Visas: National Interest Exemptions for Certain Professional Athletes and their Essential Staff and Dependents

Last Updated: June 1, 2020

On May 22, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Wolf signed an order exempting certain foreign professional athletes who compete in professional sporting events organized by certain leagues from Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, and 9996. This exemption only applies to certain professional athletes, essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents. Individuals who believe they may qualify under this exemption should ask their athletic league representative to contact DHS for guidance on whether they are exempted.

  • If you have a valid visa and have questions about this order, please contact your athletic league representative to clear proposed travel with DHS.

  • If your athletic league or group has been exempted by DHS and you require a visa to travel, follow the instructions on the website of your nearest Embassy or Consulate to complete your application and request a visa appointment.   

  • Embassies and consulates have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020, but will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow.  Travel by individuals excepted by DHS under this order may qualify as mission-critical.  Please see these notices which contain detailed information about the current status of visa services worldwide and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic: 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-visa-services-and-restrictions.html