ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Should you decide to travel to Iran despite the current Travel Warning, a passport and visa are required, except for travel to Kish Island.
U.S. citizens traveling to Iran are being 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 have to obtain valid visas from the Iranian Interests Section in Washington. Note: possession of a valid Iranian visa will not guarantee entry into the country. Some American 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. 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 a visitor with only American citizenship. (See section on Special Circumstances below.)
In the past, U.S.-Iranian dual nationals have been denied permission to enter/depart Iran using their U.S. passport; they have also had their U.S. passports confiscated upon arrival or departure. (Depending on the circumstances, the individuals were sometimes able to retrieve their U.S. passports after renouncing their Iranian citizenship.)
Recently, Iranian authorities have prevented a number of Iranian-American citizen academics, journalists, and others who traveled to Iran for personal reasons from leaving, and in some cases have detained and imprisoned them on various charges, including espionage and being a threat to the regime. Americans of Iranian origin should consider the risk of being targeted by authorities before planning travel to Iran. Iranian authorities may deny dual nationals' access to the United States Interests Section in Tehran, because they are considered to be solely Iranian citizens.
As a precaution, however, it is advisable for U.S.-Iranian dual nationals to obtain in their Iranian passports the necessary visas for the country which they will transit upon their return to the U.S. 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 that third country.
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, which is 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. 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. 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. As of March 21, 2006, a foreign national and anyone accompanying him/her will pay a fine of 300,000 rials or 30,000 ottomans per day for each day of unauthorized stay in Iran.
All Iranian nationals, including U.S.-Iranian dual nationals, must have an exit permit stamped in their Iranian passports in order to depart Iran. The stamp is affixed to the Iranian passport when it is issued and remains valid until the expiration date of the passport. All Iranian nationals residing abroad and in Iran, including U.S.-Iranian dual nationals, are now 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, D.C.
Non-Iranian-national women who marry Iranian citizens gain Iranian nationality upon marriage. If the marriage takes place in Iran, the woman's American passport will be confiscated by Iranian authorities. They must have the consent of their husbands 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 an American 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 the child reaches age 7, at which point custody is automatically transferred 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 the minor children (under age 18) to leave the country. Iran is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Please see the Department of State's International Parental Child Abduction flyer on Iran for further information.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Iran is a constitutional Islamic republic with a theocratic system of government where ultimate political authority is vested in a religious scholar, the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official religion of Iran, and Islamic law is the basis of the authority of the state. The Iranian Constitution guarantees freedom of worship to Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, though they are sometimes the subject of discrimination and repression. The workweek in Iran is Saturday through Thursday; however, many government offices and private companies are closed on Thursdays. Friday is the day of rest when all establishments are closed. Offices in Iran are generally open to the public during the morning hours only.
REGISTRATION/U.S. INTERESTS SECTION LOCATION: There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Iran. The Embassy of Switzerland serves as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran. The U.S. Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy is currently located at Afrika Avenue, West Farzan Street, no. 59, Tehran. The telephone numbers for the U.S. Interests Section are (98) 021-8878-2964 and 98-021-8879-2364, fax 98-021-8877-3265, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The workweek is Sunday through Thursday. Public service hours are 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. The Interests Section does not issue U.S. visas or accept visa applications. The limited consular services provided to U.S. citizens in Tehran include:
(a) registering U.S. citizens;
(b) answering inquiries concerning the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Iran;
(c) rendering assistance in times of distress or physical danger;
(d) providing U.S. citizens with passport and Social Security card applications and other citizenship forms for approval at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland;
(e) performing notarial services on the basis of accommodation; and,
(f) taking provisional custody of the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens.
Americans living or traveling in Iran are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Iran. They may also register on the web site of the U.S. Interests Section at www.eda.admin.ch/tehran. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before flying to Iran. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the U.S. Interests Section to contact them in case of emergency.
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