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Iran Entry Requirements - Required Travel Documents for Travel to Iran

Iran Friday Mosque YazdA State Department Travel Warning is currently in effect for U.S. citizens traveling to Iran. Those who do choose to enter Iran must have a passport with six months validity beyond the intended departure date and an Iranian visa for all areas except Kish Island. Travelers will not be permitted to transfer to mainland Iran from Kish unless they have a visa. To obtain a visa, contact the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan located at 2209 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC. 20007; tel. 202-965-4990, 91, 92, 93, 94, 99, fax 202-965-1073, 202-965-4990 (Automated Fax-On-Demand after office hours). You can also apply through a private visa expediting service.

U.S. citizens will have their fingerprints taken when they enter Iran. U.S. citizens must obtain a visa ahead of time. Even with a valid Iranian visa, U.S. citizens have occasionally been denied entrance without explanation. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to visit Kish Island from the United Arab Emirates and Dubai.

The Iranian government does not recognize dual American-Iranian nationality. If U.S. citizens were born in Iran, became a naturalized Iranian, or were born to Iranian parents, they will be considered Iranian citizens and subject to Iranian law unless the government has recognized a formal renunciation of citizenship. Under those laws, anyone considered an Iranian citizen must enter and exit the country on an Iranian passport.

U.S. citizens have encountered trouble in Iran due to their professional occupations. Academics, scientists, journalists, and some others may be suspected of subversive activity and be subject to detention, interrogation, or imprisonment. U.S. citizens of Iranian origin have also been targeted for detention or harassment by Iranian officials.

Dual nationals are advised to secure an Iranian passport and secure visas for onward travel in their Iranian passport in case their U.S. documents are confiscated. If necessary, they can depart the country with their Iranian documentation and apply for a replacement passport at their subsequent destination.

The U.S. interests section of the Embassy of Switzerland is the U.S. protecting power in Iran. If dual nationals lose their U.S. passport, they may apply for "Confirmation of Nationality which would allow them to apply for third-country visas at embassies in Tehran. The Swiss Embassy must be able to confirm U.S. citizenship, and the statement may take some time to process. In the case of dual nationals, Iranian authorities may deny them access to the Swiss Embassy's U.S. Interests Section for the sole reason that they do not recognize dual nationality.

Non-resident U.S. citizens must have an exit permit for stays longer than 12 months. Iranian residents with U.S. citizenship must have an exit permit each time they leave the country, even for periods of stay less than 6 months. Visitors exiting Iran must pay a departure tax unless they have dual U.S.-Iranian nationality.

Women who are not Iranian citizens become naturalized automatically upon marriage to an Iranian national. The woman's U.S. passport will be confiscated if the marriage occurs within Iran. The wife will not be permitted to leave the country without her husband's permission or the permission of the local prosecutor, and the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland can provide only minimal support to her in the event of marital problems or difficulty leaving the country.

Foreign-born women may denounce their Iranian citizenship upon the death of their husbands or after divorce, but any children will have automatic and irrevocable Iranian citizenship. Divorce must be carried out in Iran or in accordance with Sharia law in order to be recognized. Women are typically granted guardianship of the children until age seven at which point full custody reverts to the father. If the father is an unsuitable parent, custody may go to the mother or paternal grandfather. Women are rarely granted true custody, and must almost always have the permission of the father or grandfather for any legal decisions regarding the children. Iran has not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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