What are 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors in the US? 

Background Of Th Travel Ban From India

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the Department of Health and Human Services, working in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, has determined that the Republic of India is experiencing widespread, ongoing person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
  • The World Health Organization has reported that the Republic of India has had more than 18,375,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • The magnitude and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of India is surging; the Republic of India accounts for over one-third of new global cases, and the number of new cases in the Republic of India is accelerating at a rapid rate

As you might know, the person trying to enter the US or get a visa need to provide

“vital support for critical infrastructure sectors”

You can find out more details about who is exempt, and who is subject to this ban here.

In This Blog We Will Discuss:

  • The list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors
  • What does vital support mean to qualify for National Interest Exception (NIE)
  • What does not qualify, and how to request for the NIE?

Who Defines the List of Critical Infrastructure Sectors and How they Operate?

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the US Federal Agency that defines the list of critical infrastructure sectors and how they operate

According to CISA, below is the list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors and a brief description of what each of the sectors includes:

1.   Chemical Sector

This sector includes:

  • Manufacturing
  • Storing
  • Using and transportation of all kinds of chemicals that include basic chemicals, specialty chemicals, agricultural chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals, and consumer products

You can read more at cisa.gov chemical sector

2. Commercial Facilities Sector

This sector includes:

  1. Anything that draws large crowds of people for shopping entertainment
  2. Business
  3.  Lodging

It Includes Places like:

  • Shopping malls
  • Retail centers
  • Apartment buildings
  • Condos
  • Office space
  • Movie studios
  • News channels
  • Casinos
  • Hotels, motels, theme parks, stadiums, zoos, sports leagues, etc.
  • You can read more about gov commercial facilities sector

3.   Communications Sector: 

This sector includes:

  • Anything that provides voice, satellite, wireless, and other communication services
  • It includes mobile services, landline phones, broadband internet, etc.

You can read more at cisa.gov communications sector

4. Critical Manufacturing Sector:

This sector is related to manufacturing of the following:

  • Primary metals
  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Electrical equipment & components manufacturing
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing

You can read more at cisa.gov critical manufacturing sector

5. Dams Sector:

This sector includes anything that includes:

  • Water retention and control services such as hydropower plants, municipal & industrial water supplies
  • Irrigation
  • Flood control
  • Waste management
  • River navigation, etc.

You can read more at cisa.gov dams sector

6. Defense Industrial Base Sector:

This sector includes:

  • Design
  • Development
  • R&D
  • Production
  • Delivery
  • Maintenance of military weapons systems
  • US military requirements, etc.

You can read more at cisa.gov defense industrial base sector

7.    Emergency Services Sector:

This sector includes anything:

  • That deals with emergency services at federal
  • State, local governments like city police dept, fire stations, town public works
  • Industrial fire department
  • Private security
  • Private emergency medical services, etc.

You can read more at cisa.gov emergency services sector

8.   Energy Sector: 

This sector includes anything:

  • That deals with electricity
  • Oil and natural gas like power plants
  • Coal plants
  • Solar
  • Pipeline & distribution of the same, etc.

You can read more at cisa.gov energy sector

9. Financial Services Sector:

This sector includes anything that deals with carrying out operations related to:

  • Investments
  • Banking Credit
  • Insurance
  • Investment funds
  • Other financial related areas

You can read more at cisa.gov financial services sector

10. Food and Agriculture Sector:

This sector includes everything that deals with:

  • Farms
  • Restaurants
  • Food manufacturing
  • Processing
  • Storage of food and related areas
  • Including livestock

You can read more at cisa.gov food and agriculture sector

11. Government Facilities Sector:

This sector includes buildings related to:

  • Federal, state, local and tribal governments
  • It includes courts
  • Consulates
  • Embassies
  • National labs
  • Access control systems
  • CCTV systems, etc. that are related to US Govt. facilities

You can read more at cisa.gov government facilities sector

12. Healthcare and Public Health Sector

This sector includes everything that deals with:

  • Infectious disease outbreaks
  • Terrorism
  • Natural disasters
  • other public health-related aspects

You can read more at cisa.gov healthcare and public health sector

13. Information Technology Sector:

  • This sector deals with anything that provides:
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Internet and information technology systems
  • Services for the national security, economy, public health, and safety for US Govt, academia, and others.

You can read more at cisa.gov information technology sector

14. Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector:

This sector deals with:

  • Nuclear power reactors
  • Radioactive materials
  • Disposal of the same
  • It includes all of these reactors related to national electricity, research and test reactors, and materials related to the same

You can read more at cisa.gov nuclear reactor, materials, waste sector

15. Transportation Systems Sector:

This sector relates to anything that deals with:

  • Transportation systems such as aircrafts
  • Air traffic control systems
  • Airports
  • Highways
  • Seaports
  • Mass transit systems like subways
  • Pipelines
  • Freight rail
  • Postal and shipping, and many others

You can read more at cisa.gov transportation systems sector

16. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector:  

This sector deals with:

  • Public drinking water systems
  • Wastewater treatment plants
  • Sanitary sewerage treated by wastewater systems, etc.

You can read more at cisa.gov water and wastewater systems

Note: You can also read more on the Critical Infrastructure Sectors and guidance during COVID for operations during the pandemic.

Note: If you are a working professional on H1B, L1, other work visas, you can get a National Interest exception (NIE) to get a US visa and travel to the US only if you perform activities that are listed above.

Who is Not Included in “vital support for critical infrastructure sectors” for NIE Even if They work for the Above sectors?

Even if someone is working in one of the listed 16 critical infrastructure sectors, they may not qualify for NIE, if they do not perform on the ground or hands-on activities as listed above.

Below is a List of Personnel Who Are Not Included in the Vital Support Category for getting NIE:

  • Senior Managers or Executives, who are primarily focused on observing operations, conduct meetings, and regularly travel to check progress or anything.
  • Any senior-level employees, such as investors, treaty traders (E1, E2 visas ), do not provide vital support.
  • Any management personnel who do not really provide on-the-ground support for the functioning of the critical infrastructure.


  1. The only exception to the above is when the senior person or management’s travel is critical and would support the creation or retention of US Jobs
  2. Also, only if their travel is a must and cannot be done remotely for the US job creation
  • This also must be approved with significant justification from Washington D.C and Consulates cannot give this approval

Required Documents if you fall under National Interest Exception:

If you are subject to the proclamation, but fall under the exceptions listed above under National Interest Exception (NIE), you need to follow the below process:

  • You need to have definitive plans for travel

Email US Consulate/ Embassy The Following Details 

(It should be in English)

  • Last name: Your family or last name
  • First name: Your first name
  • Date of birth: Your date of Birth
  • Place of birth: Your place of birth as in Passport
  • Country of citizenship: Your country of citizenship
  • Passport number: Your passport number
  • Visa Number* and Category: Your visa number and category of the visa

(The Visa number is the red number on the visa foil, it will appear at the lower right of the visa)

  • Travel dates: Your planned and confirmed travel dates with itinerary
  • Travel Purpose and National Interest Category that you fall under with clear justification of the same
  • You will also need to provide details about the NIE category that you fall under and give details on why you are qualified under NIE and the need for your travel

You Can Find More Details about Different Services Offered by U.S. Embassy here.

US Consulate / Embassy Review – 2 weeks:

  • The US Consulate/ Embassy will review your request carefully and give you a decision in approximately two weeks

What has been your experience apply for NIE using the above criteria? Share your thoughts in the comments on our social media page.


Meanwhile, if you have questions about future options after OPT, H-1B you can also fill out this

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