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International Travel

English

Country Information

Iran

Country Information

Iran
Iran
Last Updated: February 24, 2017
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Embassy Messages
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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes, except for Kish Island

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Over $10,000 must be declared

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

Over $10,000 must be declared

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Embassies and Consulates

Embassy of Switzerland – Foreign Interests Section

No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th)
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran

Telephone: (98) (21) 2254-2178 and (98) (21) 2256-5273

Fax: (98) (21) 2258-0432

All consular services require prior appointments which can be made by phone. The Foreign Interests Section can be reached by phone Sunday through Thursday between 7:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The Interests Section does not issue U.S. visas or accept visa applications. The Foreign Interests Section provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens in Tehran including:

  • Registering U.S. citizens
  • Responding to inquiries concerning the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Iran
  • Rendering assistance in times of distress or physical danger
  • Providing U.S. citizens with passport and Social Security card applications and other citizenship forms for processing at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland
  • Performing notarial services
  • Taking provisional custody of the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens
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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Iran for information on U.S.-Iranian relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Before traveling to Iran, please consider the current Travel Warning.

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.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

U.S. citizens who travel to Iran despite the Travel Warning should exercise caution throughout the country, but especially in the southeastern region where Westerners have been victims of criminal gangs often involved in the smuggling of drugs and other contraband. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to areas within 100 kilometers of the border with Afghanistan, within 10 kilometers of the border with Iraq, and generally anywhere east of the line from Bam and Bandar Abbas toward the Pakistani border. 
 
U.S. citizens are advised to avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings. Continued political tension between Iran and the West is a cause of concern for U.S. citizen travelers. Large-scale demonstrations in response to politically motivated events have taken place sporadically throughout the country, resulting in a significant security presence, arrests, and clashes between demonstrators and security officials. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. U.S. passport holders who are arrested or detained by Iranian authorities should request assistance from the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran.
 
Iranian security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, computers, fax machines, and other electronics may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. The Iranian authorities may also confiscate cell phones, computers, and other devices. U.S. citizens should consider not taking electronic devices to Iran or deleting personal information from them beforehand.

Iran is prone to earthquakes, many of them severe. To learn more about the seismic regions of Iran, including the most recent earthquakes, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey website.

Crime: Foreigners occasionally become victims of petty street crime, including robberies and bag-snatchings, in Iran. There have been reports of robberies by police impersonators, usually in civilian clothing. Insist on seeing the officer’s identity card and request the presence of a uniformed officer/marked patrol car. Travelers should take the following precautions:

  • Do not surrender any documents or cash.
  • Make a copy of your U.S. passport (biographical data page and the page with your Iranian visa) and keep it separate from your original passport.
  • Do not carry large amounts of hard currency while on the streets.
  • Keep important documents such as passports and valuables in hotel safes or other secure locations.
  • Take pre-booked taxis, which are safer than those hailed from the street.
  • Check with your hotel or tour guide for information on local scams. 
  • Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, purchasing them may also violate local law. 

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 110 and contact the Swiss Foreign Interests Section at (98) (21) 2254-2178. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Iran is: 115 for ambulance service, 125 for fire, and 110 for police. English speakers, however, are generally unavailable. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Swiss Foreign Interests Section for assistance. U.S. citizens should keep in mind, however, that the Foreign Interests Section may be able to provide limited assistance only and that Iranian law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence. Iranian authorities consider domestic violence to be a private matter and seldom discuss it publicly. As noted in the Department of State’s 2015 edition of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, some nongovernmental shelters and hotlines assisted victims during the year, but such services were virtually nonexistent outside major cities.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: While you are traveling in Iran, you are subject to its laws even though you are a U.S. citizen. U.S. citizens in Iran who violate Iranian laws, even unknowingly, including laws unfamiliar to Westerners, may be expelled, arrested, imprisoned (long prison terms and solitary confinement are common), or subject to other punishments depending on the crime including execution, amputation, flogging, blinding, stoning, and fines.  

Examples of local laws that you may be unfamiliar with include:

  • Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, as well as persons who encourage Muslims to convert, are subject to arrest and possible execution.
  • Drinking, possession of alcoholic beverages, and drugs are illegal. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Iran are severe and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Iran executes many people each year on drug-related charges. Penalties for the possession, use, or smuggling of alcoholic beverages may include fines, jail time, or flogging.
  • Men and women must adhere to the government-sanctioned dress code; this includes covered hair, arms, and legs for women. Failure to adhere to the government’s dress code and public displays of affection with a member of the opposite sex is considered to be a crime.
  • Relations between non-Muslim men and Muslim women are illegal, as are adultery and sex outside of marriage, which are punishable by the death penalty.
  • DVDs depicting sexual relations and magazines showing unveiled women are forbidden.
  • Photography near military and other government installations is strictly prohibited and could result in serious criminal charges, including espionage, which carries the death penalty.
  • Importation of pork products is banned.
  • Insulting the government or Muslim faith is strictly forbidden, including on social media. Such violations of Iranian law may result in imprisonment.

Carry a copy of your U.S. passport (biodata page and page with Iranian visa) and some other form of identification with you at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of U.S. citizenship is readily available.

If you are arrested while in Iran, request that the police and prison officials notify the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran immediately to ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances. Under Iranian law, detainees may also request legal representation, although the authorities often fail to allow timely access to an attorney according to the Department of State’s 2015 edition of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal: The Iranian government reportedly has the names of all individuals who filed claims against Iran at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague pursuant to the 1981 Algerian Accords. In addition, the Iranian government reportedly has compiled a list of the claimants who were awarded compensation in the Iran Claims Program administered by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. The Iranian government has allegedly been targeting award-holders who travel to Iran. It has been reported that upon some claimants' entry into Iran, Iranian authorities have questioned them as to the status of payment of their respective awards with a view to recouping the award money. The Iranian government has also reportedly threatened to prevent U.S. claimants who visit Iran from departing the country until they make arrangements to repay their award either in part or its entirety.

Dual Nationality: Iran considers dual nationals to be solely Iranian citizens. Dual nationals sometimes have their U.S. passports confiscated and may be denied permission to leave Iran, or encounter other problems with Iranian authorities. Likewise, Iranian authorities may deny dual nationals’ access to the Foreign Interests Section in Tehran. Refer to the above section entitled "Entry/Exit Requirements" for additional information concerning dual nationality.

U.S. citizens who also possess Iranian citizenship are subject to laws that impose special obligations on citizens of Iran, such as military service or taxes. Iranian-citizen males aged 18-34 are required to perform military service, unless exempt.  This requirement includes Iranian-Americans, even those born in the United States.  Young men who have turned 17 years of age will not be allowed to leave Iran without completing their military service.

Employment: Do not work illegally. You will be deported, fined, and/or imprisoned. You may also be prevented from re-entering the country. The Iranian government has seized the passports and blocked the departure of foreigners who work in Iran on tax/commercial disputes.

Codes of Behavior and Dress: Islamic law is strictly enforced in Iran. Alcohol is forbidden. Women must wear a headscarf and a long jacket that covers the arms and upper legs while in public. Men may be required to wear long pants and cannot go bare-chested or wear tank tops, especially near religious sites or in conservative areas. There may be additional dress requirements at certain religious sites. Consult a guide book on Iran to determine how to dress and behave properly and respectfully. During the holy month of Ramadan, you should generally observe the Muslim tradition of not eating, drinking, or smoking in public from sunrise to sunset each day, though there are exemptions for foreign travelers who eat in hotel restaurants. In general, it is best to ask before taking photographs of people. Hobbies like photography and those involving the use of binoculars (e.g., bird-watching) can be misunderstood and may cause trouble with security officials.

Money: Non-Iranian credit cards and bank cards cannot be used in Iran. You will not be able to access U.S. or foreign bank accounts using ATMs in Iran. You can exchange U.S. dollars for rials, either at banks or with certified money changers but it is rarely possible  to exchange traveler’s checks. Do not exchange currency on the street, and keep your exchange receipts. Bring enough hard currency to cover your stay, but make sure you declare this currency upon entry into Iran. There is no Western Union or similar institution and bank transfers are not possible. Due to economic sanctions on Iran, financial institutions have been known to block or freeze accounts of persons accessing financial accounts via the Internet from Iran. Any import and/or export of over 10,000 USD (or its equivalent in other foreign currencies) must be declared by submitting the relevant bank notice or any other document which proves that the amount was withdrawn from a foreign currency account or the sale of foreign currency.

Communication: Pre-paid overseas calling cards are available at most newsagents. The Internet is widely used in Iran. There are Internet cafes in most hotels; however, usage may be monitored. The Iranian government blocks access to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Sanctions: U.S. government economic sanctions prohibit most economic activity between U.S. citizens and Iran. In general, unless licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), goods, technology, or services may not be exported, re-exported, sold or supplied, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by a U.S. citizen, wherever he or she is located, to Iran or the Government of Iran. With limited exceptions, goods or services of Iranian origin may not be imported into the United States, either directly or through third countries.

OFAC regulations provide general licenses authorizing the performance of certain categories of transactions. Such general licenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • articles donated to relieve human suffering (such as food, clothing, and medicine)
  • the import of gifts valued at 100 USD or less
  • licensed exports of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices
  • transactions involving information and informational materials

All transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Iran, including baggage costs, living expenses, and the acquisition of goods or services for personal use are permitted. OFAC has the authority by means of a specific license to permit a person or entity to engage in many transactions or services which would otherwise be prohibited.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which lifted certain nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran’s taking steps to ensure that its nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful, the United States committed to license U.S. persons to engage in three additional categories of activity with Iran. See OFAC’s JCPOA Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on these allowable activities.

For further information, consult OFAC’s Iran sanctions resource page or contact OFAC’s Compliance Programs Division at 202-622-2490, or obtain information via fax at 202-622-0077.

For information concerning licensing of imports or exports, contact OFAC’s Licensing Division at by phone at 202-622-2480 or fax at 202-622-1657.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Iran and is punishable by death, flogging, or a lesser punishment. The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Security forces have executed, harassed, arrested, and detained individuals suspected of being gay. 

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and Section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: You may find accessibility and accommodations very different from what you find in the United States. In 2009, Iran acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but declared it does not consider itself bound by any provisions of the Convention that may be incompatible with its rules. There are no laws in Iran that mandate access to transportation, communication, and public buildings for persons with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our tips for Women Travelers. Female travelers to Iran should be aware that they will be unable to get birth control in Iran, will be subject to the aforementioned dress code, and will be prohibited from attending public sporting events, riding bicycles, and traveling with an Iranian-citizen partner unless party to a marriage recognized by the Iranian government.

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Health

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Basic medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities, but may not be available in rural areas in Iran. Medical facilities do not meet U.S. standards and sometimes lack medicines and supplies.

Very high pollution levels from cars, particularly in Ahvaz, Tehran, and Zabol, can trigger respiratory problems.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While in Iran, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Travelers in possession of International Driver’s Permits may drive in Iran, though the Foreign Interests Section in Iran does not recommend that tourists drive in Iran. Iran has a very high rate of traffic accidents, the second highest cause of mortality in the country. Drivers throughout Iran tend to ignore traffic lights, traffic signs, and lane markers. Urban streets are not well lit; it is therefore particularly dangerous to drive at night. Sidewalks in urban areas exist only on main roads and are usually obstructed by parked cars. In residential areas, few sidewalks exist. Drivers almost never yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. If you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor, do not leave the scene; wait until the police arrive to file a report.

Iranian authorities sometimes set up informal roadblocks, both in cities and on highways, often manned by young, inexperienced officers who are suspicious of foreigners. Carry identification with you and avoid getting into disputes.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Iran, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Iran should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry WebPortal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

Embassy of Switzerland – Foreign Interests Section

No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th)
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran

Telephone: (98) (21) 2254-2178 and (98) (21) 2256-5273

Fax: (98) (21) 2258-0432

All consular services require prior appointments which can be made by phone. The Foreign Interests Section can be reached by phone Sunday through Thursday between 7:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The Interests Section does not issue U.S. visas or accept visa applications. The Foreign Interests Section provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens in Tehran including:

  • Registering U.S. citizens
  • Responding to inquiries concerning the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Iran
  • Rendering assistance in times of distress or physical danger
  • Providing U.S. citizens with passport and Social Security card applications and other citizenship forms for processing at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland
  • Performing notarial services
  • Taking provisional custody of the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens
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General Information

For information concerning travel to Iran, including the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see Country Specific Information for Iran. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Iran is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Iran and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iran and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 1-202-485-6221
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Iran. Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in Iran to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iran and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to provide limited assistance to parents seeking access to children in Iran who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at U.S. Embassies or Consulates are authorized to provide legal advice.

For information about retaining an attorney in Iran, parents should contact the Foreign Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran.  Contact information for the embassy can be found below.

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Mediation

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iran and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 1-202-485-6221
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Iran. Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in Iran to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Iran is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Note: In accordance with current Iranian practice, acquiring legal custody/guardianship by parents residing outside of Iran is not possible. Prospective adoptive parents must be Iranian citizens and fulfill all other required conditions for acquiring legal custody/guardianship. Applications must be submitted to the Iranian Welfare Organization (IWO). Recent cases indicate that applications from close family members have the greatest chance of being approved. Only the IWO and an appropriate court can determine whether each case, based on its own merits, is in the best interests of the child. Muslim children are only eligible for legal custody/guardianship by Muslim parents. Christian children are only eligible for legal custody/guardianship by Christian parents. Before a legal custody/guardianship is granted, strict procedures are applied in order to protect the children and to establish the suitability of prospective adoptive parents, including a six month probationary period during which time at least one of the parents needs to be residing in Iran with the child. In order to leave Iran with the child during the probationary period, the prospective adoptive parent would need to get explicit permission from the public prosecutor. The process is complicated and time-consuming. After a child has been placed with a family, Iranian authorities will perform periodic checks to ensure the child's physical and mental well-being.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran and can provide limited consular services to U.S. citizens. (See Embassy of Switzerland – Foreign Interests Section.)

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring a legal guardian child to the United States from Iran, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Iran:

  • Residency: Prospective adoptive parents who intend to acquire legal custody/guardianship for children in Iran must reside in Iran and they are required to be physically present in the country for fingerprinting and medical examinations. In addition, there is a six month probationary period and one of the parents may need to stay with the child during this period.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: One of the prospective adoptive parents must be at least 30 years old.
  • Marriage: The prospective adoptive couple must be married for at least five years with no children. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual couples/individuals cannot acquire legal custody/guardianship of an orphan in Iran. Single women can only obtain guardianship of female children in Iran. Single men cannot acquire legal custody/guardianship of children in Iran.
  • Income: The prospective adoptive couple is expected to have sufficient financial capacity to support the child.
  • Other: Muslim and Christian prospective adoptive couples must have no criminal records, no addiction to drugs or alcohol and no diseases that are difficult to cure. If the couple is able to submit a medical report to prove that at least one of the spouses is incapable of conceiving, the court may exempt them from the requirements of five years of marriage and one of the parents being at least 30 years old.

Iranian law allows a regional Family Affairs Branch Committee to waive requirements such as residency or age under exceptional circumstances.

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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Iran has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for legal guardianship:

  • Relinquishment: The child's father, paternal grandfather, and mother must all be either unknown or dead.
  • Abandonment: The child must have been placed under the care of a public institution without any contact from any of the above listed relatives for three full years.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: The child must be under 12 full years of age.
  • Sibling Adoptions: None
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: None
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: After consulting the institution or person in charge of the child's temporary care, and prior to issuance of legal custody/guardianship approval, the court will place the child in the care of the prospective adoptive parents for a six-month probation period. During the probation period, the court may terminate the guardianship upon request from the Public Prosecutor, the National Society for the Protection of Children, or the institution where the child was previously under care, or on the basis of its own conclusion. Likewise, the prospective adoptive parents may declare that they have changed their minds during the probation period, in which case the court will terminate the legal custody/guardianship.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, including Iran, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

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How to Adopt

IRAN'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Iranian Welfare Organization (Edareh Beh Zistiti, Bakhshe Farzand Khandegi)
Address: 188 Karimkhan St., Tehran

THE PROCESS:

The process for adopting a child from Iran generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to obtain Legal Guardianship
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Iran
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The recommended first step in adopting a child from Iran is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

    There are no formal adoption agencies in Iran assisting individuals in the Iranian guardianship process. Iranian NGOs such as "The Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child" may be helpful resources.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to obtain Legal Guardianship 

    In order to obtain legal custody/guardianship of a child from Iran, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Iran and U.S. Immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to obtain legal custody/guardianship with the IWO of Iran.

    To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you should file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

  3. Be Matched with a Child

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, your adoption service provider, or an authorized entity in Iran will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Iran’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.

  4. Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Iran

    The process for gaining legal custody in Iran generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The IWO is the decision making authority in legal custody/guardianship cases. Prospective adoptive parents intending to acquire legal custody/guardianship of a child should contact and inform the organization of their intent, after which the organization may be able to open a file for the family and assign a case number.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Create a file at the Judicial Center with the required documents and translations. File at Judicial Center(s) should be created as a part of the legal custody/guardianship process by submitting the required documents with necessary translations.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Adoption agencies do not operate in Iran.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prospective adoptive parents must file a formal application with the IWO, and get approval from to the court to initiate the legal custody/guardianship process. Prospective adoptive parents are also required to pass physical and mental examinations. They will need to provide the court with information on any criminal history. After the above steps are completed and the petition is approved, the court will issue an introduction letter to the IWO. A series of interviews take place at the IWO, and a file in the orphanage is established. The head nurse at the orphanage will refer the file to the Adoption Affairs Office. Interviews and visits by a social worker and referral to any necessary offices(s) will follow. The prospective adoptive parents may need to meet with an adoption council (or its representative) at this stage to the orphanage’s social office. The prospective adoptive parents are now put on a waiting list, and the child selection process begins. After the selection, the child goes through a medical examination by a physician selected by the prospective adoptive parents. Mental and physical health certificates for the child are issued by a Specialist. At the end of this process, the IWO refers the case to the court. The court issues a temporary custody document and places the child with the prospective adoptive parents as guardians for a six month probationary period.
    • TIME FRAME: The prospective adoptive parents are initially granted six-months of temporary custody. At the end of that period, the court may grant full custody, or extend the temporary custody, which can be as long as three years.
    • ADOPTION FEES: Not known
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: (all English documents must be translated into Farsi, certified by the Department of Official Translators’ Affairs of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Registration and Personal Status Department, and provided in duplicate):
      • A “Request” form must be completed and signed by both prospective adoptive parents at the .
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ original and notarized copies of their birth certificates (Shenasnameh)
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ original and notarized copies of their marriage certificate
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ original notarized copy of the infertility certificate
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ test results of their physical and mental health (including addiction tests)
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ police records
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ proof of financial status
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ last education document (diploma)
    • NOTE:Additional documents may be requested.

    • Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

    After you gain legal custody/guardianship in Iran, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Once you have obtained legal custody/guardianship of the child, you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

    Birth Certificate
    After you have gained legal custody/guardianship in Iran, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate (shenasnameh) for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. Your guardian child's name should also be included into your “shenasnameh(s)” as your child, so that you can later apply for a passport.

    How to obtain a Passport for your child in Iran
    Your guardian child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Iran. He/she can be included in one of the adoptive parent's Iranian passport. The form and passport file can be obtained at the electronic service desks of disciplinary forces (Police +10) or postal centers. The addresses for passport offices in the greater Tehran area are:

    1. Tehran Pars passport office- first intersection of Tehran Pars- Parvin Blvd-second floor
    2. Yaft Abad passport office - Yaft Abad intersection- Moallem Blvd. -
    3. Shahrerey Passport office - Fadaian Islam Blvd-Basij Blvd, next to Gas Department. The price for the Iranian passport application form is 37,500 Riyal, and the price for the passport is 750,000 Riyal.

    U.S. Immigrant Visa
    After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you will need to visit the U.S. Embassy either in Ankara, Turkey, Yerevan, Armenia, or Abu Dhabi, UAE for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. The immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. In order to obtain an immigrant visa, you will need to have your adopted child undergo a medical examination by an authorized panel physicians. You should provide the panel physician with vaccination or other medical records to help the panel physicians determine your guardian child's medical condition. The cost of the medical report is $150-200 depending on the child's health. As part of the process for adjudicating the immigrant visa, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for the TB medical screening apply to all immigrant visa applicants, including adopted children. The 2007 TB TIs include new requirements that affect the pace at which some adoption cases can be concluded. Please visit the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/panel_2007.htm for further information regarding the 2007 “Technical Instructions for Tuberculosis Screening and Treatment for Panel Physicians”.

    The Iranian court may not grant legal custody/guardianship before the six month probationary period is finalized. It is not possible to issue an immigrant visa to an applicant without a court decree that grants custody. The initial court decree, which grants the six month probationary period, does not serve as the final custody decree for immigration purposes, even if it grants full custody to the adoptive parents. In some cases, the judges may issue a decree lifting the six month probationary period. You, as the guardian parents, must specifically request this waiver from the judge if you wish to immigrate with the child to the U.S. before the six month period is completed.

    Documentation about the child's background and primary evidence of abandonment is also required for the visa adjudication. If you gain custody of the child from an orphanage, you will need to provide an official report from the Iranian Welfare Organization. The report must give detailed information about the child's background and parents' whereabouts, if known. If yours is a private adoption, you will need to provide similar documentation about the child's background. This documentation should be obtained from the existing parent of the child. The orphan's existing parent must give his/her consent for the adoption of the child and must give a notarized statement. This document must state that he/she is unconditionally forsaken all parental rights, obligations and claims to the child, as well as all control over the physical custody of the child. In addition to the existing parent's statement, you should also provide a document from the prosecuting attorney agreeing to the immigration of the child to U.S. with the guardian parent to obtain a full and final adoption.

    CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

    For adoptions finalized abroadPursuant to the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children who enter the U.S. on an IR-3 or IH-3 immigrant visa automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry to the United States for the purpose of lawful permanent residence. 

    For adoptions finalized in the United States: Pursuant to the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children who enter the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 immigrant visa automatically acquire U.S. citizenship when a court in the United States issues the final adoption decree. 

    *Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

    Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING A VISA TO TRAVEL IRAN

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit.  Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Iran, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in COUNTRY registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
We strongly urge you to comply with and complete all Iranian post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

Post Adoption Resources 
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. 

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey: 
American Embassy Ankara
110 Ataturk Blvd.
Kavaklidere
06100 Ankara, Turkey
Phone: 90-312-455 5555
Fax: 90-312-468 6103
Internet: tr.usembassy.gov/

Iran Adoption Authority 
Iranian Welfare Organization
(Edareh Beh Zistiti, Bakhshe Farzand Khandegi)
Address: 188 Karimkhan St., Tehran

Embassy of Iran 
Address: 2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 965-4990
Fax: (202) 965-1073
Email: requests@daftar.org
Internet: daftar.org/ENG/default.asp?lang=eng 

Office of Children's Issue
s
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 A A A
A-2 None One 3 Months
A-3 1 None One 3 Months
B-1 None One 3 Months
B-2 None One 3 Months
B-1/B-2 None One 3 Months
C-1 None One 3 Months
C-1/D None One 3 Months
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None One 3 Months
CW-1 11 None One 3 Months
CW-2 11 None One 3 Months
D None One 3 Months
E-1 2 B B B
E-2 2 None One 3 Months
E-2C 12 None One 3 Months
F-1 None Multiple 24 Months C
F-2 None Multiple 24 Months C
G-1 None One 3 Months
G-2 None One 3 Months
G-3 None One 3 Months
G-4 None One 3 Months
G-5 1 None One 3 Months
H-1B None One 3 Months 3
H-1C None One 3 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None One 3 Months 3
H-3 None One 3 Months 3
H-4 None One 3 Months 3
I None One 3 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 24 Months C
J-2 4 None Multiple 24 Months C
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None One 6 Months
K-4 None One 6 Months
L-1 None One 3 Months
L-2 None One 3 Months
M-1 None Multiple 24 Months C
M-2 None Multiple 24 Months C
N-8 None One 3 Months
N-9 None One 3 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None One 3 Months 3
O-2 None One 3 Months 3
O-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-1 None One 3 Months 3
P-2 None One 3 Months 3
P-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-4 None One 3 Months 3
Q-1 6 None One 3 Months 3
R-1 None One 3 Months
R-2 None One 3 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None One 3 Months
V-2 None One 3 Months 8
V-3 None One 3 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes
  1. Diplomatic relations with Iran were severed on April 7, 1980.

  2. With certain exceptions pertaining to personal communications, humanitarian assistance, information exchange, and personal travel arrangements, all trade with Iran was banned pursuant to an executive order of May 8, 1995. Consequently, the issuance of virtually all "E-1" visas to nationals of Iran is prohibited.

  3. Please see 9 FAM Appendix G 501.7(e) (SBU) for guidance on validity in certain cases.

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

 

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Please see the Identity Card tab for information on documents that function as Iranian birth certificates.

Death, Burial Certificates

Please check back for update.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Available. The Bureau of Affairs Concerning Documents (Eiarech Ommor Asnad) in the Ministry of Justice assigns notary publics (daftare asnade rasmy) to register divorces and marriages for Muslims and those who practice recognized minority religions (Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism). Marriage and divorce certificates can only be obtained by the current/former parties to the marriage. In addition to marriages and divorces having their own documentation, they should be recorded in both parties' identity certificates (shenasnameh). Amended identity certificates that indicate an individual's correct marital status can be obtained.

In Tehran, each church of a minority religion has several notaries assigned to it, while there are at least one hundred notaries assigned to record Muslim marriages and divorces. Iran's Bureau of Affairs Concerning Documents maintains a record of the location, name, number, specimen of signature, and seal of each notary who is expected periodically to advise the Bureau of the number of marriages and divorces that have been registered. Copies of certificates containing the Bureau's authentication of the notary's signature can be obtained if the name and number of the notary public registering the marriage or divorce are known. Since the practice of officially registering marriages and divorces under this procedure was initiated in approximately 1921, certificates for marriages and divorces prior to that year can be obtained only from ecclesiastical authorities.

Iranian temporary marriages (ezdevaje sigeh or ezdevaje movaghat) are religious marriages that are entered into for a specific period of time. These marriages are performed by ecclesiastical authorities and are not registered with the Bureau of Affairs Concerning Documents. Temporary marriages cannot be used to confer immigration benefits and cannot serve as the basis for IR1 and CR1 immigrant visas. Since a temporary marriage would not be valid for immigration purposes, the applicant should be processed for visa purposes as though unmarried. This means a temporary marriage would not disqualify an alien from qualifying for a fiancé (K) visa and would not be considered a marriage for determining whether an alien met the definition of child (under 21 and unmarried). It is important to inquire about temporary marriages when processing adoption cases from Iran as posts frequently see children born of temporary marriages. While Iranian law considers them to be legitimate children, issues could arise concerning parental consent.

Bahai'i: Iran does not recognize the Bahai'i faith as a minority religion, thus the documentation of such marriages differs from Islamic marriages or marriages of other religious minorities. Marriage between two Bahai'is is registered in two documents. The first is an ecclesiastical marriage certificate issued by the local spiritual assembly-a booklet with the signatures of the couple, the person officiating the ceremony, and nine witnesses. The second is a one-page document issued by the Department of National Registration and Statistics (Edarehe Sabte Ahval va Omar) stating that the couple appeared before one of its officials and provided an oath stating that they are a married couple. Bahai'i marriages should be evidenced with both documents, as well as the registration of the union in both parties' identity certificates. However, when Bahai'is marry persons from any other religion, the identity certificates may not state that the marriage occurred.

Divorces: Divorces are handled by the Family Protection Court (Dadgah Hemayate Khanevadeh) of the Ministry of Justice. If the court determines that the couple cannot reside together successfully, it issues a certificate of incompatibility (madrake adame sazesh). This document is then presented to the Marriage and Divorce Bureau (Eiarech Ommor Asnad), which issues a divorce decree.

Marriage contracts: For the purposes of adjudicating K visas, it is important to determine whether the principal applicant has entered into a marriage contract (aqd) with the petitioner. Marriage contracts are used in all marriages in Iran, except Muslim temporary marriages. Culturally and legally in Iran, a marriage contract is not evidence of a valid marriage until it is registered with the appropriate authorities. However, for immigration purposes, a marriage contract is evidence of a marriage and thus, K visa applicants who entered into a marriage contract are not eligible for this visa classification.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Identity Certificates (Shenasnameh)

Available. Identity certificates (Shenasnameh) showing the date and place of birth, parents' names, place of residence, and marital history where appropriate, are issued to Iranian nationals in urban centers by the Department of National Registration and Statistics (Edareh Sabt Ahval va Omar) and in rural regions by district (Bakhsh) offices of the Department. These are accepted by the Embassy in lieu of birth certificates for visa purposes. Information contained in these certificates must be evaluated with the understanding that certain data, particularly dates and places, may be inaccurate. No official fee is charged for delivering documents to the applicants. When these documents are requested from abroad, an indefinite waiting period should be expected before a reply is received.

Birth or baptismal certificates emanating from ecclesiastic authorities of the church to which non-Moslem applicants belong are frequently of doubtful value. Moslem ecclesiastic authorities in Iran issue no documents to visa applicants.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available but unreliable. Police certificates are issued by the General Department of Penal Records and Pardon Amnesty (Idar-e Kul Sajl-e Kifari va Afva Bakhshudagi ). However, police records are not required for immigrant visa applicants because posts cannot verify them. Clean record certificates can be obtained in Iran or from Iranian Embassies and Consulates and the physical appearance of the certificate changes significantly depending on which authority issued it.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Available. For military service completed in 1980 or later, the Armed Forces of Iran and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) issue military service completion cards. The IRGC issues military service completion cards to men who have served in the IRGC and in the Basij Forces; the Armed Forces of Iran issues military service completion cards to men who served in the Air Force, Navy, Army, or police forces. Prior to 1980, military cards were issued by the Imperial Armed Forces. The cards include detailed biographical information such as blood type, hair color, weight, height, eye color, and physical defects. Cards also indicate the dates of service according to the Persian calendar. The card will also show the rank of the cardholder (if he had one) and sometimes his education level.

Because military service is mandatory, Iranian men over 18 who were exempt from military service will have exemption cards issued by the General Conscription Department of the Police Force (Niroo-e Intizami Jumhoori-e Islami ). These cards will include basic biographical information, such as name and date of birth. Some indicate why the cardholder was exempted from military service. There are many reasons a man could be exempted, including, but not limited to, payment in lieu of service, medical reasons, being the only son in his family, having elderly parents, and having a brother currently serving in the military. Men who were exempted before 1990 may not have been issued a card explaining why they were exempt.

Military service completion cards and reliable translations in English are readily available in Iran. The entity that issued the card will usually be indicated in the heading of the translation. Although translations tend to be accurate, it is recommended that both the translation and the copy of the original card be reviewed.

The major Iranian-processing posts have seen a small number of new military cards, which do not indicate the branch of service on the card.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update.

Other Records

Financial Documents

Iranian applicants usually provide documents from their bank which show their total account holdings. Check carefully whether this total is listed in Iranian rials or tomans (one toman is ten rials), and check the conversion rate as the total in dollars is often an incorrect. Many applicants also submit titles and deeds to apartments and property. Keep in mind that the parcels and apartments are frequently divided into shares and thus the applicant might only actually own a fraction of the property that the documents state is wholly owned by the applicant.

Visa Issuing Posts

As of August 1, 2013: Immigrant visas for Iranian nationals resident in Iran are processed at: U.S. Embassy Ankara, Turkey; U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and U.S. Embassy Yerevan, Armenia.

Nonimmigrant visa applicants who are residents of Iran may apply at any U.S. embassy or consulate that provides nonimmigrant visa services, but should be aware that Farsi-speaking officers are only available at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, and the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, and the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai.

 

Visa Services

Please check back for update.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 965-4990 (202) 965-1073

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Embassy of Switzerland
No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th)
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran
Telephone
(98) (21) 2254-2178 and (98) (21) 2256-5273
Emergency
(98) (21) 2258-0432
Fax
(98) (21) 2258-0432
Iran Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Iran
Iran
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Embassy Messages
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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes, except for Kish Island

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Over $10,000 must be declared

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

Over $10,000 must be declared

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Embassies and Consulates

Embassy of Switzerland – Foreign Interests Section

No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th)
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran

Telephone: (98) (21) 2254-2178 and (98) (21) 2256-5273

Fax: (98) (21) 2258-0432

All consular services require prior appointments which can be made by phone. The Foreign Interests Section can be reached by phone Sunday through Thursday between 7:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The Interests Section does not issue U.S. visas or accept visa applications. The Foreign Interests Section provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens in Tehran including:

  • Registering U.S. citizens
  • Responding to inquiries concerning the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Iran
  • Rendering assistance in times of distress or physical danger
  • Providing U.S. citizens with passport and Social Security card applications and other citizenship forms for processing at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland
  • Performing notarial services
  • Taking provisional custody of the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens
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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Iran for information on U.S.-Iranian relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Before traveling to Iran, please consider the current Travel Warning.

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.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

U.S. citizens who travel to Iran despite the Travel Warning should exercise caution throughout the country, but especially in the southeastern region where Westerners have been victims of criminal gangs often involved in the smuggling of drugs and other contraband. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to areas within 100 kilometers of the border with Afghanistan, within 10 kilometers of the border with Iraq, and generally anywhere east of the line from Bam and Bandar Abbas toward the Pakistani border. 
 
U.S. citizens are advised to avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings. Continued political tension between Iran and the West is a cause of concern for U.S. citizen travelers. Large-scale demonstrations in response to politically motivated events have taken place sporadically throughout the country, resulting in a significant security presence, arrests, and clashes between demonstrators and security officials. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. U.S. passport holders who are arrested or detained by Iranian authorities should request assistance from the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran.
 
Iranian security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, computers, fax machines, and other electronics may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. The Iranian authorities may also confiscate cell phones, computers, and other devices. U.S. citizens should consider not taking electronic devices to Iran or deleting personal information from them beforehand.

Iran is prone to earthquakes, many of them severe. To learn more about the seismic regions of Iran, including the most recent earthquakes, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey website.

Crime: Foreigners occasionally become victims of petty street crime, including robberies and bag-snatchings, in Iran. There have been reports of robberies by police impersonators, usually in civilian clothing. Insist on seeing the officer’s identity card and request the presence of a uniformed officer/marked patrol car. Travelers should take the following precautions:

  • Do not surrender any documents or cash.
  • Make a copy of your U.S. passport (biographical data page and the page with your Iranian visa) and keep it separate from your original passport.
  • Do not carry large amounts of hard currency while on the streets.
  • Keep important documents such as passports and valuables in hotel safes or other secure locations.
  • Take pre-booked taxis, which are safer than those hailed from the street.
  • Check with your hotel or tour guide for information on local scams. 
  • Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, purchasing them may also violate local law. 

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 110 and contact the Swiss Foreign Interests Section at (98) (21) 2254-2178. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Iran is: 115 for ambulance service, 125 for fire, and 110 for police. English speakers, however, are generally unavailable. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Swiss Foreign Interests Section for assistance. U.S. citizens should keep in mind, however, that the Foreign Interests Section may be able to provide limited assistance only and that Iranian law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence. Iranian authorities consider domestic violence to be a private matter and seldom discuss it publicly. As noted in the Department of State’s 2015 edition of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, some nongovernmental shelters and hotlines assisted victims during the year, but such services were virtually nonexistent outside major cities.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: While you are traveling in Iran, you are subject to its laws even though you are a U.S. citizen. U.S. citizens in Iran who violate Iranian laws, even unknowingly, including laws unfamiliar to Westerners, may be expelled, arrested, imprisoned (long prison terms and solitary confinement are common), or subject to other punishments depending on the crime including execution, amputation, flogging, blinding, stoning, and fines.  

Examples of local laws that you may be unfamiliar with include:

  • Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, as well as persons who encourage Muslims to convert, are subject to arrest and possible execution.
  • Drinking, possession of alcoholic beverages, and drugs are illegal. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Iran are severe and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Iran executes many people each year on drug-related charges. Penalties for the possession, use, or smuggling of alcoholic beverages may include fines, jail time, or flogging.
  • Men and women must adhere to the government-sanctioned dress code; this includes covered hair, arms, and legs for women. Failure to adhere to the government’s dress code and public displays of affection with a member of the opposite sex is considered to be a crime.
  • Relations between non-Muslim men and Muslim women are illegal, as are adultery and sex outside of marriage, which are punishable by the death penalty.
  • DVDs depicting sexual relations and magazines showing unveiled women are forbidden.
  • Photography near military and other government installations is strictly prohibited and could result in serious criminal charges, including espionage, which carries the death penalty.
  • Importation of pork products is banned.
  • Insulting the government or Muslim faith is strictly forbidden, including on social media. Such violations of Iranian law may result in imprisonment.

Carry a copy of your U.S. passport (biodata page and page with Iranian visa) and some other form of identification with you at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of U.S. citizenship is readily available.

If you are arrested while in Iran, request that the police and prison officials notify the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran immediately to ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances. Under Iranian law, detainees may also request legal representation, although the authorities often fail to allow timely access to an attorney according to the Department of State’s 2015 edition of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal: The Iranian government reportedly has the names of all individuals who filed claims against Iran at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague pursuant to the 1981 Algerian Accords. In addition, the Iranian government reportedly has compiled a list of the claimants who were awarded compensation in the Iran Claims Program administered by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. The Iranian government has allegedly been targeting award-holders who travel to Iran. It has been reported that upon some claimants' entry into Iran, Iranian authorities have questioned them as to the status of payment of their respective awards with a view to recouping the award money. The Iranian government has also reportedly threatened to prevent U.S. claimants who visit Iran from departing the country until they make arrangements to repay their award either in part or its entirety.

Dual Nationality: Iran considers dual nationals to be solely Iranian citizens. Dual nationals sometimes have their U.S. passports confiscated and may be denied permission to leave Iran, or encounter other problems with Iranian authorities. Likewise, Iranian authorities may deny dual nationals’ access to the Foreign Interests Section in Tehran. Refer to the above section entitled "Entry/Exit Requirements" for additional information concerning dual nationality.

U.S. citizens who also possess Iranian citizenship are subject to laws that impose special obligations on citizens of Iran, such as military service or taxes. Iranian-citizen males aged 18-34 are required to perform military service, unless exempt.  This requirement includes Iranian-Americans, even those born in the United States.  Young men who have turned 17 years of age will not be allowed to leave Iran without completing their military service.

Employment: Do not work illegally. You will be deported, fined, and/or imprisoned. You may also be prevented from re-entering the country. The Iranian government has seized the passports and blocked the departure of foreigners who work in Iran on tax/commercial disputes.

Codes of Behavior and Dress: Islamic law is strictly enforced in Iran. Alcohol is forbidden. Women must wear a headscarf and a long jacket that covers the arms and upper legs while in public. Men may be required to wear long pants and cannot go bare-chested or wear tank tops, especially near religious sites or in conservative areas. There may be additional dress requirements at certain religious sites. Consult a guide book on Iran to determine how to dress and behave properly and respectfully. During the holy month of Ramadan, you should generally observe the Muslim tradition of not eating, drinking, or smoking in public from sunrise to sunset each day, though there are exemptions for foreign travelers who eat in hotel restaurants. In general, it is best to ask before taking photographs of people. Hobbies like photography and those involving the use of binoculars (e.g., bird-watching) can be misunderstood and may cause trouble with security officials.

Money: Non-Iranian credit cards and bank cards cannot be used in Iran. You will not be able to access U.S. or foreign bank accounts using ATMs in Iran. You can exchange U.S. dollars for rials, either at banks or with certified money changers but it is rarely possible  to exchange traveler’s checks. Do not exchange currency on the street, and keep your exchange receipts. Bring enough hard currency to cover your stay, but make sure you declare this currency upon entry into Iran. There is no Western Union or similar institution and bank transfers are not possible. Due to economic sanctions on Iran, financial institutions have been known to block or freeze accounts of persons accessing financial accounts via the Internet from Iran. Any import and/or export of over 10,000 USD (or its equivalent in other foreign currencies) must be declared by submitting the relevant bank notice or any other document which proves that the amount was withdrawn from a foreign currency account or the sale of foreign currency.

Communication: Pre-paid overseas calling cards are available at most newsagents. The Internet is widely used in Iran. There are Internet cafes in most hotels; however, usage may be monitored. The Iranian government blocks access to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Sanctions: U.S. government economic sanctions prohibit most economic activity between U.S. citizens and Iran. In general, unless licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), goods, technology, or services may not be exported, re-exported, sold or supplied, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by a U.S. citizen, wherever he or she is located, to Iran or the Government of Iran. With limited exceptions, goods or services of Iranian origin may not be imported into the United States, either directly or through third countries.

OFAC regulations provide general licenses authorizing the performance of certain categories of transactions. Such general licenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • articles donated to relieve human suffering (such as food, clothing, and medicine)
  • the import of gifts valued at 100 USD or less
  • licensed exports of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices
  • transactions involving information and informational materials

All transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Iran, including baggage costs, living expenses, and the acquisition of goods or services for personal use are permitted. OFAC has the authority by means of a specific license to permit a person or entity to engage in many transactions or services which would otherwise be prohibited.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which lifted certain nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran’s taking steps to ensure that its nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful, the United States committed to license U.S. persons to engage in three additional categories of activity with Iran. See OFAC’s JCPOA Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on these allowable activities.

For further information, consult OFAC’s Iran sanctions resource page or contact OFAC’s Compliance Programs Division at 202-622-2490, or obtain information via fax at 202-622-0077.

For information concerning licensing of imports or exports, contact OFAC’s Licensing Division at by phone at 202-622-2480 or fax at 202-622-1657.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Iran and is punishable by death, flogging, or a lesser punishment. The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Security forces have executed, harassed, arrested, and detained individuals suspected of being gay. 

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and Section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: You may find accessibility and accommodations very different from what you find in the United States. In 2009, Iran acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but declared it does not consider itself bound by any provisions of the Convention that may be incompatible with its rules. There are no laws in Iran that mandate access to transportation, communication, and public buildings for persons with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our tips for Women Travelers. Female travelers to Iran should be aware that they will be unable to get birth control in Iran, will be subject to the aforementioned dress code, and will be prohibited from attending public sporting events, riding bicycles, and traveling with an Iranian-citizen partner unless party to a marriage recognized by the Iranian government.

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Health

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Basic medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities, but may not be available in rural areas in Iran. Medical facilities do not meet U.S. standards and sometimes lack medicines and supplies.

Very high pollution levels from cars, particularly in Ahvaz, Tehran, and Zabol, can trigger respiratory problems.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While in Iran, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Travelers in possession of International Driver’s Permits may drive in Iran, though the Foreign Interests Section in Iran does not recommend that tourists drive in Iran. Iran has a very high rate of traffic accidents, the second highest cause of mortality in the country. Drivers throughout Iran tend to ignore traffic lights, traffic signs, and lane markers. Urban streets are not well lit; it is therefore particularly dangerous to drive at night. Sidewalks in urban areas exist only on main roads and are usually obstructed by parked cars. In residential areas, few sidewalks exist. Drivers almost never yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. If you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor, do not leave the scene; wait until the police arrive to file a report.

Iranian authorities sometimes set up informal roadblocks, both in cities and on highways, often manned by young, inexperienced officers who are suspicious of foreigners. Carry identification with you and avoid getting into disputes.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Iran, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Iran should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry WebPortal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

Embassy of Switzerland – Foreign Interests Section

No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th)
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran

Telephone: (98) (21) 2254-2178 and (98) (21) 2256-5273

Fax: (98) (21) 2258-0432

All consular services require prior appointments which can be made by phone. The Foreign Interests Section can be reached by phone Sunday through Thursday between 7:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The Interests Section does not issue U.S. visas or accept visa applications. The Foreign Interests Section provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens in Tehran including:

  • Registering U.S. citizens
  • Responding to inquiries concerning the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Iran
  • Rendering assistance in times of distress or physical danger
  • Providing U.S. citizens with passport and Social Security card applications and other citizenship forms for processing at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland
  • Performing notarial services
  • Taking provisional custody of the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens
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General Information

For information concerning travel to Iran, including the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see Country Specific Information for Iran. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Iran is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Iran and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iran and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 1-202-485-6221
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Iran. Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in Iran to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iran and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to provide limited assistance to parents seeking access to children in Iran who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at U.S. Embassies or Consulates are authorized to provide legal advice.

For information about retaining an attorney in Iran, parents should contact the Foreign Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran.  Contact information for the embassy can be found below.

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Mediation

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iran and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 1-202-485-6221
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Iran. Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in Iran to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Iran is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Note: In accordance with current Iranian practice, acquiring legal custody/guardianship by parents residing outside of Iran is not possible. Prospective adoptive parents must be Iranian citizens and fulfill all other required conditions for acquiring legal custody/guardianship. Applications must be submitted to the Iranian Welfare Organization (IWO). Recent cases indicate that applications from close family members have the greatest chance of being approved. Only the IWO and an appropriate court can determine whether each case, based on its own merits, is in the best interests of the child. Muslim children are only eligible for legal custody/guardianship by Muslim parents. Christian children are only eligible for legal custody/guardianship by Christian parents. Before a legal custody/guardianship is granted, strict procedures are applied in order to protect the children and to establish the suitability of prospective adoptive parents, including a six month probationary period during which time at least one of the parents needs to be residing in Iran with the child. In order to leave Iran with the child during the probationary period, the prospective adoptive parent would need to get explicit permission from the public prosecutor. The process is complicated and time-consuming. After a child has been placed with a family, Iranian authorities will perform periodic checks to ensure the child's physical and mental well-being.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran and can provide limited consular services to U.S. citizens. (See Embassy of Switzerland – Foreign Interests Section.)

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring a legal guardian child to the United States from Iran, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Iran:

  • Residency: Prospective adoptive parents who intend to acquire legal custody/guardianship for children in Iran must reside in Iran and they are required to be physically present in the country for fingerprinting and medical examinations. In addition, there is a six month probationary period and one of the parents may need to stay with the child during this period.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: One of the prospective adoptive parents must be at least 30 years old.
  • Marriage: The prospective adoptive couple must be married for at least five years with no children. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual couples/individuals cannot acquire legal custody/guardianship of an orphan in Iran. Single women can only obtain guardianship of female children in Iran. Single men cannot acquire legal custody/guardianship of children in Iran.
  • Income: The prospective adoptive couple is expected to have sufficient financial capacity to support the child.
  • Other: Muslim and Christian prospective adoptive couples must have no criminal records, no addiction to drugs or alcohol and no diseases that are difficult to cure. If the couple is able to submit a medical report to prove that at least one of the spouses is incapable of conceiving, the court may exempt them from the requirements of five years of marriage and one of the parents being at least 30 years old.

Iranian law allows a regional Family Affairs Branch Committee to waive requirements such as residency or age under exceptional circumstances.

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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Iran has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for legal guardianship:

  • Relinquishment: The child's father, paternal grandfather, and mother must all be either unknown or dead.
  • Abandonment: The child must have been placed under the care of a public institution without any contact from any of the above listed relatives for three full years.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: The child must be under 12 full years of age.
  • Sibling Adoptions: None
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: None
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: After consulting the institution or person in charge of the child's temporary care, and prior to issuance of legal custody/guardianship approval, the court will place the child in the care of the prospective adoptive parents for a six-month probation period. During the probation period, the court may terminate the guardianship upon request from the Public Prosecutor, the National Society for the Protection of Children, or the institution where the child was previously under care, or on the basis of its own conclusion. Likewise, the prospective adoptive parents may declare that they have changed their minds during the probation period, in which case the court will terminate the legal custody/guardianship.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, including Iran, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

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How to Adopt

IRAN'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Iranian Welfare Organization (Edareh Beh Zistiti, Bakhshe Farzand Khandegi)
Address: 188 Karimkhan St., Tehran

THE PROCESS:

The process for adopting a child from Iran generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to obtain Legal Guardianship
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Iran
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The recommended first step in adopting a child from Iran is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

    There are no formal adoption agencies in Iran assisting individuals in the Iranian guardianship process. Iranian NGOs such as "The Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child" may be helpful resources.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to obtain Legal Guardianship 

    In order to obtain legal custody/guardianship of a child from Iran, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Iran and U.S. Immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to obtain legal custody/guardianship with the IWO of Iran.

    To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you should file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

  3. Be Matched with a Child

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, your adoption service provider, or an authorized entity in Iran will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Iran’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.

  4. Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Iran

    The process for gaining legal custody in Iran generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The IWO is the decision making authority in legal custody/guardianship cases. Prospective adoptive parents intending to acquire legal custody/guardianship of a child should contact and inform the organization of their intent, after which the organization may be able to open a file for the family and assign a case number.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Create a file at the Judicial Center with the required documents and translations. File at Judicial Center(s) should be created as a part of the legal custody/guardianship process by submitting the required documents with necessary translations.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Adoption agencies do not operate in Iran.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prospective adoptive parents must file a formal application with the IWO, and get approval from to the court to initiate the legal custody/guardianship process. Prospective adoptive parents are also required to pass physical and mental examinations. They will need to provide the court with information on any criminal history. After the above steps are completed and the petition is approved, the court will issue an introduction letter to the IWO. A series of interviews take place at the IWO, and a file in the orphanage is established. The head nurse at the orphanage will refer the file to the Adoption Affairs Office. Interviews and visits by a social worker and referral to any necessary offices(s) will follow. The prospective adoptive parents may need to meet with an adoption council (or its representative) at this stage to the orphanage’s social office. The prospective adoptive parents are now put on a waiting list, and the child selection process begins. After the selection, the child goes through a medical examination by a physician selected by the prospective adoptive parents. Mental and physical health certificates for the child are issued by a Specialist. At the end of this process, the IWO refers the case to the court. The court issues a temporary custody document and places the child with the prospective adoptive parents as guardians for a six month probationary period.
    • TIME FRAME: The prospective adoptive parents are initially granted six-months of temporary custody. At the end of that period, the court may grant full custody, or extend the temporary custody, which can be as long as three years.
    • ADOPTION FEES: Not known
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: (all English documents must be translated into Farsi, certified by the Department of Official Translators’ Affairs of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Registration and Personal Status Department, and provided in duplicate):
      • A “Request” form must be completed and signed by both prospective adoptive parents at the .
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ original and notarized copies of their birth certificates (Shenasnameh)
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ original and notarized copies of their marriage certificate
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ original notarized copy of the infertility certificate
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ test results of their physical and mental health (including addiction tests)
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ police records
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ proof of financial status
      • Prospective adoptive parents’ last education document (diploma)
    • NOTE:Additional documents may be requested.

    • Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

    After you gain legal custody/guardianship in Iran, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Once you have obtained legal custody/guardianship of the child, you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

    Birth Certificate
    After you have gained legal custody/guardianship in Iran, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate (shenasnameh) for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. Your guardian child's name should also be included into your “shenasnameh(s)” as your child, so that you can later apply for a passport.

    How to obtain a Passport for your child in Iran
    Your guardian child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Iran. He/she can be included in one of the adoptive parent's Iranian passport. The form and passport file can be obtained at the electronic service desks of disciplinary forces (Police +10) or postal centers. The addresses for passport offices in the greater Tehran area are:

    1. Tehran Pars passport office- first intersection of Tehran Pars- Parvin Blvd-second floor
    2. Yaft Abad passport office - Yaft Abad intersection- Moallem Blvd. -
    3. Shahrerey Passport office - Fadaian Islam Blvd-Basij Blvd, next to Gas Department. The price for the Iranian passport application form is 37,500 Riyal, and the price for the passport is 750,000 Riyal.

    U.S. Immigrant Visa
    After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you will need to visit the U.S. Embassy either in Ankara, Turkey, Yerevan, Armenia, or Abu Dhabi, UAE for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. The immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. In order to obtain an immigrant visa, you will need to have your adopted child undergo a medical examination by an authorized panel physicians. You should provide the panel physician with vaccination or other medical records to help the panel physicians determine your guardian child's medical condition. The cost of the medical report is $150-200 depending on the child's health. As part of the process for adjudicating the immigrant visa, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for the TB medical screening apply to all immigrant visa applicants, including adopted children. The 2007 TB TIs include new requirements that affect the pace at which some adoption cases can be concluded. Please visit the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/panel_2007.htm for further information regarding the 2007 “Technical Instructions for Tuberculosis Screening and Treatment for Panel Physicians”.

    The Iranian court may not grant legal custody/guardianship before the six month probationary period is finalized. It is not possible to issue an immigrant visa to an applicant without a court decree that grants custody. The initial court decree, which grants the six month probationary period, does not serve as the final custody decree for immigration purposes, even if it grants full custody to the adoptive parents. In some cases, the judges may issue a decree lifting the six month probationary period. You, as the guardian parents, must specifically request this waiver from the judge if you wish to immigrate with the child to the U.S. before the six month period is completed.

    Documentation about the child's background and primary evidence of abandonment is also required for the visa adjudication. If you gain custody of the child from an orphanage, you will need to provide an official report from the Iranian Welfare Organization. The report must give detailed information about the child's background and parents' whereabouts, if known. If yours is a private adoption, you will need to provide similar documentation about the child's background. This documentation should be obtained from the existing parent of the child. The orphan's existing parent must give his/her consent for the adoption of the child and must give a notarized statement. This document must state that he/she is unconditionally forsaken all parental rights, obligations and claims to the child, as well as all control over the physical custody of the child. In addition to the existing parent's statement, you should also provide a document from the prosecuting attorney agreeing to the immigration of the child to U.S. with the guardian parent to obtain a full and final adoption.

    CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

    For adoptions finalized abroadPursuant to the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children who enter the U.S. on an IR-3 or IH-3 immigrant visa automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry to the United States for the purpose of lawful permanent residence. 

    For adoptions finalized in the United States: Pursuant to the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children who enter the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 immigrant visa automatically acquire U.S. citizenship when a court in the United States issues the final adoption decree. 

    *Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

    Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING A VISA TO TRAVEL IRAN

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit.  Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Iran, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in COUNTRY registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
We strongly urge you to comply with and complete all Iranian post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

Post Adoption Resources 
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. 

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey: 
American Embassy Ankara
110 Ataturk Blvd.
Kavaklidere
06100 Ankara, Turkey
Phone: 90-312-455 5555
Fax: 90-312-468 6103
Internet: tr.usembassy.gov/

Iran Adoption Authority 
Iranian Welfare Organization
(Edareh Beh Zistiti, Bakhshe Farzand Khandegi)
Address: 188 Karimkhan St., Tehran

Embassy of Iran 
Address: 2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 965-4990
Fax: (202) 965-1073
Email: requests@daftar.org
Internet: daftar.org/ENG/default.asp?lang=eng 

Office of Children's Issue
s
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 A A A
A-2 None One 3 Months
A-3 1 None One 3 Months
B-1 None One 3 Months
B-2 None One 3 Months
B-1/B-2 None One 3 Months
C-1 None One 3 Months
C-1/D None One 3 Months
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None One 3 Months
CW-1 11 None One 3 Months
CW-2 11 None One 3 Months
D None One 3 Months
E-1 2 B B B
E-2 2 None One 3 Months
E-2C 12 None One 3 Months
F-1 None Multiple 24 Months C
F-2 None Multiple 24 Months C
G-1 None One 3 Months
G-2 None One 3 Months
G-3 None One 3 Months
G-4 None One 3 Months
G-5 1 None One 3 Months
H-1B None One 3 Months 3
H-1C None One 3 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None One 3 Months 3
H-3 None One 3 Months 3
H-4 None One 3 Months 3
I None One 3 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 24 Months C
J-2 4 None Multiple 24 Months C
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None One 6 Months
K-4 None One 6 Months
L-1 None One 3 Months
L-2 None One 3 Months
M-1 None Multiple 24 Months C
M-2 None Multiple 24 Months C
N-8 None One 3 Months
N-9 None One 3 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None One 3 Months 3
O-2 None One 3 Months 3
O-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-1 None One 3 Months 3
P-2 None One 3 Months 3
P-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-4 None One 3 Months 3
Q-1 6 None One 3 Months 3
R-1 None One 3 Months
R-2 None One 3 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None One 3 Months
V-2 None One 3 Months 8
V-3 None One 3 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes
  1. Diplomatic relations with Iran were severed on April 7, 1980.

  2. With certain exceptions pertaining to personal communications, humanitarian assistance, information exchange, and personal travel arrangements, all trade with Iran was banned pursuant to an executive order of May 8, 1995. Consequently, the issuance of virtually all "E-1" visas to nationals of Iran is prohibited.

  3. Please see 9 FAM Appendix G 501.7(e) (SBU) for guidance on validity in certain cases.

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

 

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Please see the Identity Card tab for information on documents that function as Iranian birth certificates.

Death, Burial Certificates

Please check back for update.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Available. The Bureau of Affairs Concerning Documents (Eiarech Ommor Asnad) in the Ministry of Justice assigns notary publics (daftare asnade rasmy) to register divorces and marriages for Muslims and those who practice recognized minority religions (Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism). Marriage and divorce certificates can only be obtained by the current/former parties to the marriage. In addition to marriages and divorces having their own documentation, they should be recorded in both parties' identity certificates (shenasnameh). Amended identity certificates that indicate an individual's correct marital status can be obtained.

In Tehran, each church of a minority religion has several notaries assigned to it, while there are at least one hundred notaries assigned to record Muslim marriages and divorces. Iran's Bureau of Affairs Concerning Documents maintains a record of the location, name, number, specimen of signature, and seal of each notary who is expected periodically to advise the Bureau of the number of marriages and divorces that have been registered. Copies of certificates containing the Bureau's authentication of the notary's signature can be obtained if the name and number of the notary public registering the marriage or divorce are known. Since the practice of officially registering marriages and divorces under this procedure was initiated in approximately 1921, certificates for marriages and divorces prior to that year can be obtained only from ecclesiastical authorities.

Iranian temporary marriages (ezdevaje sigeh or ezdevaje movaghat) are religious marriages that are entered into for a specific period of time. These marriages are performed by ecclesiastical authorities and are not registered with the Bureau of Affairs Concerning Documents. Temporary marriages cannot be used to confer immigration benefits and cannot serve as the basis for IR1 and CR1 immigrant visas. Since a temporary marriage would not be valid for immigration purposes, the applicant should be processed for visa purposes as though unmarried. This means a temporary marriage would not disqualify an alien from qualifying for a fiancé (K) visa and would not be considered a marriage for determining whether an alien met the definition of child (under 21 and unmarried). It is important to inquire about temporary marriages when processing adoption cases from Iran as posts frequently see children born of temporary marriages. While Iranian law considers them to be legitimate children, issues could arise concerning parental consent.

Bahai'i: Iran does not recognize the Bahai'i faith as a minority religion, thus the documentation of such marriages differs from Islamic marriages or marriages of other religious minorities. Marriage between two Bahai'is is registered in two documents. The first is an ecclesiastical marriage certificate issued by the local spiritual assembly-a booklet with the signatures of the couple, the person officiating the ceremony, and nine witnesses. The second is a one-page document issued by the Department of National Registration and Statistics (Edarehe Sabte Ahval va Omar) stating that the couple appeared before one of its officials and provided an oath stating that they are a married couple. Bahai'i marriages should be evidenced with both documents, as well as the registration of the union in both parties' identity certificates. However, when Bahai'is marry persons from any other religion, the identity certificates may not state that the marriage occurred.

Divorces: Divorces are handled by the Family Protection Court (Dadgah Hemayate Khanevadeh) of the Ministry of Justice. If the court determines that the couple cannot reside together successfully, it issues a certificate of incompatibility (madrake adame sazesh). This document is then presented to the Marriage and Divorce Bureau (Eiarech Ommor Asnad), which issues a divorce decree.

Marriage contracts: For the purposes of adjudicating K visas, it is important to determine whether the principal applicant has entered into a marriage contract (aqd) with the petitioner. Marriage contracts are used in all marriages in Iran, except Muslim temporary marriages. Culturally and legally in Iran, a marriage contract is not evidence of a valid marriage until it is registered with the appropriate authorities. However, for immigration purposes, a marriage contract is evidence of a marriage and thus, K visa applicants who entered into a marriage contract are not eligible for this visa classification.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Identity Certificates (Shenasnameh)

Available. Identity certificates (Shenasnameh) showing the date and place of birth, parents' names, place of residence, and marital history where appropriate, are issued to Iranian nationals in urban centers by the Department of National Registration and Statistics (Edareh Sabt Ahval va Omar) and in rural regions by district (Bakhsh) offices of the Department. These are accepted by the Embassy in lieu of birth certificates for visa purposes. Information contained in these certificates must be evaluated with the understanding that certain data, particularly dates and places, may be inaccurate. No official fee is charged for delivering documents to the applicants. When these documents are requested from abroad, an indefinite waiting period should be expected before a reply is received.

Birth or baptismal certificates emanating from ecclesiastic authorities of the church to which non-Moslem applicants belong are frequently of doubtful value. Moslem ecclesiastic authorities in Iran issue no documents to visa applicants.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available but unreliable. Police certificates are issued by the General Department of Penal Records and Pardon Amnesty (Idar-e Kul Sajl-e Kifari va Afva Bakhshudagi ). However, police records are not required for immigrant visa applicants because posts cannot verify them. Clean record certificates can be obtained in Iran or from Iranian Embassies and Consulates and the physical appearance of the certificate changes significantly depending on which authority issued it.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Available. For military service completed in 1980 or later, the Armed Forces of Iran and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) issue military service completion cards. The IRGC issues military service completion cards to men who have served in the IRGC and in the Basij Forces; the Armed Forces of Iran issues military service completion cards to men who served in the Air Force, Navy, Army, or police forces. Prior to 1980, military cards were issued by the Imperial Armed Forces. The cards include detailed biographical information such as blood type, hair color, weight, height, eye color, and physical defects. Cards also indicate the dates of service according to the Persian calendar. The card will also show the rank of the cardholder (if he had one) and sometimes his education level.

Because military service is mandatory, Iranian men over 18 who were exempt from military service will have exemption cards issued by the General Conscription Department of the Police Force (Niroo-e Intizami Jumhoori-e Islami ). These cards will include basic biographical information, such as name and date of birth. Some indicate why the cardholder was exempted from military service. There are many reasons a man could be exempted, including, but not limited to, payment in lieu of service, medical reasons, being the only son in his family, having elderly parents, and having a brother currently serving in the military. Men who were exempted before 1990 may not have been issued a card explaining why they were exempt.

Military service completion cards and reliable translations in English are readily available in Iran. The entity that issued the card will usually be indicated in the heading of the translation. Although translations tend to be accurate, it is recommended that both the translation and the copy of the original card be reviewed.

The major Iranian-processing posts have seen a small number of new military cards, which do not indicate the branch of service on the card.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

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Other Records

Financial Documents

Iranian applicants usually provide documents from their bank which show their total account holdings. Check carefully whether this total is listed in Iranian rials or tomans (one toman is ten rials), and check the conversion rate as the total in dollars is often an incorrect. Many applicants also submit titles and deeds to apartments and property. Keep in mind that the parcels and apartments are frequently divided into shares and thus the applicant might only actually own a fraction of the property that the documents state is wholly owned by the applicant.

Visa Issuing Posts

As of August 1, 2013: Immigrant visas for Iranian nationals resident in Iran are processed at: U.S. Embassy Ankara, Turkey; U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and U.S. Embassy Yerevan, Armenia.

Nonimmigrant visa applicants who are residents of Iran may apply at any U.S. embassy or consulate that provides nonimmigrant visa services, but should be aware that Farsi-speaking officers are only available at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, and the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, and the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai.

 

Visa Services

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Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 965-4990 (202) 965-1073

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Embassy of Switzerland
No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th)
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran
Telephone
(98) (21) 2254-2178 and (98) (21) 2256-5273
Emergency
(98) (21) 2258-0432
Fax
(98) (21) 2258-0432
Iran Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.