California residents may know that the relationship between the United States and Iran has been strained since President Donald Trump took the oath of office in January 2017. The Trump administration recently took another step to isolate the Iranian government when it announced that Iranian nationals should no longer be eligible to receive E1 or E2 non-immigrant visas. News of the policy change was contained in a Jan. 22 press release from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The chain of events that led to the E1 and E2 visa announcement began when the Trump administration imposed harsh sanctions on Iran that were designed to deter the country from developing nuclear weapons. Iran claimed that the sanctions violated a treaty signed between the two countries in August 1955, and the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled in Iran’s favor and ordered the United States to lift the sanctions.

The United States instead chose to invoke Article 23 of the treaty, which allows either country to cancel the accord one year after giving written notice. The United States gave written notice in October 2018. E1 and E2 visas allow citizens of foreign countries with trade or investment treaties with the United States to enter the country to invest, secure investment or conduct business. The Trump administration says that Iranian citizens should no longer be eligible for E1 or E2 visas because Iran is no longer a party to such a treaty.

Attorneys with experience in employment immigration cases may explain the various visa programs available to individuals who wish to work legally in the United States. There are many paths available, but federal immigration laws are often confusing to those unfamiliar with government rules and regulations. Attorneys may assist immigrants with their application paperwork and help them to avoid common pitfalls as they navigate the bureaucratic process.