Is Visiting Iran a Problem to get US Visit Visa

With all the back and forth regarding the US banning the entry of visitors from certain countries and the ongoing concerns regarding America backing out of the Iran nuclear treaty, it certainly does not seem to be the best time to visit the USA after a tour of Iran.

According to the US visa guidelines, if you have visited Iran and wish to travel to the US from there, you will need to apply for the relevant visa, even if you are a citizen of one of the countries on America’s Visa Waver Program (VWP) or have obtained an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

On the other hand re- entering the US is hassle free for VWP countries; rest will require a valid visa. However, there are some exceptions for this.

Exceptions to the US VWP

Almost 38 countries are part of the VWP, although there are some exceptions for even people traveling to the US from these countries:

  • If you have traveled to certain countries, including Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, on or after March 1, 2011, you will need to apply for a US visa.
  • If you have dual citizenship, with one of the countries being Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, you will need a valid passport with a visa stamp, instead of the ESTA.

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Special Cases Permitted Under the VWP

In some cases, the waiver policy might still be granted. If you have visited Iran, Iraq and the above-mentioned countries for specific army operations or as a government employee, you can enter the US under the VWP, without the need for a visa. You will, however, have to produce valid documents for staying in any of the above-mentioned countries.

If you plan to visit Iran, I would suggest you visit the US Embassy or Consulate closest to you to check for an updates on their rules.

If you have any questions, please ask in comments.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.

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