Tourist visa to IRAN

To obtain a visa, contact the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C. The Iranian press has reported that foreign tourists may obtain tourist visas at the airport in Tehran, however U.S. citizens are not eligible to receive these visas and must obtain valid visas from the Iranian Interests Section at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C., or at an Iranian diplomatic mission in a third country. Travelers should not attempt to enter mainland Iran from Kish Island without a visa. Possession of a valid Iranian visa will not guarantee entry into the country. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran are fingerprinted upon entry.

U.S. passports are valid for travel to Iran. However, the Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality and will treat U.S.-Iranian dual nationals solely as Iranian citizens. Under the Iranian civil code, Iranian nationality may be acquired through birth to an Iranian father, birth in Iran under certain circumstances, residence in Iran under certain circumstances, marriage to an Iranian man, and other forms of naturalization. Thus, Iranian authorities may consider some U.S. citizens – even those without Iranian passports who do not consider themselves to be Iranian – to be Iranian nationals. U.S.-Iranian dual nationals must enter and exit Iran on Iranian passports.

Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Iranian authorities have also prevented the departure, in some cases for months, of U.S. citizens who traveled to Iran for personal or professional reasons. U.S. citizens of Iranian origin should consider the risk of being targeted by authorities before planning travel to Iran. Iranian authorities routinely deny dual nationals access to the Foreign Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran because they consider dual nationals to be solely Iranian citizens.

U.S. government employees, including contractors, are strictly prohibited from traveling to Iran for official purposes. In addition, private travel to Iran is forbidden for many U.S. government employees, including contractors, without prior authorization from the Department of State. Any U.S. government employee or contractor considering private travel to Iran should contact the Department of State’s Office of Iranian Affairs for guidance.

We recommend that U.S.-Iranian dual nationals obtain, in their Iranian passports, the necessary visas for the countries they will transit on their return trip to the United States so that if the U.S. passports are confiscated in Iran, they may depart Iran with their Iranian passports. These individuals can then apply for new U.S. passports in the country they are transiting. Dual nationals must enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports and enter and depart Iran on Iranian passports.

Dual nationals whose U.S. passports are confiscated may also obtain a “Recommendation Letter” from the Foreign Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland, the U.S. protecting power. This statement enables the travelers to apply for third-country visas in Tehran, provided they meet criteria for a visa of the country they are transiting. The Swiss Embassy can issue this statement only after the traveler’s U.S. nationality is confirmed, which may take some time. A “Recommendation Letter” would be considered in lieu of the standard invitation letter that all visa applicants are required to present; however, it does not guarantee issuance of an entry visa.

Iranian visa extensions are time-consuming and must be filed at least one week in advance of the expiration date. A foreign national and anyone accompanying him/her will pay a fine between 300,000 and 350,000 rials (IRR) or between 30,000 and 35,000 tomans per day for each day of unauthorized stay in Iran.

U.S. citizens who stay in Iran longer than one year, and who reside outside Iran, need to obtain an exit permit to leave the country. U.S. citizens residing in Iran on permanent resident visas must obtain an exit permit each time they depart Iran, regardless of the period of stay. Although an exit stamp is no longer inserted into the passport, the exit tax must still be paid. All holders of an Iranian passport are required to pay an exit tax regardless of the duration of their stay in Iran. More specific information on Iranian passport and exit permit requirements may be obtained from the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.

The Iranian civil code states that non-Iranian women who marry Iranian men acquire Iranian nationality. Under Iranian law, the appropriate Iranian authorities must be notified of and recognize a marriage whether it is contracted in Iran or abroad. If the marriage takes place in Iran, the woman’s U.S. passport may be confiscated by Iranian authorities. A woman must have the consent of her husband to leave Iran or, in his absence, consent from another suitable authority. A husband may provide blanket permission when his wife receives her Iranian passport or require her to obtain permission for each trip abroad. Due to the nature of Iranian law and lack of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, the Foreign Interests Section in Tehran can provide only limited assistance if a U.S. citizen woman married to an Iranian man has marital difficulties and/or encounters difficulty in leaving Iran. In addition, if marriage to an Iranian citizen is not officially recognized by the Iranian government, the couple will be committing the crime of adultery if they travel together. Under Iranian law, the maximum penalty for adultery is death; at the very least, such couples would be unable to travel or stay at a hotel together in Iran.

After divorce or death of her Iranian husband, a foreign-born woman may renounce her Iranian citizenship unless she is a widow with children from the marriage who are under 18 years old. The children would remain Iranian citizens unless they completed the renunciation process as adults as prescribed in the Iranian civil code. They will be required to enter and depart Iran on Iranian passports. Under Iranian law, the appropriate Iranian authorities must be notified of and recognize a divorce whether it is granted in Iran or abroad. Upon divorce, custody of the children normally goes to the mother until children reach age seven, at which point custody automatically transfers to the father. Even if the courts grant custody to the mother, she will need permission from the paternal grandfather or the courts to obtain exit visas for children under age 18. The term “custody” in the United States does not have the same legal meaning in Iran. In Iran a woman is granted “guardianship,” and only in very rare cases is actually granted “custody.” Even if the woman has “custody/guardianship”, all legal decisions (e.g., application for a passport, permission to exit Iran, etc.) still require the consent of the father. Iran is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to Iran. If you intend to reside in Iran, you must submit to a blood test, which may include an HIV test, in order to apply for a residency permit. Permits will be refused if the HIV test is positive.

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