Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Immigration & Compliance Law 
National Interest Exceptions (NIE) narrowed
On March 2, 2021, the Secretary of State rescinded four categories of individuals and their dependents previously eligible for a National Interest Exception (NIE) under the COVID-19 health-related visa ban for the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland (PP 10143). The categories rescinded are as follows:

  1. Technical experts and specialists
  2. Senior-level managers and executives
  3. Treaty traders and investors
  4. Professional athletes and dependents

The Department of State confirmed that previously issued visas or NIEs will not be revoked and these changes will only be effective on visa issuance moving forward. Those who are applying for visas, currently have visas, or ESTA authorization should follow the guidance included in the DOS announcement.

The Secretary also created a new national interest determination covering certain travelers seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure. The list of what is considered “critical infrastructure” was not defined by the Department of State’s guidance. However, DHS’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has provided a list and description of critical infrastructure sectors that may be useful in preparing for an NIE, absent additional guidance from DOS. The following is a non-exhaustive list of critical sectors:

  1. Chemical Sector
  2. Commercial Facilities Sector
  3. Communications Sector
  4. Critical Manufacturing Sector
  5. Dams Sector
  6. Defense Industrial Base Sector
  7. Emergency Services Sector
  8. Energy Sector
  9. Financial Services Sector
  10. Food and Agriculture Sector
  11. Government Facilities Sector
  12. Healthcare and Public Health Sectors
  13. Information Technology Sector
  14. Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  15. Transportation Sector
  16. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector

In addition, travelers in academic, student, and journalist categories remain eligible for an NIE as well. State also continues to offer NIEs for public health, national security, and humanitarian categories. Students with valid visas or those who will be applying for visas will continue to be automatically considered for an NIE. All other categories of persons will be required to apply for an NIE and should contact the respective consular post for more information.
This client alert is being provided only to company representatives. Please share with your foreign national staff as you see fit or direct them to our web site where this client alert will be posted.

If you have any questions or concerns about the information provided in this email, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Leila Freijy
Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC|
Immigration & Compliance Law
Leila Freijy, Esq.
3150 Livernois Rd #103
Troy, MI 48083
248.287.4115 (fax)