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How can Indians Enter the United States DIRECTLY

Written By: Yash Khullar
Fact Checked By: Lamia Darwish

May 14, 2021

6 min read


The United States banned the entry of all non-immigrant Indians on April 30, 2021, through a Presidential Proclamation.

For context, Indian citizens possessing non-immigrant visas come under the ambit of this Proclamation:

  1. H-1B and dependents on H4
  2. L-1A, L-1B, and dependents on L2
  3. O-1 and dependents on O-3
  4. B1/B2
  5. F1, J1, M1 Visa Holders, unless their program starts on August 1 or later.

However some H-1Bs, L-1s and O-1s may qualify for a National Interest Exception which would allow you to travel to the US directly despite the ban.

In case you have already applied and been rejected for NIE multiple times, look up this guide on how to enter the United States via a third country.

Tips on how to prepare NIE application:

The NIE application email must include the following information for all travelers seeking an exception, as it appears on the visa:  

  • Last name:

  • First name:

  • Date of birth, in DDMMMYYY format (ie – 01JAN2021):

  • Gender (M/F):

  • Country of birth:

  • Country of citizenship:

  • Passport number:

  • Visa Number* and Category:

  • Issuing Post Name (upper left corner of visa):

  • Travel dates:

  • Travel purpose and national interest category, including a clear justification for receipt of a NIE:

(Atlys Tip: Look up Critical Infrastructure Sectors and link your role to one or two critical infrastructure sectors. If you cannot establish a link between your job and critical infrastructure, try linking what your company does to either of the critical infrastructure sectors)

  This application email should be sent to the consulate which issued your visa (Issuing Post Name). Here are the emails for each consulate:  

Sample NIE Applications

Try to include links on your company's involvement with the Government.

  1. Employee at Google

Subject: NIE: Critical Infrastructure - Telecommunications and IT Sectors  

I work as a {{job title name}} at Google LLC on the Google Fi team. Google Fi is a telecommunications service that provides telephone calls, SMS, mobile broadband using cellular networks to millions of US residents. This service is only for domestic use except for US Military and State Dept Employees stationed abroad. As a {{job title name}}, I am currently working on tools to enable easy verification of Govt status. My work directly supports vital communication needs of not only the US Military and State Department but also supports millions of Americans in staying connected. My job is critical to the nation's Telecommunication and Information Technology sectors and since I am unable to work from home, I request you to grant me an NIE at the earliest.  

(The above sample letter with some edits can work for employees at T-Mobile/ other communication companies as well).

  1. Employee at Google Cloud

Subject: NIE: Critical Infrastructure - Defense and IT Sectors  

I work as a {{job title name}} at Google LLC on the Google Cloud team. Google Cloud is a provider of computing resources for developing, deploying, and operating applications on the Web. Google Cloud supports United States Govt's civilian agencies, Intelligence Community, and the Department of Defense by helping them increase operational effectiveness and deliver proven innovation. In addition, DOD recently contracted Google Cloud to build a secure cloud management solution. For these organizations, I have to build Cloud Networking architectures, help them with Digital Transformation needs and finally oversee the transition into Google Cloud. My work directly supports Defence and Technology Infrastructure for the US Government. Due to the sensitive nature of this job, I am unable to work from home. To ensure there are minimal disruptions to a smooth rollout of Cloud services in Federal agencies, I request you to grant me an NIE at the earliest.  

(The above sample letter with some edits can work for employees at any company providing cloud services to any government agencies).

  1. Employee at Airline Company

Subject: NIE: Critical Infrastructure Transportation and Information Technology Sectors  

As a {{job title name}} at Alaska Airlines, I build data pipelines used for processing bookings, and customer service check-in tools. As we emerge from COVID lockdowns and travel returns to pre-COVID levels, the servers powering these pipelines have been experiencing a sudden and fierce rise in traffic. We cannot address this with the current backend infrastructure, and as a result, I have to go back to work imminently in order to ensure that our software can keep up with heightened customer activity. In addition, my work on building systems that enable Alaska to onboard new airports, directly enables TSA and Alaska Airlines to serve remote airfields in rural areas under Department of Transportation's Essential Air Service program. The work I am doing provides vital support to the critical Transportation Systems and Information Technology Sectors and hence I request you to grant me an NIE at the earliest.  

  1. Employee at IBM

Subject: NIE: Critical Infrastructure Healthcare and Information Technology Sectors  

I work as {{job title name}} at IBM Corporation where I am responsible for building product roadmaps and code releases for the development of healthcare applications. At the moment, I am designing a source control workflow for the IBM Digital Health Pass. Digital Health Pass is designed to enable businesses to verify health credentials for employees, customers, fans, and travelers entering their site based on their own criteria. As we emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, the Health Pass will be key to resuming normal life and stimulating much-needed economic recovery. My work is directly providing vital support to both Healthcare and IT sectors and since I am unable to work from home, I request you to grant me an NIE at the earliest.

  1. Employee at eCommerce Company

Subject: NIE: Critical Infrastructure Healthcare, Transportation and IT Sectors

I work as {{job title name}} (analyst/engineer/program manager/ product manager etc) and I support operations at {{company name}}, which provides fulfillment services to 10k American merchants. I am responsible for optimizing warehouse processes so that customers are able to get their orders within 2 days. Due to resurgence of COVID-19 and return of mask mandates across the country, there is a fierce increase in online demand for healthcare products like masks, sanitizers, thermometer guns etc. To ensure customers are able to get these essentials delivered to them on time, I have to visit my company's warehouses and institute new processes to prioritize delivery of healthcare products. In addition, I also have to liaise with transportation partners such as FedEx and UPS to ensure timely pickup and delivery of these products. My work provides vital support to critical infrastructure in Healthcare, Transportation and IT sectors and since I am unable to work from home, I request you to grant me an NIE at the earliest.

If NIE does not work out, check out this guide on how to enter the United States via a third country.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get an NIE decision?

Up to 14 business days.

Do all industries qualify for NIE?

Yes. As long as you are able to link your job duties to a Critical Infrastructure sector

Can I apply for NIE again after getting rejected?


Will applying for an NIE have an impact on my US residence status?

No, the NIE application has no bearing on your future US visa applications.

Do I need a letter from my employer to apply for NIE?

No. All you need is your passport and US visa.

Can my dependents (spouse and children under 21) travel with me?

Yes, make sure to add their details to the application.

Are H4/ other dependent visa holders eligible to apply for an NIE?

Yes, H4s and dependent visa category holders can apply for NIE on the grounds of family separation.

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