A travel ban remains in place for individuals attempting to enter the U.S. from the U.K. Specifically, and outside any exceptions, anyone who has been in the U.K. in the last fourteen days may not enter the U.S.
The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs), as well as spouses and minor children of either, parents of unmarried minor U.S. citizens/LPRs, siblings of U.S. citizens/LPRs (when both are unmarried and under 21), noncitizen U.S. nationals, air/sea crewmembers, Armed Forces servicemembers (including spouses and children), U.S. government invitees whose travel is related to mitigating COVID, and those whose entry would be in the national interest.
The National Interest Exception (NIE) is automatically considered for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens and their dependents, entering on K visas; for all individuals with immigrant visas who are not otherwise excepted from the ban; and for students. No advance application is needed for an NIE if falling under one of these categories.
Therefore, paths to entry exist in many common scenarios. For example, a British national with a U.S. citizen spouse is not subject to the ban simply due to the marriage, regardless of visa status (though the CR-1 itself would also qualify for an exception). Likewise, a British fiancé of a U.S. citizen with a K visa may enter through an NIE that will be automatically considered at the port of entry, with no advance approval from an Embassy or Consulate needed.
Still, backlogs remain from the pandemic, and processing times are long due to reduced staffing and service availability at consular processing locations around the world. While a spouse could travel before visa approval to at least visit the U.S. citizen, a fiancé(e) could not, absent some other grounds for an exception.
Francis Law Center focuses on family-based immigration law and can help families navigate the current immigration climate.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice. Written by Francis Law Center Staff Eric Liberatore