Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
Should you decide to travel to Iran despite the current Travel Warning, a passport (valid for six months beyond duration of stay) and visa are required, except for travel to Kish Island where a visa is not required. Travelers should not attempt to enter mainland Iran from Kish without 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); email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. citizens traveling to Iran are fingerprinted upon entry. The Iranian press has reported that foreign tourists may obtain seven-day 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, DC. Note: possession of a valid Iranian visa will not guarantee entry into the country. Some U.S. citizen travelers with valid visas have been refused entry at the border without explanation. U.S. citizens do not have to obtain a visa for travel from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Kish Island.
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 subject to Iranian laws. Thus, U.S. citizens who were born in Iran, who became naturalized citizens of Iran (e.g., through marriage to an Iranian citizen), and children of such persons—even those without Iranian passports who do not consider themselves Iranian—are considered Iranian nationals by Iranian authorities. Therefore, despite the fact that these individuals hold U.S. citizenship, under Iranian law, they must enter and exit Iran on an Iranian passport unless the Iranian government has recognized a formal renunciation or loss of Iranian citizenship. Dual nationals may be subject to harsher legal treatment than visitors with only U.S. citizenship. (See section on Special Circumstances below.)
Iranian authorities have prevented a number of U.S. citizen academics, scientists, journalists, and others who traveled to Iran for personal/cultural/business reasons from leaving the country and in some cases have detained, interrogated, and imprisoned them on unknown or various charges, including espionage and being a threat to the regime. 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 U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran because they consider dual nationals to be solely Iranian citizens.
As a precaution, it is advisable for U.S.-Iranian dual nationals to obtain, in their Iranian passports, the necessary visas for the countries they will transit upon their return to the United States so that if their U.S. passports are confiscated in Iran, they may depart Iran with their Iranian passport. These individuals can then apply for a new U.S. passport in the country they are transiting.
No visa is required for Iranian nationals traveling to Turkey, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia, or Armenia.
Dual nationals whose U.S. passports are confiscated may also obtain a “Confirmation of Nationality” from the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland, the U.S. protecting power. This statement, addressed to the relevant foreign embassies in Tehran, enables the travelers to apply for third-country visas in Tehran, provided they meet Schengen States' criteria for a visa. Dual nationals finding themselves in this situation should note in advance that the Swiss Embassy would issue this statement only after the traveler's U.S. nationality is confirmed and after some processing delay. A "Confirmation of Nationality" would be considered in lieu of the standard invitation letter that all Schengen visa applicants are required to present; however, it does not guarantee issuance of an entry visa. Dual nationals must enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.
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 of 300,000 rials or 30,000 tomans per day for each day of unauthorized stay in Iran.
U.S. citizens, whose stay surpasses six months and whose domicile is 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 and every 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. U.S.-Iranian dual nationals are no longer required to pay an exit tax regardless of the duration of their stay in Iran. More specific information on Iranian passport and exit visa requirements may be obtained from the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC.
Non-Iranian-national women who marry Iranian citizens gain Iranian nationality upon marriage. If the marriage takes place in Iran, the woman’s U.S. passport will be confiscated by Iranian authorities. A woman must have the consent of her husband to leave Iran or, in his absence, must gain the permission of the local prosecutor. Iranian law, combined with the lack of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, means that the U.S. Interests Section in Tehran can provide only very limited assistance if a U.S. citizen woman married to an Iranian man has marital difficulties and/or encounters difficulty in leaving Iran.
After divorce or death of the husband, a foreign-born woman has the choice to renounce her Iranian citizenship, but any of the couple’s children will automatically be Iranian citizens and their citizenship is irrevocable. They will be required to enter and depart Iran on Iranian passports. For a divorce to be recognized it should be carried out in Iran or, if outside Iran, in accordance with Sharia law. Upon divorce, custody of the children normally goes to the mother until children reach age 7, at which point custody automatically transfers to the father. However, if the courts determine that the father is unsuitable to raise the children, they may grant custody to the paternal grandfather or to the mother, if the mother has not renounced her Iranian citizenship and is normally resident in Iran. 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 to leave the country. 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.