A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Monday, July 20, 2020

National Interest Exceptions for Qualified Schengen, U.K., Ireland Travelers

People from the Schengen Area, U.K., and Ireland may be able to travel to the United States as National Interest exceptions to Presidential Proclamations (PP) 9993 and 9996, which suspended entry due to COVID-19.

The Schengen Area refers to the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The United Kingdom is composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Investors, treaty traders, F-1 and M-1 students, and qualified business travelers applying for or who have valid visas or visa waiver authorization can enter as National Interest exceptions. F-1 and M-1 students do not need to seek exemption through national interest. J-1 students will need to seek permission by contacting the closest consulate.

How do one qualify for the "national interest" exception?  There is no hard and fast rule.  Basically, non-immigrants whose travel would bolster America's economy and/or assist in public health can request to enter. It would be best to consult a qualified immigration attorney beforehand to find out if you qualify before attempting travel.

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