Students with a valid F-1 visa traveling to begin or continue an academic program do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel. They may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before their program start date. Students who have been in Brazil, China, India, Iran, or South Africa may qualify for NIE only if their programs begin on or after August 1, 2021 (which includes all fall 2021 new students).
Students seeking to apply for a new F-1 visa should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate. Only visa applicants who would otherwise qualify for an F-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.
Scholars applying for a J-1 visa may qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE). If you are applying for a visa type such as H-1B, TN, E-3, or O-1, you may also qualify for an NIE if you provide "vital support of critical infrastructure sectors as defined by the Department of State or critical infrastructure linked supply chain," have need of humanitarian travel, will aid in the public health response, or the travel is in the interest of national security.