Treaty Termination Ends E-1 and E-2 Visa Eligibility for Iranian Nationals
On January 22, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that nationals of Iran and their dependents are no longer eligible to change to or extend E-1 treaty trader or E-2 treaty investor nonimmigrant status. This change is due to the termination of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between the United States and Iran (“Treaty of Amity”) on October 3, 2018.
Per the USCIS announcement, Iranian nationals currently holding and properly maintaining E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant status may remain in the United States until the expiration date of their period of authorized stay indicated on their Form I-94, after which they must depart from the United States. In addition, the USCIS stated that it will be issuing Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) to affected applicants who have pending applications that were filed after October 3, 2018. Failure to overcome the NOID will result in a denial of the application. Please note that the termination of the E classification does not prevent Iranian nationals already in the United States from seeking a change to another nonimmigrant status or adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.
Although the United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since 1979, the Treaty of Amity which allowed for E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visas had continued to remain in place. It is unknown how many Iranian nationals in the United States in E classification will be affected by this change.