Administrative Processing

Addressing Delays and Discrimination: The Challenge for Iranian Visa Applicants in the US

Addressing Delays and Discrimination: The Challenge for Iranian Visa Applicants in the US

In a recent legal development reported by Britain Eakin for Law360 on January 2, 2024, a group of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of Iranian descent, along with their family members aspiring to immigrate to the U.S., have initiated a lawsuit against Biden administration officials. This case focuses on what is described as a "pseudo-travel ban," a lingering effect of a Trump-era policy that has caused significant delays in visa processing for Iranian applicants.

This lawsuit, filed by the Pars Equality Center and the Iranian American plaintiffs, represents a crucial battle against an ongoing challenge in U.S. immigration policy. The policy in question involves a procedural hurdle related to the DS-5535 form, a vetting document required by the U.S. State Department. The complaint alleges that the State Department's current approach, which demands the submission of this form at the end of the visa application process, has led to unreasonable and prolonged delays, severely impacting the lives of the applicants and their families.

The heart of the issue lies in the handling of the DS-5535 form, a document that gathers extensive details, including social media handles and 15 years of employment and travel history. According to Curtis Morrison of Red Eagle Law LC, representing the plaintiffs, the delayed request for this information is causing unacceptable hold-ups in visa adjudications, with some applicants waiting between 229 and 645 days since their interviews without a final decision.

This case sheds light on the broader implications of U.S. immigration policy, particularly how procedural nuances can significantly affect the lives of immigrants and their families. For Iranian visa applicants, this has meant enduring indefinite family separation and ongoing emotional and financial strain. The complaint argues that this situation amounts to a de facto travel ban, perpetuating discrimination and uncertainty for a specific group of immigrants.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to compel the State Department to cease this practice and provide final adjudications on the plaintiffs' visa applications. This legal action is not just about addressing bureaucratic inefficiencies; it's a fight for fairness and equality in the U.S. immigration system.

As immigration law experts, it's our duty to stay informed and provide guidance on such critical issues. This case is a stark reminder of the challenges that many immigrants face and underscores the importance of advocating for fair and transparent immigration processes. Whether advising clients or shaping policy discussions, understanding cases like this is essential in our ongoing effort to support and defend immigrant rights.

In conclusion, the lawsuit by the Pars Equality Center and Iranian American plaintiffs against Biden administration officials is a significant moment in U.S. immigration law. It highlights the ongoing struggles of specific immigrant groups and the need for legal intervention to ensure equitable treatment. As we continue to serve our clients and the broader immigrant community, this case serves as a powerful example of the importance of vigilance and advocacy in the face of injustice.


Britain Eakin, "Iranian Visa Applicants Sue Feds Over 'Pseudo-Travel Ban'," Law360, January 2, 2024

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