National Interest Exceptions to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Related to Brazil

In keeping with the Department of State’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on April 26 applied several National Interest Exceptions (NIE) to travel restrictions related to Brazil currently in effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to travelers originating in Brazil, this includes qualified applicants who have been present in China, Iran, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.  Travelers to the United States are expected to comply fully with heath and sanitary regulations in the United States, and are urged to contact local health authorities for full details about local requirements. International travelers to the United States are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline.

Students traveling from Brazil and seeking to commence studies in the fall, certain academics, journalists, and individuals who are seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure may now qualify for a National Interest Exception. 

Students who already possess a valid student (F or M) visa and who will begin their studies on or after August 1, 2021, may travel to the United States without further action from the Embassy or Consulates in Brazil.  Travel that begins more than 30 days prior to the start date of a student’s classes will not be permitted.  Individuals seeking to apply for a student visa should consult the website of the Embassy or nearest Consulate for further information on applications.  Visa interviews for excepted categories are expected to resume in mid-May 2021, conditions permitting. 

Academics, journalists, and others who might qualify for an NIE, including those with a valid visa or ESTA authorizationwill need to apply for an NIE (and a visa if required).  Those individuals should consult the website of the Embassy or nearest Consulate for further details if they believe they may qualify for an NIE.  If a National Interest Exception is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate.  The pandemic continues to limit the number of visas and National Interest Exceptions the Embassy and Consulates in Brazil are able to process. Visa appointments may not be immediately available, and we encourage individuals to plan well in advance.  As always, visa applicants should check the website of the Embassy or nearest Consulate for the most up-to-date information about visa appointment availability.     

The Department of State also continues to grant NIEs for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.  As the global situation evolves, the Department continues to seek ways to process more visa applications, in line with science-based guidance from health authorities, and with the health and safety of staff and applicants as our priority.    

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