April 26, 2021

The U.S. State Department recently determined travel by pilots and aircrew to the U.S. for the purposes of training or aircraft pickup, delivery or maintenance will qualify under the national interest exemption, a provision strongly supported by NBAA.

Accordingly, individuals traveling on B-1/B-2, B-1 or M-1 visas, or through the Visa Waiver Program, are eligible to enter the U.S for these purposes.

“NBAA appreciates the secretary’s efforts to allow international visitors to enter the U.S. for purposes of continuing education and flight training, as well as for aircraft pickup, delivery or maintenance,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA’s director of flight operations and regulations.

“Over the last year, we have heard from many aviators based overseas eager to resume training in the U.S. Such training is crucial to ensuring the safety of our skies, especially as pilots return to pre-COVID flight activity,” Koester added. “Aircraft maintenance and manufacturing are important contributors to the U.S. economy. Permitting international visitors to travel to the U.S. to participate in these activities is a positive step in the economic recovery from the global COVID-19 crisis.”

Visa applicants will be considered for this exception at the time of the visa interview. Individuals already holding visas or visa waiver program authorizations should follow the guidance on the embassy/consulate website where their visa was processed or nearest their residence for consideration for an exception under the geographic presidential proclamations.

Learn more about the department’s announcement.