Federal law affecting Iranian students in the energy, nuclear science, nuclear engineering or related fields
 

Updates from the Department of Homeland Security / Department of State

Date of Announcement: July 29, 2013

The “Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act” was enacted August 10, 2012. According to Section 501, Iranian citizens are ineligible for U.S. visas if they are seeking to enter the U.S. to participate in coursework at an institution of higher education for a career in Iran’s:

  • Petroleum sector;
  • Natural gas sector;
  • Nuclear energy sector; or,
  • Nuclear science field; or,
  • Nuclear engineering field.

Examples of fields of study that render a visa applicant ineligible include:

  • Petroleum engineering;
  • Petroleum management;
  • Nuclear science;
  • Nuclear engineering; or,
  • A related field.

Individuals seeking to study in other fields, such as business, management or computer science, but who intend to use these skills in Iran’s oil, natural gas or nuclear energy sectors, are also ineligible for visas.  Consular officers will review each visa application submitted on or after August 10, 2012, to determine if the applicant is ineligible for a visa under this provision.




Date of Announcement: September 5, 2012

Good afternoon,

This message is to inform you of the new law affecting Iranian students in the energy, nuclear science, nuclear engineering or related fields. Although this may not affect you, we are sending you this message as an FYI.

Per Section 501 of the recently enacted Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, the Department of State (DOS) will deny student visas to any Iranian citizens seeking higher education in the United States to pursue post-secondary studies in the energy, nuclear science, nuclear engineering or related fields.

In addition, Iranian applicants in the United States wishing to change immigration status to F-1 to pursue post-secondary studies in the aforementioned fields will be denied by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Since the law is brand new, it remains to be seen how broadly DOS and DHS will define a “related” field.  It is also unclear how this will impact Iranian F-1 students applying for subsequent F-1 visas while continuing with their studies, or Iranian F-1 students applying for OPT (Optional Practical Training: an F-1 work authorization option).

On August 31, 2012, DHS announced that supplementary guidance was forthcoming. Until the DOS and DHS issue implementation guidance in this matter, we caution our Iranian students to refrain from traveling outside the U.S.

We will post any relevant updates on our website.

Regards,

The ISSS Staff