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State Department Revises COVID-19 Travel Ban Exception Requirements - (06/03/21)

The U.S. Department of State has updated the list of criteria that qualify travelers for a limited National Interest Exception (NIE) waiver when attempting to enter the U.S. amid the COVID-19 travel bans that were renewed by the Biden Administration. The terms of the COVID-19 travel ban have fluctuated since January 2021, and the most recent revisions may provide increased opportunities for travel by artists. It is important to note that the new terms of the State department directive have not yet been fully tested by artist requests and individual consulates continued to maintain a high degree of discretion over the approval process. While the revisions provide hope, they may not yet be a fully reliable option for all artists.

In additional to retaining the broad “national interest” criterion, and specifying that the complex critical infrastructure criterion applies to all areas of critical infrastructure (which include the commercial facilities sector), the State Department has reinstated opportunities for NIEs for:

  • travelers providing vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States

This criterion had been withdrawn in the last version of the State Department directive and is an opportunity for artists.

The latest overview of State department guidance is available on the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions webpage, last updated on June 1, 2021 and a webpage detailing NIEs for certain countries was updated on May 27, 2021.

Artists from Abroad will update as further information becomes available.