On January 22, 2020 the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Iranian citizens will no longer be eligible for the E1 treaty trader and E2 treaty investor visas or extensions of status based on the treaty. The US terminated the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights with Iran after a time of continuous tension between the U.S and Iran; the conditions of the treaty provided for the E1 trader visa and E2 investor visa.
On July 16, 2018, Iran filed a lawsuit against the United States with the International Court of Justice in Hague, the Netherlands stating that the US has violated the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights after numerous sanctions have been made by Washington against Tehran. Subsequently, the International Court of Justice ordered the United States to ensure that a new round of American sanctions will not prevent food, medicine, and aircraft parts from reaching Iran. The US responded by terminating the 1955 Treaty with Iran on October 3, 2018. The 1955 Treaty provides a timeline for ratification and allows for its cancellation by either party “by giving one year’s written notice.”
The U.S.-Iranian Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights was signed by the two countries on August 15, 1955. The treaty came into force in a period when the Iranian government was trying to attract foreign investors and placed emphasis on friendly relations, encouraged mutual trade and investments and regulated consular relations. Ever since it came into force in 1957, the treaty provided the legal framework for bilateral relations between Iran and the United States, including the E1 treaty trader visa and E2 treaty investor visa.
The USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans stated that “[t]here are no other qualifying treaties with Iran currently in force or other Iran-specific bases for granting or extending E-1 or E-2 status to Iranian nationals. 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.”
As for the E1 and E2 visa applications submitted after October 3, 2018, the USCIS will be issuing “Notices of Intent to Deny” to the Iranian applicants. On the other hand, the Iranians who currently hold E1 or E2 visas will only be allowed to remain in the US until their current status expires. It also has been made public that the Trump administration had set restrictions for the Islamic Republic of Iran diplomats travelling to the US.
Although the U.S. will no longer grant E1 and E2 visas for Iranian citizens, this will not prevent Iranian citizens from finding new ways of entering the United States. An example is the increase of Iranian investors gaining Turkish citizenship since September 2018 due to Ankara lowering the investment threshold for citizenship from $1 million to $250,000. Between September 2018 and July 2019 almost 1,000 foreigners have become Turkish citizens and over 250 of them were Iranians. After acquiring Turkish citizenship, citizens of Iran can again qualify for E1 treaty trader and E2 investor visas because the United States has an E1 and E2 treaty with Turkey.
The termination of the 1955 Treaty along with the extended conflict between the United States and Iran comes at a time when major adjustments have been made to the E1 and E2 visa status for other countries including Israel and France which had the validity of their visa recently reduced.
Our business immigration attorneys in Miami, Florida USA assist investors and entrepreneurs to with E2 investor visa application process and related services. For more information about the E2 visa or other visa options contact our business visa attorneys in Miami, Florida or schedule a consultation.
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