Quick update from AILA, President Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Threat Reduction Bill on August 10, 2012. Section 501 directs DOS to deny visas and DHS to exclude from the United States, any Iranian citizens seeking higher education in the United States to prepare for a career in Iran’s energy, nuclear science and nuclear engineering sectors, as well as related fields. This provision applies to visa applications filed on or after the date of enactment of this Act.
As such, Iranian applicants in the United States wishing to change status to F-1 to pursue post-secondary studies in the energy, nuclear science, nuclear engineering or related fields, will be denied by DHS.
Similarly, consular posts will deny F-1 visa applications from Iranian applicants wishing to pursue post-secondary studies in the energy, nuclear science, nuclear engineering or related fields.
It remains to be seen how broadly DOS and DHS will define a “related” field. It is also unclear how this will impact Iranian F-1 students applying for subsequent F-1 visas while continuing with their studies, or Iranian F-1 students applying for OPT, or Iranian F-1 students changing majors to one of the prohibited fields, but these Iranian students are likely to be impacted. We will keep you posted.