EB-1, E-2 Visa for NIEs during Covid

Travelling to the United States During Covid: Extension to National Interest Exception (NIEs)

Life in America is returning to something resembling normality following a successful roll out of Covid-19 vaccines. However, disruption continues at the border with travelers from Europe (Schengen area), the UK, Ireland, China, India, Iran, Brazil and South Africa still banned unless you can obtain a National Interest Exception (NIE).

While restrictions may soon lift on the UK and Europe, the entry restrictions on the other countries show not sign of abating in the short term. Consequently, the State Department has extended the validity of NIEs to twelve months, permitting multiple entry to the US, so long as they are used for the purpose for which they are granted.

National Interest Exceptions permit travel to the United States, despite border restrictions. As the name suggests, you must be able to prove that your visit is in the US national interest.

Acceptable definitions of national interest include:

  • Directing significant economic activity
  • Journalist work
  • Supporting public health initiatives
  • Extraordinary humanitarian grounds

We have helped multiple clients obtain National Interest Exceptions permitting them to travel to the United States. Many of our E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, L-1 Employee Transfer Visa, New Office L-1 Visa and EB-1c International Manager or Executive Green Card clients may be eligible for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs). The same may be true for people on talent visas, such as the O-1 Visa, the EB-1a Visa, the EB-NIW, EB2 Visa, and other categories.

This issue only affects people coming from certain countries who are not permitted entry to the United States based upon high levels (current or historic) of Covid-19. As the pandemic evolves, new countries may be added to this list, whilst others may be removed. The countries as of today (July 8th) are:

  • China,
  • Iran,
  • Brazil,
  • South Africa,
  • the Schengen Area (Europe),
  • the United Kingdom,
  • Ireland,
  • India

Contact us to discuss how this affects you. Do not arrange travel to the US if you are either in or planning to visit any of the countries on the list above.

Read the State Department’s post.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme

Grenada Reopens to Vaccinated Travellers

Grenada is reopening to fully vaccinated travellers. And while you do not actually need to visit Grenada to obtain Grenadian Citizenship by Investment, many applicants do still wish to go and forge a personal connection with the island paradise in the Caribbean Sea.

Getting into Grenada

Grenada considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer, AstraZenaca or Moderna, or two weeks after the first dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine. What is the process for getting in if youre fully vaccinated?

  1. Book two nights of quarantine in an approved location before you travel
  2. Get a PCR test 72 hours before flying
  3. Prepay for a PCR test for your arrival in Grenada
  4. Obtain travel authorisation from Grenada
  5. Fly to Grenada
  6. Present proof of vaccination
  7. Take PCR test at airport
  8. Stay in quarantine for 48 hours while your PCR test is checked

Pathways to Citizenship in Grenada

Grenada offers two pathways to citizenship – a donation to its National Transformation Fund starting from $150,000 or an investment in real estate from $350,000 with a $50,000 government fee. There is also an option for a partial share of a real estate investment from $220,000. Investment opportunities must be approved by the government and tend to be hotels and villas on the island. There are a handful of approved developers who have a long history working with the CBI programme. Some developers offer the option for a buyback of your investment after Grenada’s CBI conditions have been met.

Benefits of Grenada Citizenship

Grenada has a strong and stable economy with a strong tourism sector. Tourism numbers inevitably fell during the pandemic, but the country is predicting a quick rebound. Reopening the border to fully vaccinated travellers is the first step in this process. The Grenadian passport is relatively strong offering visa free access to around 130 countries, including the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the People’s Republic of China.

Access to the E-2 Visa

Grenadian citizens are also eligible for the United States E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This allows a person from a treaty country to move to the US to invest in and run a business or franchise. Only citizens of Treaty Countries are eligible, so that excludes India, Russia, China, Vietnam and more. We have helped clients obtain E-2 visas via Grenada and its Citizenship by Investment programme.

While the Grenada CBI programme does not require applicants to visit the island as part of the application process, it is advisable that anyone considering the E-2 option should visit the island and create local ties. The US embassy that is responsible for E-2 applications from Grenadian citizens is on the neighbouring island of Barbados and Grenadian E-2 applicants may have to visit Barbados for interview.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Obtaining an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Despite Travel Complexities of Covid-19: Case Study

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Approved for a Canadian National who applied at the US Consulate General in Sydney during the pandemic

By Verdie Atienza, Head of L-1 & E-2 Visa Practice

Prior to the lockdown, D&A started to work on an E-2 visa application for a Canadian national who was temporarily in Australia for a vacation. The original plan was to apply at the US Embassy in Toronto where new E-2 applications for Canadians are filed and processed. It is worth noting that the Department of State encourages nonimmigrant visa applicants to apply at the US Embassy or Consulate in their home country as they are in a better position to determine the ties to the home country.

Due to safety concerns, travel restrictions and lockdowns, our client decided that she wants to apply for the E-2 visa in Australia instead of traveling back to Canada. For this to be possible, we had to advise the client to apply for extension of temporary stay in Australia. The request was granted and so we prepared, finalized and submitted the application at the US Consulate in Sydney. While the applicant had to wait a little longer, she was scheduled to appear for interview and her application was approved at the end of the interview.

While the Department of State cautions applicants of higher chance of getting a denial by applying at the Embassy or Consulate other than the one in the home country, D&A successfully demonstrated the applicant’s ties to the home country. D&A prepared a strong E-2 application which meant that the client had a smooth interview experience.

What was the E-2 Business?

Our client is a Chief Executive Officer of a cosmetics company based in Hawaii. The company specializes in developing and selling sun care products to be used before, during, and after sun exposure. The E-2 Company is dedicated to developing innovative sunscreen formulas that meet the ever changing and evolving skin and sun care needs. The Company’s formulas combine effective cosmetic active and beneficial natural ingredients to create products that achieve the sustainable beauty, health, and wellness goals of modern women.

The E-2 Company’s products are developed in collaboration with a third-party contract manufacturer. The Company carefully selects high-quality ingredients to be used in the manufacturing process in order to develop high-quality, effective sun care products that will simultaneously help users achieve their tanning goals in a sustainable and healthy way.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a person to move to the US to set up or acquire a business. Applicants must come from a country that holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. Both Canada and Australia hold E-2 Treaties with America.

People from countries that do not have an E-2 Treaty with the US have to first become citizens of E-2 Treaty countries, like Grenada or Turkey. Citizens of India, China and Vietnam are not directly eligible for an E-2 Visa.

There is no fixed investment requirement for an E-2 visa, but it is usually expected to be in excess of $100,000. Ultimately, however, the investment amount needs to be appropriate for the business being proposed. A business plan is required as part of the application and the consular officer will assess the E-2 application on the basis of this plan.

E-2 is a non-immigrant visa, which means it does not offer permanent residency. It can, however, be renewed permanently provided the underlying business continues to operate successfully.

National Interest Exception

This case study raises the issue of travel difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic. The United States border has been closed to people who have been in countries with especially bad outbreaks of the virus. This includes Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Davies & Associates has been able to obtain travel waivers for L-1 and E-2 visa clients from these countries. By building the case that it is in the economic interest of America to admit these people, the US authorities have granted special permission to travel.

Read more about National Interest Exceptions.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Immigration Check

Obtaining an L-1 Visa Despite President Trump’s Ban

The L-1 Visa allows for the transfer of qualifying staff to the existing or newly established U.S. office of the same company.


By Verdie Atienza, Senior Attorney in Charge of L-1 & E2 Visa Practice

A prospective L-1A beneficiary from India approached our firm sometime in June 2020 to seek assistance in filing an L-1A petition for him. During that time, Former President Donald Trump had already imposed a ban on the issuance of the L-1A visa until December 31, 2020.

The client was a General Manager of a manufacturing and exports company in India which exports exports fully machined sand casts / die casts and other sheet metal pressed components made of aluminum alloys, zinc alloys, copper alloys, stainless steel, mild steel, and cast iron.

Our firm advised the client that despite the ban, USCIS continues to accept  and process L-1A petitions. We suggested that it was a good time to take advantage of the period of time to prepare the L-1A petition so that he would have an approval of the petition by the time the ban lapses. The client was fully informed that there was a risk for the ban to be extended beyond December 31, 2020. The client decided to move forward with the L-1A process as per the firm’s advice.

In the L-1A petition that D&A prepared, the US company requested that the beneficiary be transferred as a Senior Strategic Project Manager. The US company was established as a product distributor, but it has grown to become a value-added manufacturer in North America, with expanding supply chain in China and India.

We explained in detail that the L-1A beneficiary’s role at the US company will involve incorporating management of essentially all substantive areas, functions, and processes. The petition also outlined how  he will also serve as the ultimate director and manager of the lJ .S. employees constituting the Strategic Project Management Team.

The L-1A petition was approved without RFE and the L-1A beneficiary immediately applied  for the visa in India. Despite the fact that the ban was extended to March 3, 2021, the client, with D&A’s guidance, was able to schedule a visa appointment and obtain the L-1A visa in the midst of a pandemic where lockdowns, travel and quarantine restrictions are in place.

D&A was able to successfully explain that the applicant is a a senior-level manager  who has spent multiple years with the company overseas, indicating a substantial knowledge and expertise within the organization and that he will fill a critical business need for the employer meeting a critical infrastructure need in a designated industry.

Benefits of L-1 Visa

  • Set up and grow a new U.S. office
  • Can be used for managers & executives (L-1A) or employees with specialized knowledge (L-1B)
  • Take spouse and dependent children with you
  • Spouses can apply for work authorization in U.S.
  • No annual caps or quotas based upon country of origin
  • “Dual Intent” – you can pursue lawful permanent residency status during your stay in America

Watch our Video on the L-1 Visa

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.