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AAU, Associations Seek Clarification on COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and National Interest Exceptions

AAU, ACE, and 23 other higher education organizations and associations sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas with questions about COVID-19 travel restrictions and National Interest Exceptions for students and academics traveling to the United States this fall. Under existing guidance, students on F-1 and M-1 visas from countries currently under COVID-19 travel restrictions can enter the United States under an NIE if their programs begin on or after August 1, 2021.

The letter asks for clarifications on whether continuing F-1 and M-1 students, including students on OPT, are covered by the NIE; what students need to show at entry to demonstrate the start date of their program; whether the NIE policy applies to J-1 students; and whether faculty and scholars traveling under visa categories other than F or M will be allowed to enter the country under the NIE.

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