Important Information on Current Travel to the U.S.

Updated September 23, 2021.

On Monday, September 20, the White House announced that it will lift travel restrictions starting in November for foreigners who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Until those changes go into effect, the current restrictions on travel to the United States remain in place.  Please consult the information below for details.

New U.S. Travel Policy Begins November 8
As announced by the White House, a new travel policy requiring foreign nationals traveling to the United States to demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will take effect November 8.  This will end the need for National Interest Exceptions (NIE).  The CDC’s website explains that, for purposes of entry into the United States, the accepted vaccines will include FDA approved or authorized (Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna) and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines (such as AstraZeneca-Oxford). Please see  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.

Details of the new travel policy will be posted on our Embassy website and Travel.State.Gov as they become available.

Schengen Travel Restrictions Remain in Place until the New Travel Policy
Presidential Proclamation 10143, which suspended travel from the 26 Schengen Area countries, including Denmark, remains in force until replaced by the new travel policy.  These restrictions apply regardless if you have a valid U.S. visa, ESTA or have been fully vaccinated.  Please consult the information below for details.

The proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, spouses of U.S. citizens, minor children of U.S. citizens, diplomatic and official travelers, air and sea crew members, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children, and certain other categories of travelers.  See below for more details.

2021 Visa Appointment Availability

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in profound reductions in the Department of State’s visa processing capacity. Additionally, a range of Presidential Proclamations restricting travel in response to the pandemic have resulted in further constraints on visa issuances worldwide. Throughout the pandemic, U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe have prioritized services to U.S. citizens overseas. As a result, the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen has a significant backlog for in-person visa appointment requests for all visa categories. Refer to the “Visa Appointment Availability” section below for visa categories currently open for appointments.

The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen is currently offering as many visa appointments as resources allow and is committed to working through the significant visa appointment backlog in place as a result of COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen has limited appointment availability left in calendar year 2021. Depending on your visa category, the next available visa appointment may be in November 2021 or later.

The Embassy will take appointments in the order in which they are received to work through the backlog in an equitable manner.

If you have a life-or-death emergency reason for travel to the United States and require a visa, please request an expedited appointment via our U.S. Visa Information Service website. All other expedite requests will be denied, including for F, M, or J students with a start date that takes place prior to your scheduled visa appointment. If you are an F, M, or J applicant, you may need to work with your institution or organization to request a later start date or postpone your program.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR VISA APPLICANTS WHO DO NOT RESIDE IN THE KINGDOM OF DENMARK

The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen is not currently accepting visa applications from individuals who do not normally reside in the Kingdom of Denmark. Please contact the Embassy or Consulate in the country in which you reside to schedule a visa appointment.

On January 25, 2021 the President issued a presidential proclamation continuing travel restrictions for foreign nationals who have been present in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, the Schengen Area, Brazil, China, and Iran. The President also restricted entry into the United States of any foreign nationals who have been present in South Africa, effective January 30, 2021.

The proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, spouses of U.S. citizens, minor children of U.S. citizens, diplomatic and official travelers, air and sea crew members, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children, and certain other categories of travelers. Please consult the Presidential Proclamation 10143 for a full list of exceptions.

Information for Foreign Spouses of U.S. Citizens/Legal Permanent Residents and Foreign Parents of U.S. Citizens/Legal Permanent Residents Minors:

Presidential Proclamation 10143, which currently restricts Schengen Area travelers from entering the United States, does not apply to certain travelers, including foreign spouses and foreign parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.  

Individuals traveling under these exceptions to the Proclamation must bring the following with them at the time of travel:

  1. Proof of your relationship to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (e.g. marriage certificate or child’s birth certificate)
  2. An English translation of the marriage or birth certificate if the document is not already in English.  The airline will NOT be able to board you if this document is not in English.  The U.S. Embassy does not provide translation services.  To locate a translator, please see this list of licensed translators in Denmark.
  3. A copy of proof of the U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence of the spouse/child. For example, a copy of the biographic page of the valid U.S. passport of the U.S. citizen or a copy of the lawful permanent resident’s I-551 card.
  4. In order to mitigate any confusion with the airlines at the time of travel, we strongly recommend that you bring with you a printed copy of the Presidential Proclamation and highlight the area in Section 2(a) that indicates the relevant exception under which you intend to travel.

Lastly, individuals traveling under these exceptions to the Proclamation are advised to check in at the airport and not online.

Visa services were suspended worldwide in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. On August 14, 2020 the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen resumed limited visa services in a phased, safe, and orderly manner.

The U.S. Embassy Consular team is committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the United States and we are putting as many resources as possible towards meeting the nonimmigrant visa demand from applicants resident in the Kingdom of Denmark. In order to work through the current visa appointment backlog in an equitable manner, the Embassy will take appointments in the order in which they are received. All prospective travelers, and in particular visa holders currently in the United States who may be planning a trip home to Denmark, should prioritize their efforts to schedule a visa appointment as far in advance as possible.  Expedited processing will be considered for humanitarian, life-or-death related travel reasons ONLY. Refer to the section below for more on expedited visa appointment requests.

The U.S. Embassy recognizes the hardship and distress resulting from the visa backlog, and we regret the negative impact to travelers in the Kingdom of Denmark. We value the importance of legitimate travelers to the United States and remain committed to working through the backlog in a safe, orderly, and equitable manner. Thank you for your patience as we work through the visa backlog in safe, equitable, and orderly manner.

Summer 2021 Visa Appointment Availability: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in profound reductions in the Department of State’s visa processing capacity. Additionally, a range of Presidential Proclamations restricting travel in response to the pandemic have resulted in further constraints on visa issuances worldwide. Throughout the pandemic, U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe have prioritized services to U.S. citizens overseas. As a result, the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen has a significant backlog for in-person visa appointment requests for all visa categories.

The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen is currently offering as many visa appointments as resources allow and is committed to working through the significant visa appointment backlog in place as a result of COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen has limited appointment availability left in calendar year 2021. Depending on your visa category, the next available visa appointment may be in November 2021 or later.

If you have a life-or-death emergency reason for travel to the United States and require a visa to undertake that travel, please request an expedited appointment via our U.S. Visa Information Service website. All other expedite requests will be denied, including for F, M, or J students with a start date that takes place prior to your scheduled visa appointment. If you are an F, M, or J applicant, you may need to work with your institution or organization to request a later start date or postpone your program.

The Embassy will take appointments in the order in which they are received to work through the backlog in an equitable manner.

Visa appointment availability at U.S. Embassy Copenhagen currently is as follows:

Visa Application Fee: We understand that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, we will extend the validity of visa application fee payments (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who have been unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations and subsequent backlog to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the current paid fee.

The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services for humanitarian, life-and-death related travel. If you believe you qualify for an expedited appointment, please visit our U.S. Visa Information Service website and follow the instructions to apply for an expedited appointment.

On May 28, 2021, the Secretary of State updated the scope of national interest categories available to certain business travelers subject to Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143, which currently restricts travel to the United States by foreign citizens who have been physically present in the Schengen Zone in the 14 days preceding their request for admission to the U.S. in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The Secretary of State determined that travelers who will provide executive direction in connection with vital support of critical infrastructure sectors in the United States may qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE). Travelers in these categories, as well technical experts/specialists going to install/repair machinery in connection with vital support of critical infrastructure sectors in the United States, academics, students, and journalists for whom NIE criteria has not changed may continue to qualify for NIEs to Presidential Proclamation 10143 as related to the Schengen Area.

F-1, F-2, M-1, and M-2 Students with Valid Visas: Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel to the United States. Individuals seeking to apply for new F or M visas in Copenhagen should schedule an appointment following the instructions on our visa services website. Please note that applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel to the United States and do not need to request an NIE separately.

Travelers who wish to visit the United States to offer vital support to critical infrastructure sectors, as well as academics, students, and journalists who have a valid visa in the appropriate class, an ESTA authorization, or who are seeking to apply for a visa, and believe they may qualify for an NIE should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. If an NIE is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate.

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. These travelers and any others who believe their travel to be in the United States national interest should review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instruction on how to apply for an NIE.

Please Note: The Secretary of State no longer has the authority to approve NIE’s for professional athletes. Travelers in this category should contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about NIE procedures for professional athletes.

If you already have a valid nonimmigrant visa or ESTA and believe you qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE) for humanitarian; academic/student/exchange travel; journalist travel; or to provide vital support for critical infrastructure of the United States, you must send the information outlined below and all supporting documents in one e-mail to CopenhagenNIV@state.gov.

Due to the large volume of requests, it may take 6-8 weeks for your NIE to be reviewed.  You will receive a formal response to your NIE request by e-mail. Please do not email status inquiries before the 8 week time period has passed.

Update as of July 6: All NIEs are now valid for 12 months and multiple entries. This new and updated validity period also applies retroactively. All previously approved NIEs are automatically valid for 12 months and multiple entries beginning from the date you were notified of your NIE approval. You do not need to contact the U.S. Embassy if your NIE was issued less than 12 months ago.

Important Note: If you are applying for an NIE on behalf of another traveler who is 18 years of age or older, the traveler must be copied on all NIE correspondence due to privacy laws outlined under section 222(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Please include the answers to ALL following questions and required supporting documents in your email request for an NIE:

  1. Are you physically in Denmark? (Note: You must physically be in Denmark to request an NIE.)
  2. Under which category are you seeking an NIE?
  1. What are the anticipated travel dates to and from the United States and city/state where you will stay while in the United States?
  2. If your purpose of travel is to provide support for critical infrastructure in the United States, please provide the following?
    1. Which critical infrastructure category will you support?
    2. What is your role and the specific activities you intend to perform in the United States?
    3. Why do these activities require your physical presence in the United States?
    4. Why would alternatives such as video conferencing, teleworking, or actions by proxy fail to directly support the critical infrastructure of the United States?
  3. If you are traveling to complete installation/commissioning/repair/maintenance work as part of a contract of sale between your employer and a U.S. end client, please provide a copy of the contract of sale articulating that your proposed activities are included in the contract.
  4. Will any other family members be traveling with you to the United States? If so, provide copies of the biographic pages of their valid passports and a copy of their valid ESTA or valid visa.
  5. Provide a copy of your approved ESTA notice or valid visa.
  6. Provide a copy of the biographic page of your passport.

Effective July 5, all National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) to Presidential Proclamation 10143 are valid for 12 months and multiple entries. This new and updated validity period also applies retroactively; all NIEs already approved are automatically valid for 12 months and multiple entries beginning from the date you were notified of your NIE approval. You do not need to contact the U.S. Embassy if your NIE was issued less than 12 months ago.

If it has been 12 months or longer since your last NIE was approved, you must reapply for a national interest exception (see NIE application instructions above).

As noted above, students with a valid F or M visa and a valid I-20 do not need to seek an NIE and may return to the United States without further administrative steps. F, M, and J visa travelers are reminded that they must still meet all Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) requirements. All individuals are reminded that their admission remains subject to a determination by Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry.

If you are applying for a visa in the same visa class and your prior visa expired less than 48 months ago, you may be eligible for our Interview Waiver Process (IWP). Please consult the “Qualifications” section of the “Renew My Visa” page our visa website to determine if you qualify for the IWP. Travelers who qualify may complete the visa renewal application process by mail, thus avoiding delays experienced due to the current visa appointment backlog.

Visa Applicants Resident Outside the Kingdom of Denmark: Due to significant visa appointment backlog, the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen is not accepting nonimmigrant visa applications from applicants who are not ordinarily resident in the Kingdom of Denmark. We will accept nonimmigrant visa renewal applications from Danish citizens who reside in the United States.

Travelers who are in the United States should contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office (USCIS) for questions about adjusting status or extending the authorized period of stay in the United States while physically present there.  USCIS has full jurisdiction over immigration matters for foreign citizens physically in the United States.

Effective January 26, 2021, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.

Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.  The CDC testing requirement also includes testing and self-quarantine guidelines you must follow after your arrival in the United States.

All individuals are reminded that their admission to the United States remains subject to a determination by Customs and Border Protection officers upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry.