The American Immigration Lawyers Association has received reports of the U.S. government’s increased scrutiny of individuals of Iranian descent. Such scrutiny occurs when Iranian nationals try to enter the U.S. or apply for a U.S. travel visa. The reports include individuals in nonimmigrant status, Lawful Permanent Residents—an unbelievably, U.S. Citizen. One reason for denial of a visa or refused admission is prior military service. Iranian males are required to complete military service and are randomly assigned to one of the branches of the military. In 2019, the U.S. designated one branch of the Iranian government’s military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as a terrorist organization. As a result, prior military service in Iran can result in an individual being inadmissible to the U.S. This finding is sometimes extended to those who served in one of the other (non-designated) branches of the Iranian military, or to family members, such as spouses.
Individuals of Iranian descent should prepare for more scrutiny when entering the U.S. This may mean more questions, being placed in secondary inspection, and/or a temporary search or seizure of electronic devices. It could also mean a denial of admission into the U.S., or a denial or revocation of your visa. Iranian nationals who have documentation showing they did not serve in the military may bring this evidence while traveling. If you have had issues with entering the U.S., you might also consider filing a redress inquiry through the Department of Homeland Security. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor this issue for our clients.