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Iranian Nationals: Termination of Eligibility for E-1 and E-2 Nonimmigrant Classification

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On January 23, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) formally announced by way of a notice published in the Federal Register that nationals of Iran and their dependents are no longer eligible to change or extend their stay in E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant status due to the termination of the 1995 Treaty of Economic Relations (also known as the Treaty of Amity) between the United States and Iran.

Under current immigration law, “the existence of a qualifying treaty or authorizing legislation is . . . a threshold requirement for issuing an E visa.” Therefore, the termination of the Treaty of Amity between the United States and Iran no longer provides a basis for Iranian nationals to qualify for the E nonimmigrant visa classification.

When did the Treaty end?

On October 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified Iran of the Termination of the Treaty of Amity. On October 23, 2019, the Department of State provided DHS with formal notice of the termination of the treaty. Currently, there are no other qualifying treaties with Iran or any legislation for granting E-1 or E-2 status to Iranian nationals.

What does this mean?

Accordingly, a national of Iran is no longer eligible for an extension of stay in E-1 or E-2 status or a change of status to E-1 or E-2 on the basis of the Treaty of Amity.

Current E visa Holders

Aliens who are currently in valid E-1 or E-2 status on the basis of the Treaty of Amity, including their family members who are also in valid E status, will be required to depart the United States upon expiration of their authorized period of stay in the United States, unless otherwise authorized to remain in the United States (e.g., pursuant to a change of status to another nonimmigrant status (other than E nonimmigrant visa classification) or adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence).

Pending E Visas

USCIS will issue Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) to the affected applicants who have pending applications for extensions of stay in, or changes of status to, E-1 or E-2 status on the basis of the Treaty of Amity. Through the issuance of NOIDs, affected applicants will be notified of the effect of the treaty termination and given an opportunity to respond. If the grounds for issuance of the NOID are not overcome, USCIS will proceed to deny the application.

Alternatives

While Iranian nationals are no longer eligible for the E nonimmigrant visa classification, Iranian nationals may be eligible to apply for any other nonimmigrant visa classification for which they may be eligible.

To explore further options please contact our office.