S. if they were physically present in one of the following countries 14 days before traveling to the U.S.:
- European Schengen area
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
The travel restrictions do not apply to some family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The government has also carved out a National Interest Exception (NIE) for individuals whose entry into the U.S. is in the country’s national interest. A couple examples of these exceptions include travelers who provide vital support for critical infrastructure or whose work would significantly support the U.S. economy.
The National Interest Exception allows people to immediately travel to the U.S. to begin their important work. The government has announced that travelers can use the exception for multiple entries for 12 months. So, you do not need to re-apply for a National Interest Exception every time you want to enter the United States. This is welcomed news for many travelers. It will save folks significant resources when they must travel internationally. It also means the government has more time to process new requests.
If you do not have a National Interest Exception waiver, make sure you are otherwise eligible to return to the U.S. before you travel to one of the above-listed countries.