In force since March 2020, the ” travel ban »- which prohibits entry into the United States to any foreign person who has stayed in Europe (Schengen area plus UK and Ireland) during the previous 14 days – remains in force. But the US administration announced a series of “national interest” exceptions a few days ago. In fact, they relax the regime in place. Here’s a guide to help you navigate it.

Students authorized to enter the United States

In fact, almost all foreign students holding a visa (F or M) are now authorized to enter the United States. Unlike other categories (see below), they are automatically exempt from the travel ban and therefore have no specific steps to take before arriving at the airport.

Students who have not yet obtained their visa can apply for it at the American consulates in France. Services operate at reduced hours, but it is possible to make an appointment. More information here.

Students holding a J-1 visa (more rare cases of student-researchers in particular) may also be authorized to enter the territory, but they must first make a request to the American consulate. On the other hand, interns and other VIE (D-1 intern or trail) are not affected and therefore still cannot enter the territory.

Teachers and researchers

J-1 holders, they can also benefit from the exemption for “national interest”. This is particularly the case for French teachers in bilingual programs and immersion schools. Unlike students, they must request an exemption from their US embassy.

Business exemptions

Holders of E-1 or E-2 visas (investors) can also request an exemption to be allowed to enter the territory.

Business leaders and ” executives ” who ” provide the strategic direction necessary for the success of the company May also be authorized to enter the United States, as can certain technicians and specialists whose presence is deemed essential to operate equipment or installations.

Finally, professional athletes may also be allowed to enter.

The procedure for requesting an exemption

For people present on French territory, the exemption is obtained by sending an email to [email protected] with the object “CONSIDERATION FOR NATIONAL INTEREST EXCEPTION – [nom de famille] »By attaching the following information: date of birth, passport number, reason and dates of travel. More information here.

This exemption can be granted to visa holders as well as to people with an ESTA. In addition, people who do not have a visa or ESTA can apply for the same reasons of “national interest” by making an appointment on the site.

Quarantine on arrival

The question of quarantine on arrival in the United States is uncertain. If the United States Embassy in Paris is content to note that about forty ” may be imposed on arrival »By the border police, others, such as the Brussels embassy, ​​indicate that this voluntary quarantine must be accepted in order to be able to request the exemption.


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