Frequently Asked Questions about Travel to the United States

Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the Schengen countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland), the UK and Ireland, South Africa, and Brazil within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamation 10143 issued January 25, 2021.

The full text of the proclamation can be found at the White House page.


Individuals who are NOT subject to the Proclamation

Some individuals are not subject to the Proclamation. This travel restriction does not apply to:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Legal permanent residents (LPRs)
  • Most immediate family members of U.S. citizens
  • Other individuals who are identified in the proclamation

It is vital that you read the proclamation in full to find out if it applies to you. You can find further details on proclamations in effect here.

We are unable to interpret the proclamation for you beyond the information ​at the link above. Admission to the United States is a matter for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, and no assurances can be given in advance.

The Presidential Proclamation continues to apply to fully vaccinated travelers from Sweden and other proclamation countries.

The Presidential Proclamation continues to apply to travelers from Sweden and other proclamation countries even with a negative COVID test.

Yes.  Traveling via the United States to another country, even without exiting the airport, counts as physical presence within the United States and triggers the application of the proclamation. 

No, if you hold a valid F-1 or M-1 student visa and you wish to travel to the United States to undertake or resume your studies or Optional Practical Training (OPT), you are not subject to the proclamation, and you do not require a national interest exception in order to travel to the United States. This applies even if you were issued a national interest exception in the past. This also applies to F-2 and M-2 visa holders traveling with or to join an F-1 or M-1 student.

Please note, we are unable to provide an official letter confirming that you are excepted from a travel restriction.

No.  This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.” Please note that any marriage where one or both parties was not present is not considered valid unless the marriage was subsequently consummated. These would include marriages entered into by proxy or over the internet.

No. The Department of State’s definition of spouse is a legally married husband or wife. A co-habiting partner/sambo does not qualify as a spouse for immigration purposes.

This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.” Children must be unmarried and under the age of 21. 

This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any noncitizen who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications.” Children must be unmarried and under the age of 21. 

This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21.” 

Yes.  If your specific relationship isn’t listed in the Presidential Proclamation, then you do not qualify for an automatic exception.

No.  We are unable to provide an official letter confirming that you are excepted from a travel restriction.

No.  If you are not subject to the Proclamation, that does not remove the need for the appropriate immigration status or documentation.

  • U.S. citizens are required to enter and exit the United States with a valid U.S. passport, even if they are dual citizens.
  • If you are a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States, you should typically be prepared to show your Permanent Resident Card (‘Green Card’), or a valid I-551 stamp in your passport if you were first admitted to the U.S. as an LPR within the last 12 months and you have not yet received your Permanent Resident Card.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen or LPR, you will need the appropriate valid visa or ESTA for your purpose of travel.

  • When you go to the airport, carry as many original documents or copies as you have available that you believe demonstrate why you are not subject to the Proclamation. These may include: a marriage certificate, a birth certificate, and proof of U.S. citizenship for your qualifying relative. We are unable to provide guidance about your documents or whether copies will be considered sufficient, as such questions are a matter for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when you travel.
  • You may also wish to carry a printed copy of the Presidential Proclamation.
  • Do not attempt to check in for your flight online if you have an ESTA registration.
  • You may receive an email shortly before your flight that your ESTA has expired. Arrive early for your flight. Your status will be reviewed in consultation with CBP officials. If applicable in your case, your ESTA will be reinstated after the airline reviews your documentation in order to allow you to board.
  • Additional information can be found on the Schengen Travel Proclamation page on the CBP website.

Admission to the United States is a matter for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. No assurances can be giving in advance.

Yes. Effective January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began requiring all air passengers two years of age and over entering the United States, including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure​, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.

For more information on testing requirements please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

 

It is important that you check quarantine regulations for the state you are visiting. You can find the most-up to date information on the CDC website and the state’s health department website. Please note you will still be required to quarantine as required by CDC and local guidelines even if you qualify for an automatic exception to the current Presidential Proclamations or you have received a National Interest Exception in order to travel directly to the United States.

The Visit USA website has useful links to state, city, hotel, and airline social distancing information.


Individuals who ARE subject to the Proclamation

Some individuals who are subject to the Proclamation may still qualify to travel to the United States if they receive a National Interest Exception.

National Interest Exceptions are issued to travelers who are subject to the Proclamation but seek to enter the United States to offer vital support to critical infrastructure sectors, as well as to academics, certain J-1 students, and journalists. NIEs are also granted for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.  Travelers who have a valid visa in the appropriate class or an ESTA authorization, and believe they may qualify for a National Interest Exception should follow the instructions below on “How to Apply for a National Interest Exception”

How to Apply for a National Interest Exception

Applicants for National Interest Exceptions must be legally resident and physically present in Sweden in order to apply.  To do so, travelers must send an email with the subject line “National Interest Exception” that contains the following information to  stockholmniv@state.gov:

  • A scanned copy of their visa or ESTA authorization
  • A scanned copy of their passport biographic page
  • An explanation as to why their purpose of travel is of an emergency or humanitarian nature, or is in the national interest of the United States, and any supporting documents
  • Proposed itinerary (travel must be within the next 30 days)

Travelers should allow ten business days for the Embassy to review their documents and qualifications.  Travelers will be notified by e-mail if they receive approval for an exception. Do not attempt to check in online or travel before you receive e-mail notification of your approval.

An approved National Interest Exception will allow you to request a single entry into the United States in a 30-day period on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate.

Before departing the United States, we would strongly advise you to consider the necessity of traveling to Sweden. National Interest Exceptions should only be requested in emergency or rare circumstances, if you are relatively certain you may qualify for one of the exceptions listed above. You will need to wait until you are in Sweden to apply for any National Interest Exception. Approval is not guaranteed and if you do not qualify, this may result in a significant delay in being able to return to the United States.

NOTE: On March 2, 2021, the Secretary of State rescinded the previous national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143 as related to the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.  The previous national interest determination covered certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty-traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents.  Most of those travelers will no longer qualify for an exception to the proclamation.

Additional details on these recent changes can be found here.

If you do travel to Sweden and wish to return to the United States, you may contact us by following the instructions above on “How to Apply for a National Interest Exception.”

Requests for a National Interest Exceptions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with guidance from the Department of State. Previous approval of a National Interest Exception does not mean that future requests will be approved.

On March 2, 2021, the Secretary of State rescinded the previous national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143 as related to the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.  The previous national interest determination covered certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty-traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents. Most of those travelers will no longer qualify for an exception to the proclamation.

Additional details can be found here.

If you require a visa to travel to the United States, and have a life or death, urgent humanitarian need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at:  https://www.ustraveldocs.com/se/se-niv-expeditedappointment.asp  to request an emergency appointment.

If your purpose of travel is not related to a humanitarian emergency, you may still follow the guidance above to request an expedited appointment. However, our ability to offer routine nonimmigrant visa appointments, including for petition-based employment visas, student visas, and exchange visitor visas, is extremely limited.

Please visit our Global Support Services (GSS) website for complete information on applying for a nonimmigrant U.S. visa, including a directory of nonimmigrant visa categories.