Embassy Bern Offering Limited Visa Services
Embassy Bern has resumed processing of limited categories of non-immigrant visa applications. Currently, we are prioritizing services for citizens and residents of Switzerland.
If you have been present in the Schengen Zone in the 14 days prior to attempting to enter the United States, you will not be permitted entry unless you have a documented exemption from the travel restrictions or have been provided a national interest exception (NIE). Those holding valid visas or valid ESTAs must have been issued a travel letter documenting the exemption category or have been issued a NIE to be allowed to travel.
Exemptions from Travel Restrictions
The following categories of travelers may be exempt from current travel restrictions:
- The spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR)
- The parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, if that U.S. citizen or LPR is unmarried and under the age of 21
- The sibling of a U.S. citizen or LPR, if both are unmarried and under the age of 21
- The child of a U.S. citizen or LPR, if the child is unmarried and under the age of 21
If you already have a valid visa for travel to the U.S., then we recommend you request a travel letter which will confirm your relationship to your U.S. citizen relative. You will be asked to provide the marriage or birth certificate as evidence of your relationship. If you do not have a valid visa, we recommend you apply for a visa and bring the evidence of your relationship to the visa interview to document your exemption from the travel restrictions. Relationship to a U.S. citizen may exempt an applicant from current travel restrictions but does not automatically qualify an applicant for a visa.
National Interest Exceptions
The following categories of travelers may now qualify for national interest exceptions (NIEs) under Presidential Proclamation 9993, which has suspended routine travel from the Schengen Area to the United States:
- Public Health: Travel as a public health or healthcare professional or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to continue ongoing research in an area with substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or disease research).
- Students: All students, and their dependents, traveling to the United States on an F or M visa to pursue a full course of study or on a J visa to participate in an exchange program as a bona fide student.
- Academics: All exchange visitors and their dependents traveling to the United States on J visas in the following categories: Professors, Research Scholars, Short Term Scholars, or Specialists.
- Journalists: Certain journalists, and their dependents, traveling to the United States on an I visa.
- Investors: Travel in connection with investment or trade in the U.S. economy that generates a substantial economic impact, including investors and treaty-traders on E visas and the senior-level employees who provide strategic direction or expertise essential to the success of the investment, and their dependents.
- Economic: Temporary travel that provides a substantial economic benefit to the U.S. economy, including:
- Technical experts and specialists to install, service, maintain, or receive training for vessels, machinery and other specialized equipment used by U.S. and foreign firms with a substantial investment in the United States. Travel is temporary in nature and for a defined period of time.
- Senior-level managers and executives, and their dependents, who provide strategic direction necessary for the success of the company or venture.
- Professional athletes, dependents, and essential staff who enter the United States to participate in major sporting events, which bolster the
Travelers who believe they fall under one of the exception categories above should apply for their visas as normal. Please click here to begin your application process. Applicants who already have a pending visa interview appointment but desire an earlier interview should request an expedited appointment. A final determination regarding each applicant’s qualifications for a visa and for the NIE will be made by a consular officer at the time of the interview. Some conditions apply to travel, which will be explained at the interview. If you already have a valid visa, you may be eligible for a NIE to facilitate travel. Please email BernNIV@state.gov to request a NIE if your travel falls under the categories listed above.
Embassy Bern will continue to process official and diplomatic visas pursuant to usual processes. For additional information on diplomatic visa processing, click here. In addition to the exemption and NIE categories listed above, Presidential Proclamation 9993 also provides a list of other enumerated exemptions, which includes air and sea crew. If you believe that you qualify for an exemption or an exception, please make an appointment. For additional questions, please contact the consular section at BernNIV@state.gov.
Plan your visit at the Consular Section
Any person entering the consular section will be required to wear a face covering; children under six years old and those unable to wear a covering are exempt from this requirement.