Travel Bans US Department of State

DOS grants travel ban exemptions for students in the Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland

US Embassy in Nairobi

The US Department of State issued a news update on February 10, 2021, relating to the travel bans impacting the Schengen Area. This update provides some guidance on National Interest Exceptions to the travel ban for certain travelers, and creates a general exemption for certain student travelers. The notice states that:

Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to travel. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel.

Other travelers might also be eligible for individual National Interest Exceptions. According to DOS, “contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. If a national interest exception is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate.”