Uniform Global National Interest Exceptions to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Uniform Global National Interest Exceptions to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

April 27, 2021

New National Interest Exceptions Under Presidential Proclamations Allows Issuance of Student Visas for Applicants who have been present in the People’s Republic of China 

In keeping with the Department of State’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary Blinken decided to apply several National Interest Exceptions to all regional travel restrictions currently in effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means students who have been present in China are now excepted from COVID-related travel restrictions, imposed under Presidential Proclamations, on traveling to the United States for academic programs that begin on or after August 1, 2021. If they are otherwise eligible, these students may be issued visas.  

The Secretary’s decision to except students and academics who have been present in China and other countries covered by these restrictions is a testament to the fact that the United States welcomes foreign students and scholars, including from China.  Foreign students and scholars contribute greatly to the rich intellectual traditions and diversity that make the educational experience on a U.S. campus one of a kind.

We recognize the serious challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has posed to universities and students alike, and we hope that students from all countries, including China, who had planned to study in the United States beginning in fall 2021 will now be able to do so.

The pandemic continues to limit the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process. As always, visa applicants should check the website of the nearest Embassy or Consulate for the most up-to-date information about visa appointment availability.

As the global situation evolves, the Department continues to seek ways to process more visa applications, in line with science-based guidance from health authorities, and with the health and safety of staff and applicants as our priority.