As US-Iranian tensions rise in the wake of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani’s death and a series of Washington sanctions targeting Tehran, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the DHS revealed that Iranians will no longer be eligible for E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant visas, and those already in the US under such authorizations must leave upon their expiry dates.
“E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant visa classifications allow an alien of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States for the purposes of engaging in international trade or investing a substantial amount of capital into a US business,” the USCIS explained in its January 23 news alert.
The DHS document referenced in the alert attributes the move to the termination of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights between Iran and the US on October 3, 2018.
The UN’s International Court of Justice ruled in October 2018 that Washington had violated the Treaty of Amity when it reimposed sanctions on Tehran in May 2018, shortly after withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.
Shortly after Iran’s victory in court, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would be terminating the 1955 agreement and proceeded to accuse Iran of consistently violating the treaty over the past several decades.
While the visa decision has been in the making since October 2018, it comes alongside US President Donald Trump’s proclamation this week that the US would be expanding its travel ban.
"Our country has to be safe, so we have a very strong travel ban and we'll be adding a few countries to it,” he said Wednesday during a press conference while in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is planning to add a total of seven countries to the travel ban list, including Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The outlet noted that not all countries listed will be subject to the same restrictions, as some bans will only apply to certain visas.
Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen are the current subjects of Trump’s travel ban.