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Next Steps for National Interest Exception Waiver (FAQ)

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TitleNext Steps for National Interest Exception Waiver (FAQ)
SummaryConsiderations and next steps for families and Au Pairs who believe they meet the National Interest Exception Waiver to the Presidential Proclamation suspending J1 visas
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(last updated on September 16, 2020)
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Families may qualify for the National Interest Exception (NIE) waiver if:
  • Childcare services provided for a child with medical issues as diagnosed by a qualified medical professional where the Au Pair possess special skills required to care for a child with a particular need (e.g. medical, special education, sign language). 
  • Childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19.
  • Childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19.

There are three major steps for families and Au Pairs considering the National Interest Exception to the Presidential Proclamation suspending J1 Visas:
  1. Document your exception
  2. Confirm with your Au Pair
  3. Prepare for the Embassy Interview

Examples of approved exceptions
Parents treating individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or researching COVID-19 have experienced success under the National Interest Exception, including:
  • Orthopedics
  • Cancer treatment
  • Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine
  • Family medicine
  • Clinical Laboratory Sciences (medical technology or medical laboratory science)
  • Obstetrics / Gynecology
  • Radiation Therapy / Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Otolaryngology (ears, nose and throat)
  • Pediatrics
  • MRI Technician
Children requiring special care have experienced success under the National Interest Exception, including:
  • Special education / learning disabilities
  • Neurological conditions
  • Vision disabilities
  • Speech delays
A variety of documentation can be provided to explain your situation (described below) and our successful families have primarily submitted:
  • personal letters to the consulate
  • letters from employers, supervisors
  • general employer communications describing COVID-related work
  • letters from doctors and schools describing special care required for a child
To learn more about the success of Au Pair arrival by country, please read: Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services (FAQ)




Step 1: Gather documentation that best explains your situation
The Consular Officer who interviews your Au Pair is the only person who decides if the National Interest Exception is met and if the visa is granted.  If the exception (and visa) is denied by the Consular Officer, the family and Au Pair should consider waiting until the suspension expires before trying again so the Au Pair's ability to visit America is not jeopardized.  Typically Au Pairs are only allowed to apply two times for a visa (one time more after the first denial).  Additionally, Au Pair's pay significant monetary fees for each Embassy visit which should be taken into consideration. 

Therefore, you will likely have one meeting to present to the Officer the details of your situation. 

The Au Pair Industry has never seen this situation before and we are quickly gaining first-hand experience on the outcomes.  Go Au Pair believes there are definitely family situations that warrant the National Interest Exception and has recent experience with successful approvals and arrivals.  We encourage families to attempt the exception even though we are uncertain how Consular Officers around the world will react.  Family and Au Pair both must assess and agree to the potential risk of not being approved (see step 2 below).

The three most common situations for the National Interest Exception and ideas for documentation are described below.  You know your situation the best and we encourage you to expand on the below as you see helpful.


A child with "particular needs" or "medical issues"
The exact guidance language is as follows:
  • “au pair possessing special skills required for a child with particular needs (e.g., medical, special education, or sign language)”
  • “child care services provided for a child with medical issues diagnosed by a qualified medical professional by an individual who possesses skills to care for such child”
Go Au Pair encourages at least two types of documents to clearly demonstrate you meet this situation.
  1. Evidence of the "particular need" or "medical issue" of the child.
    • A letter or notice from an expert who is qualified to make the diagnosis
    • The letter or notice should have clear indication of the particular need or medical issue (the diagnosis).
    • The letter should be of a recent time frame, within the last year
    • Clearly state the child's full name
    • Clearly indicate the authority of the expert: full name, title, and institution / company (doctors are best as letters from schools have been rejected)
    • Ideally on institution / company letterhead
  2. Evidence of au pair possessing special skill
    • A letter or statement written by the Host Parents detailing how the "particular need" or "medial issue" manifests in day-to-day life and the considerations for a child care provider
    • Specifics on the special skill(s) required by a child care provider to meet the child's needs
    • Elements in the Au Pair's profile paperwork that demonstrate the skill(s) and/or interview questions or other communications used to vet the Au Pair possessed the skill(s)
    • Examples of child care providers not chosen for the position due to lack of the special skill(s) or combination of special skill(s) and overall fit with family needs


Parent provides medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19
The exact guidance language is as follows: 
  • “parents are involved with the provision of medical care... 
  • to individuals who have contracted COVID-19” 
Considerations:
  • The guidance is not specific to the treatment of COVID-19, only the provision of care to those who have contracted COVID.
  • The guidance states "involved with the provision of medical care" which implies a variety of positions
  • The guidance does not specify any specific type of medical care
Go Au Pair encourages at least two types of documents to clearly demonstrate you meet this situation.
  1. Evidence parent is involved with provision of medical care
    • Institution / employer verification;
      • letter from supervisor or HR department with recent date, employer's name, address, phone, their full name, title (or relation to you) that clearly states your full name
      • pay stub clearly stating employer's name
      • evidence institution / employer is involved with medical care, website information, company mission statement or purpose
    • Your job title and description (could be included in verification above)
      • can also use job websites such as the Department of Labor, Indeed, Monster to obtain job description
    • If you own or run your own company you can use a valid Business License, website information which clearly states the nature of your business, tax documents or other official documents that state the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) or SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes.
  2. Evidence medical care is to individuals who have contracted COVID-19
    • Anonymous patient information demonstrating COVID-19 diagnosis.  Confidentiality of an individual's medical records and privacy is a top priority.  We expect anyone considering this exception to already be knowledgeable with such laws, rules and policies and will not violate them
    • Evidence the institution / employer treats individuals who have contracted COVID-19, such as an anonymous institution generated summary or report
    • Anonymous self-reporting or test results by individuals receiving medical care 


Parent involved with research to help combat COVID-19
The exact guidance language is as follows: 
  • “parents are involved with medical research...
  • at United States facilities ...
  • to help the United State combat COVID-19.”
Considerations:
  • The guidance states "involved with medical research" which implies a variety of positions
  • The guidance does not specify any specific type of research
Go Au Pair encourages at least three types of documents to clearly demonstrate you meet this situation.
  1. Evidence the parent is involved with medical research
    • Institution / employer verification;
      • letter from supervisor or HR department with recent date, employer's name, address, phone, their full name, title (or relation to you) that clearly states your full name
      • pay stub clearly stating employer's name
      • evidence institution / employer is involved with medical research, website information, company mission statement or purpose
    • Your job title and description (could be included in verification above)
      • can also use job websites such as the Department of Labor, Indeed, Monster to obtain job description
    • If you own or run your own company you can use a valid Business License, website information which clearly states the nature of your business, tax documents or other official documents that state the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) or SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes.
  2. Evidence the research is at United States facilities
    • Institution / employer address information from official letterhead, clearly stated in employment verification above, tax or pay stub documents showing company location
    • Encourage at least two sources stating facility location
  3. Evidence research is to help the United States combat COVID-19
    • Institution / employer created reports or publications, documents related to funding requests to pursue such research, and other third party verified document detailing the objectives of the research




Step 2: Discuss with your Au Pair and mutually agree 
Your Au Pair responsible for interviewing with the Consular Officer, providing the necessary documentation, and potentially explaining your National Interest Exception situation.  Ensure your Au Pair understands all supporting documentation gathered in Step 1 so your situation can be confidently and accurately described during the interview.  You both must mutually agree to move forward with the embassy interview.




Step 3: Prepare for the Embassy Interview
 All documents used in the Embassy Interview must be sent to Go Au Pair before the Form DS2019 is mailed out.  Go Au Pair provides an originally signed support letter which acts as a cover sheet summarizing the Au Pair's desire to participate in the Au Pair Program and evidence provided for consideration of the National Interest Exception.  This original piece of paper is physically mailed along with printed copies of the evidence documents you provide and the originally signed and printed Form DS2019.  The Au Pair must have these physical documents in hand before the Embassy Interview.

Our International Partners are closely monitoring the U.S. Embassies and scheduling (and rescheduling as needed) Embassy Interview appointments for Au Pairs.  The Embassy must re-open and resume visa services before an Au Pair can interview under the National Interest Exception.  The Embassies control appointment availability and may cancel or change appointments at any time.  Go Au Pair is closely monitoring the phased re-opening of embassies here: Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services (FAQ)

The Consular Officer who interviews your Au Pair is the only person who decides if the National Interest Exception is met and if the visa is granted.  If the exception (and visa) is denied, Go Au Pair encourages the family and Au Pair to wait until the suspension expires before trying again so the ability to visit America is not jeopardized.  Additionally, Au Pair's pay significant monetary fees for each Embassy visit which should be taken into consideration.  Reasons for visa denials are commonly unknown or very vague.  We do not anticipate receiving any clear indication as to why a visa is denied under the National Interest Exception.

If the visa is approved under the National Interest Exception we will start looking for travel options.  We anticipate Embassies will be delayed in returning necessary travel documents and paperwork to the Au Pair after the Visa Interview.  Therefore, all travel will be booked with departure dates three weeks after the Embassy Visit.  We will do our best to accommodate both Au Pair and Host Family but please note airlines have significantly reduced flight options and we may not be able to meet your preferences.

Obtaining a visa under the National Interest Exception is a wonderful thing for everyone!  Host Families receive the child care they depend on and Au Pair begin the experience of a lifetime.  We appreciate everyone's hard work and efforts in pursuing this option.




Background
The Presidential Proclamation Temporarily Suspending J Visas for Au Pairs (FAQ) applies to new visa applicants outside of the U.S. and includes an exception for any Au Pair who would be in the national interest as defined as (original guidance language specific to Au Pairs):
  • Travel to provide care for a minor U.S. citizen, LPR, or nonimmigrant in lawful status by an au pair possessing special skills required for a child with particular needs (e.g., medical, special education, or sign language).  Childcare services provided for a child with medical issues diagnosed by a qualified medical professional by an individual who possesses skills to care for such child will be considered to be in the national interest. 
  • Travel by an au pair that prevents a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other nonimmigrant in lawful status from becoming a public health charge or ward of the state of a medical or other public funded institution.   
  • Childcare services provided for a child whose parents are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or medical research at United States facilities to help the United State combat COVID-19. 




Return to main article
Presidential Proclamation Temporarily Suspending J Visas for Au Pairs (FAQ)
What is Go Au Pair doing about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? (FAQ)
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