Travelling to the USA from an excluded country? We're here to help.

If you are outside the United States and want to travel to Convergence there are many countries where this is currently very difficult. The Biden declaration on travel is still in force ( and if you are resident in one of these countries then you will need a National Interest Exemption (NIE).

More information on it can be found here ( but basically if you are involved in keeping America safe then you can apply for an NIE. You need to do this by applying for an NIE via the American Embassy in the country that you are resident in. The link above has lots of good information but the most pertinent piece is: “You will find the link for the contact sheet for the nonimmigrant visa department of the US Embassy in London at FAQ 1.6 of these frequently asked questions here Read in particular this question 1.6 FAQ 1.6 “I am not exempt from the presidential Proclamation but I want to request national interest consideration.” The answer to FAQ 1.6 contains the link to the public inquiry form. When you get to the choices, choose the last one, if you already have an approved ESTA or non-immigrant visitor visa:  “My inquiry concerns nonimmigrant visas and is not covered by your website.”  This will connect you with the public inquiry form. In the initial contact form, state the purpose of your travel, but make sure to include this exact wording in the first part of the form: Request “National Interest consideration,” and I have a valid ESTA, or I have a valid visa. (whichever applies).”

Once you have filled in your details on that form you will receive an email from the relevant Embassy containing 26 questions, most of these require only short, or yes or no answers. The questions you need to answer thoroughly for a successful application are 10, 11, 12 and 21.

10.   Why are you applying to travel from the UK to the United States? 

a.       If you recently returned from the U.S. to the UK, please provide the reasons for that travel. 

b.       If you are not normally resident in the UK, please provide the reasons why you are traveling from here. 

c.       If you are not physically present in the UK at this time, please do not submit this application.  We cannot accept applications from anyone who is not physically present in the UK. 

11.   Why do you believe your travel is time-sensitive? 

12.   Why do you believe your travel is in the U.S. national interest? 

21.   Do you wish to travel for employment or business reasons (other than healthcare)? (Yes/No) 

a.       If yes, please provide your current job title and the name of your employer and attach a resume. 

b.       If yes, please attach a detailed letter from your employer.  Please also attach a letter from any U.S. company or institution that will benefit from your travel.  The letter should address the economic hardship that the U.S. company or institution would suffer if you cannot travel at this time.  

c.       If your work is related to COVID-19, the letter should identify the specific COVID-19 project and your role in that project.  

d.       If you believe that your travel is in the national interest for reasons relating to a business that you own or direct, please provide the business's operating status, annual revenue, and numbers of U.S. employees. 

Think of the NIE as your job application, it needs to catch the attention. We would advise the following:

  • Do not lie! The decision to enter the US will still be down to Customs and Border officials on the day, anything you can’t justify face to face should not be in print!
  • An important element of the NIE is ‘Why now?!’ Rather than baldly state that there is a conference you wish to attend, I would suggest that you focus on the strategic environment. We have currently a wave of Afghan immigrants about to be unleashed on the world, and as the Paris attacks showed there will be a small element that will wish the West harm – this needs to be prepared for immediately. The economic hardship of Covid has resulted in an increase in illegal narcotic activity at the same time that fentanyl is killing more people – this has to be prepared for immediately. Industrial chemical accidents are on the rise thanks to Covid staff shortages and shut downs – this has to be prepared for immediately. Covid best practice has to be shared thanks to the coming winter and spring increase in cases as we retreat indoors – this has to be prepared for immediately.
  • I would suggest key words are: best practice, face to face training, urgent need, international expertise in XXX.
  • CBRN falls under two activities that are US mission critical – military and law enforcement/first responder. Make sure that you combine the key words above with how they impact on these two sectors.
  • Reach out to your customers/contacts in these sectors for #21. Ask them to provide a letter that explains why they need to see you for training against the threats mentioned above.
  • ‘Conference’ has long been a dirty word in the US Federal government, we recommend that you try and avoid this and choose other words like ‘sharing lessons learned’ ‘training event’ or ‘educational workshop’

Sadly we can’t do this for you, but are happy to provide any advice based on our limited understanding. Should you have any queries on this request please do not hesitate to contact us.

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