National Interest Exception - NIE FAQs

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on

J-1 exchange visitors and NIE (National Interest Exception)

Authored on: Tue, 09/21/2021 - 06:17


 I am a Slovenian citizen, and I plan to do a 3-month student internship in the USA in December. I have everything arranged with my employer. The only question I have is, can I travel from the Schengen area on my J-1 visa? And if not, how can I come to the USA for my internship?


J-1 exchange visitors will be able to travel only if the visa is approved and they qualify for a national interest exception (NIE). If you already have a visa, you will need to apply for an NIE or travel to and stay for two weeks in a third country from which travel to the USA is allowed.  The US consulate in Slovenia has indicated they will consider NIE for J-1 holders:

  • Academic professors/researchers (J visa)
  • Au Pairs who are providing specialized care to a child needing particular medical, educational, or sign language care; or an au pair providing care to a child of parents working in the medical field related to Covid care or research.  (J visa)
  • Exchange participant pursuant to a government-to-government agreement (J visa)

Intern or Trainee at a U.S. Government Agency (J visa, with program series G-3)

H-1B visa and applying for National Interest Exception

Authored on: Tue, 09/21/2021 - 05:42


I am presently in the U.S. and will be visiting India to get my H-1B Visa stamped.  As there are travel restrictions for passengers from India to the US, will I be allowed to enter the U.S. on an H-1B visa? Presently I am staying in the U.S. on OPT.


Unless you are covered by an exemption, you will have to apply for a national interest exception. Also, getting appointments for visa stamping is not particularly easy at the moment.



Note: For the NRI readers, The Economic Times has started an immigration helpdesk. A team of experts which includes Rajiv S. Khanna will address the most pressing issues. Please see the link below.…