Come on down
Easing restrictions on U.S. visas for Iranians
By Frederick R. Troncone
June 23, 1999
On April 26, 1999, U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset
Control issued a new regulation which clears the path for U.S. employers
to sponsor Iranians resident in Iran for employment-based immigrant and
non-immigrant visas. This is welcome news to both U.S. sponsors and to
targeted Iranian beneficiaries living in Iran who have been unable to process
for U.S. visas since July 29, 1997.
More specifically, beginning April 26, 1999, U.S. employers are again
authorized to file necessary immigrant and/or non-immigrant visa petitions
for professional and skilled workers who are currently resident in the
Iran. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service will now process
the necessary filings for Iranian workers coming out of Iran in the same
manner as they process workers coming from other countries around the world.
The exception to this resumption of normalcy in immigration processing
for Iranians applies to U.S. businesses which are either owned by the government
of Iran or U.S. businesses whose current ownership can be traced back to
The U.S. does not maintain an embassy post in Iran. All U.S. interests
are handled through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, and they do not have authority
to issue U.S. visas. Therefore, until U.S.-Iranian relations improve to
the next level, Iranians resident in Iran must continue to process for
their immigrant based visas through U.S. consulates in Turkey (Istanbul
and Ankara), or in the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi or Dubai).
While in theory it is possible for Iranians resident in Iran to file
for non-immigrant visas at any U.S. consulate, most non-immigrant visa
applicants should plan on processing in Turkey or in the UAE because it
is difficult for Iranians to obtain an entry visa for many countries (even
for the specific purpose of applying for a U.S. visa).
Regarding cases that were suspended by the U.S. consulates due to the
affect of the U.S. trade sanctions on or after July 29,1987, based upon
a recent exchange of communications with respective visa chiefs in Turkey
and UAE, the clear message is that affected businesses and/or worker beneficiaries
must bring their cases to the attention of the U.S. consulate in order
to restart the visa issuance process.
Also, given the passage of time after the INS' approval of the underlying
visa petition, we were further advised that it may be necessary in some
cases to update certain data/or documents in order to resume processing
and bring the matter to a successful conclusion.
Frederick R. Troncone is an American immigration lawyer and member
of the Iranian Trade Association.
He he paid a ten-day visit to Iran this month. TO TOP
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