OnlineVisas’ CEO and Immigration Attorney, Jon Velie, answer the 7 top questions around how to get around President Trump’s recent travel & visa bans via a “National Interest Exemption” (Proclamation numbers 9984, 9992, 9993, & 9996 issued on May 24, 2020).
Q1. Who is barred from entering the U.S. under Trump’s travel bans?
If you were in any of a specific list of countries for a period of 14 days, you are banned from entering the U.S. unless an exemption applies.
Q2. Who can enter the U.S. if they are travelling from any of these countries?
Includes students on F-1/M-1 visas from the U.K., Ireland, and other European countries.
Also exempt are U.S. citizens and permanent residents/green card holders, as well as certain of their family members.
There are other specific work-related exemptions, including a range of national interest waivers. See the video for details.
Q3. What is the process for obtaining a national interest exemptions or 212f waiver?
This depends on the specific consulate. Please refer to the video (from around the 4-minute mark).
- Also see the recent article referred to in the video: “H-1B and L-1 Visa Restrictions Relaxed: Exceptions to the Travel Ban”
Q4. Are there exemptions for the ban affecting H-1B and L-1 visas relating to proclamation 10052?
Yes, the June 22, 2020 proclamation did effectively ban entry into the U.S. under certain nonimmigrant visa categories, including H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and J-1 visas.
The White House added certain exemptions on August 13, 2020, for L-1 and H-1B visa holders only. Again, refer to the video for all the details.
Q5. What can I do if I am not exempt from the travel ban and have an emergency need + valid non-immigrant visa, fiancé visa, or ESTA?
If the previous exemptions do not apply under 9996, there are certain special cases, e.g., humanitarian needs, then local consulates may issue exemptions. However, note that every U.S. Consulate is different.
Q6. I believe the travel bans do not apply to me, as I have a valid non-immigrant visa, fiancé visa, or ESTA. What should I do?
The best advice is to contact your airline, as it is their responsibility to allow you onto the inbound flight. They will help you figure out if the travel ban applies in your case, or if you are exempt.
Q7. What should I do and bring with me if I think I am exempt and traveling from one of the banned countries?
- Do not check in online, check in in person and bring your ESTA (if you have one).
- Arrive early, at least 2 hours before your departure time, but preferably even earlier.
- Carry documentation that proves you are exempt from the travel ban (e.g., U.S. Passport, green card, marriage certificate, student visa, etc.)