Embassy Bratislava Resumes Limited Visa Services

Expansion of National Interest Exception Travel to Students, Business Travelers, Investors, and Academics


Expansion of National Interest Exception Travel to Students, Business Travelers, Investors, and Academics  

Eligible travelers 

On July 10th, 2020, Washington announced that certain travelers from Schengen area countries could resume traveling to the United States.  Those traveling as students (F1 and M1), researchers (certain J1 programs), investors (E2) or business travel (B1) may now qualify for a national interest exception (NIE) to President Trump’s March 11, Presidential Proclamation suspending routine travel from Europe to the United States.  Effective July 15, 2020, the following travelers may apply to be considered for the NIE: 

  • Economic:  Temporary travel that provides a substantial economic benefit to the U.S. economy.  Examples may include: 
  • Technical experts and specialists to install, service, maintain, or receive training for vessels, machinery and other specialized equipment used by U.S. and foreign firms with a substantial investment in the United States.  Travel is temporary in nature and of a defined period. 
  • Senior-level managers and executives, and their dependents, who provide strategic direction necessary for the success of the company or venture. 
  • Professional athletes, dependents, and essential staff who enter the United States to participate in major sporting events, which bolster the U.S. economy.  
  • Investors:  Travel in connection with investment or trade in the U.S. economy that generates a substantial economic impact, including investors and treaty-traders and the senior-level employees who provide strategic direction or expertise essential to the success of the investment, and their dependents. 
  • Students:  All students, and their dependents, traveling to the United States to: 
  • Pursue a full course of study per INA 101(a)(15)(F); or 
  • Participate in an exchange program as a bona fide student.  
  • Academics:  All exchange visitors and their dependents traveling to the United States under INA 101(a)(15)(J) in the following categories: 
  • Professors 
  • Research Scholars 
  • Short Term Scholars 
  • Specialists 

Travelers with Valid Visas or ESTA 

Student travelers that already have valid visas and I-20s may return to the United States without further administrative steps.  Please ensure that you follow any quarantine or social distancing requirements upon your return.   

Travelers that already have valid visas or ESTA and believe they qualify for an NIE for economic, investor, or exchange visitor related purposes must  verify with a Consular official that they qualify.  To do so, travelers must send the following information along with supporting documentation to consulbratislava@state.gov.  Supporting documents may include, letter of invitation, confirmation of participation in a conference, etc.  Please allow three business days to review your documents and qualifications.  You will be notified by e-mail if you meet the NIE requirements.  Print out that e-mail as confirmation of your excepted status. 

Name as It Appears on Passport: 

Date of Birth (MM/DD/YYYY): 

Passport #: 

Passport Date of Issuance: 

Reason for Travel: 

Proposed Itinerary:  


Phone #:  

Travelers Without A Visa 

Travelers that do not yet have their required visas and that believe that they fall in to one of the excepted travel statuses should apply for their visa as normal.  Please visit the Embassy website or travel.state.gov to begin your application process.  Applicants that already have a pending visa interview appointment but desire an earlier interview should follow the interview expedite process found here

Limitations of NIE Travel 

Although travelers approved for a national interest exception for economic and investor related travel, will be issued full validity visas, the exception is valid only for 30 days from the date of approval and is valid for a single entry to the United States.  An individual who departs the United States and wishes to return must be re-assessed for a national interest exception.   

Students, investors, and academic researchers do not need to be re-approved for each entry to the United States.  F and J visa travelers should also be reminded that they must still meet all Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) requirements. 

All individuals are reminded that their admission remains subject to a determination by Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry and that they may be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.  DHS requires travelers using a NIE waiver to fly into one of 15 specifically designated airports found here