Expansion of National Interest Exception Travel

In support of Norwegian and U.S. government efforts to minimize non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, at this time, Embassy Oslo will only adjudicate non-immigrant visa applications for persons ordinarily resident in Norway, or who can demonstrate clear ties to Norway, and are legally in the country at the time they make the appointment.  Further, those applications may only be for those categories of visas currently excepted from the restrictions under the presidential proclamations limiting travel during the pandemic.  Persons resident in consular districts outside Norway will need to apply in their country of residence.

Eligible travelers


Some of the categories of travelers that may qualify for a National Interest Exception to the January 25 Presidential Proclamation include: 

  • Humanitarian: Parents whose child will be born to surrogacy in the United States; anyone requiring urgent medical treatment in the United States; if you have an immediate family member in the United States who is gravely ill, or for bereavement travel. 
  • Economic:  Temporary travel that provides vital support for critical infrastructure; technical experts and specialists to install or maintain machinery and other specialized equipment; travel that provides a substantial economic benefit to the U.S. economy; pilots and air crew that are traveling for training, or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance. 
  • Students: Traveling to the United States to pursue a full course of study or participate in an exchange program as a bona fide student.  
  • Academics:  All exchange visitors traveling to the United States in the following categories:  Professors, Research Scholars, Short Term Scholars, Specialists, certain Au pairs and certain J-1 applicants who travel to participate in ECA identified exchange visitor programs for interns, summer work and travel, camp counselors, trainees, or teachers.  
  • Others: Immigrant and fiancé(e) visa holders.

 Please e-mail oslovisa@state.gov if you believe your travel is in the national interest of the United States, or falls into one of the above categories. 


Travelers Without Valid Visas


 If you believe that you qualify for a National Interest Exception, need to travel immediately, and require a visa, please send an e-mail to oslovisa@state.gov. Kindly include a short summary of your situation and supporting documents.

We strongly recommend that all current and prospective F-1 and M-1 students review the comprehensive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) FAQ and clarifying questions for students for fall 2020. This includes important new information about full course of study requirements and online learning, Form I-20, employment, and the SEVIS fee.  Please note that new students beginning their program may not travel to attend schools that are only offering online instruction, even if they hold a valid student visa.  Admission to the United States is a matter for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the U.S. Port of Entry and all travelers are subject to questioning. No assurances are given in advance.

Travelers With Valid Visas


F-1, F-2, M-1, and M-2 Students With Valid Visas:  

Students with valid F-1, F-2, M-1 and M-2 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel. They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies.


All Other Travelers With Valid Visas:

All other travelers who already have valid visas must receive approval for a national interest exception prior to travel.  To do so, travelers must send the following information to oslovisa@state.gov:

  1. A scanned copy of their visa
  2. A scanned copy of their passport biographic page
  3. A few sentences explaining the purpose of travel

Travelers should allow three 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.

Limitations of National Interest Exception Travel


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

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.