U.S. eases foreign crew entry restrictions

PT 2 M minute read

On April 8, 2021, the United States State Department quietly released a buried update allowing National Interest Waivers (NIWs) to be issued to foreign crew seeking entry to the U.S. for the purposes of training or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance – despite their travel history. This is a significant development the business aviation community has been asking for, as previously, foreign crew seeking entry from a restricted country were denied access to the U.S. Our Global Regulatory Services team has extensive expertise with NIWs and can assist.

Here’s what you need to know.

Some foreign crew seeking entry to U.S. now eligible for National Interest Waivers

On April 8, 2021, the Secretary of State determined that travel by pilots and aircrew for training or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance is in the national interest for purposes of granting exceptions under the geographic Presidential Proclamations.

This includes individuals who are traveling to the United States for:

Training or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance on B-1/B-2, B-1, or M-1 visas, or Visa Waiver Program authorizations.

The determination also covers certain M-2 dependents when the principal’s necessary training is four weeks or more.  Access by qualified pilots and other essential air crew to aircraft maintenance, as well as simulator training, continuing education such as proficiency checks, and other vital safety certification courses offered in the United States, is an important component of safe skies.  Therefore, we intend to continue issuing visas to eligible applicants for such travelers, on the basis of national interest exceptions, as permitted by post resources and local government restrictions.

Visas needed by crew to qualify

Crew must have a B-1/B-2, B-1, or M-1 visa, or Visa Waiver Program authorization to qualify.

Documents Needed

  • Passport
  • US Visa
  • Training Confirmation / Invitation
  • Purpose of Visit / Company Employment Letter
  • Prospective Airline Itinerary


Visa applicants will be considered for an exception at the time of interview.  Travelers who already hold valid visas or Visa Waiver Program authorization and believe they meet the exception criteria should follow the procedures set forth on the Embassy/Consulate website where their visa was processed or nearest their residence for consideration for an exception under the geographic Presidential Proclamations.

Visit our article on National Interest Waivers for more information or contact our Global Regulatory Services Team with questions.

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