The Department of State has published a statement on national interest exemptions for travellers from Schengen area European countries, Ireland and the UK, and has confirmed that F-1 and M-1 visa holders qualify.
Last year, then President Donald Trump issued an entry ban for travel from Europe due to concerns over Covid-19, but in July the Department of State confirmed that students could still travel and were exempt under national interest considerations.
President Biden updated and extended the Covid-19 entry ban for travellers from Europe immediately after his inauguration in January. His presidential proclamation said that national interest exemptions would be confirmed at a later date, and the Department of State has now clarified these.
In a statement, the Department of State said, “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.”
Academics, J-1 students, business travellers and journalists from Schengen countries, Ireland and the UK may be able to quality for a national interest exemption, but will need to contact their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
The Department of State said that granting national interest exemptions to students would assist with the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and “bolster key components of our transatlantic relationship”.
Click here to access the Department of State statement.
By Matthew Knott
News Editor | Study Travel Network Magazine