Changes in US E1 and E2 Visa Eligibility for Iranians: Implications and Recent Developments

Three passports with the flags of both the United States and Iran.

The US E1 and E2 visa programs have undergone significant changes, particularly regarding Iranian nationals. This article explores the recent developments and implications resulting from the termination of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between the United States and Iran. The decision to strip Iranian nationals of E1 and E2 visa eligibility comes amid escalating tensions and ongoing conflicts between the two countries. We examine the reasons behind this change and its impact on Iranian visa applicants.

Section 1: Termination of the Treaty: Background and Consequences The 1955 Treaty of Amity between the US and Iran was terminated on October 3, 2018. The decision to end the treaty was a result of the ongoing conflict between the two nations, with the US imposing sanctions on Iran. This termination has significant implications for Iranian nationals seeking E1 and E2 visas.

Section 2: USCIS Announcement: Reasons and Impact In a press release, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) explained that the eligibility for E1 and E2 visas is based on trade and investment treaties. As Iran no longer has a qualifying treaty, Iranian nationals are no longer eligible for these visa categories.

Section 3: US Secretary of State’s Perspective on the Decision US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the decision as long overdue, citing the need to address ongoing tensions with Iran. He emphasized that the US had planned to maintain humanitarian exceptions to the sanctions.

Section 4: Notices of Intent to Deny: Actions for E1 and E2 Visa Applicants USCIS announced that Notices of Intent to Deny would be issued to E1 and E2 visa applicants who filed their applications after October 3, 2018. This indicates that new applications from Iranian nationals will be rejected.

Section 5: Current E1 and E2 Visa Holders: Limited Stay in the US Existing E1 and E2 visa holders from Iran will be allowed to stay in the US until the expiration of their current visas. However, they will not be eligible for extensions or changes of status based on the Treaty of Amity.

Section 6: Alternative Visa Options for Iranian Nationals: While E1 and E2 visas are no longer available for Iranian nationals, they can explore other non-immigrant visa options for which they may qualify under US immigration law. It is important to consult with immigration experts to determine suitable alternatives.

Section 7: US-Iran Tensions: Factors Influencing the Visa Clampdown The decision to revoke E1 and E2 visa eligibility for Iranian nationals is a result of the escalating tensions between the US and Iran. Recent events, including the assassination of an Iranian commander and the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, have contributed to strained relations.

Section 8: Broader Implications: E1 and E2 Visa Validity Reductions for Other Countries The clampdown on E1 and E2 visa eligibility extends beyond Iran. Citizens of other countries, including Israel and France, have also experienced reductions in the validity of these visa categories. UK entrepreneurs seeking to establish businesses in the US have also faced challenges due to increased visa denial rates.

The termination of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the US and Iran has led to the removal of E1 and E2 visa eligibility for Iranian nationals. The decision reflects the ongoing tensions between the two nations. Iranian visa applicants must explore alternative visa options while closely monitoring the evolving US-Iran relationship.

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