Our Discussions

Visiting Iran

1 (a mother)
Dear Friends,
I am the American wife, my son is Iraninan-American (born in US) and we are planning a trip to Iran in the near future to meet the family. So, I am a bit nervous about the whole affair. Does anyone have some advice about getting visas, cheap flights, precautions, traveling with kids etc....? Would it be better for us to enter the country as American citizens, or do I get automatic Iranian citizenship because of marriage (and is it better to enter as an Iranian citizen?)I have also heard that I would need to choose an "acceptable" name for my son since he has an American name for his Iranian papers. Is this so?
Thanks for your advice,

2 (a madar)
My husband just came back from Iran about a week ago. He went back after 21 years. He said they have made it so easy to get in and out. There was no problem for him to get in. They only asked him some routine questions. He is an American citizen, born in Iran. He has both American & Iranian passport. They asked him if he was a citizen and got his American passport and gave it back to him after 5 minutes of questioning some routine questions, like what he does in Us and why did he decide to go back after so many years. They have no problem with American passports. At least for now that is how it is. Coming out after 2 weeks was no problem. They didn't even check his luggage and just asked him if he had Parsian carpet and he said no. Actually there is no limitation on bringing one small Persian Carpet. I think it would be good if you have contacts with the Interest Section of Islamic Republic in Washington DC. They are helpful, but slow. You can call them and ask them what you need to do. Try to get exit permit from here, so you don't need to go through it in Iran. I don't think you need to have an acceptable name for your son, since you are American. You only need to show them you are Moslem or converted when you got married to your husband. In Islamic law if you marry a Moslem you have to convert. At least show that you have converted. Good luck to you and I hope you have a good time in Iran. The people are great and very friendly. Please do not hesitate to ask me any other question you might have. The internet address for Embassy or Intersect section is www.daftar.org. They have all the information on their home page. Both English and Farsi.

3 (a mother)
we went to Iran last summer for two months. It was my first time to travel to Iran, so I had many questions before I went. I believe your question was in regards to one of my posts concerning having dual passports. We flew from the States using our American passports. (I am American, my husband is Iranian and we have a one year old son). Then when we arrived in Istanbul we went through customs and immigration in Turkey using our Iranian passports. We did not have to buy a VISA if we were Iranian. (Americans must purchase a VISA, even for transits only - this saved $90US, each way!!) Then, of course, we entered Iran using our Iranian passports. On our return trip, we did the same in reverse.
We had no problems at all. It was amazingly simply. I hope this answered your question. If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. I like to share my experiences!
3 (a father)

Yeh Pedar Amrekai goft,

From a somewhat different perspective, I'm an American husband with an Iranian wife. Together with our two children, now ages 16 and 12, we've visited Iran five times over the past ten years. Despite having lived and worked in Iran prior to and during the Revolution (Bell Helicopter/Kermanshah), I've experienced no serious problems with visas, etc., though these do take some time to obtain through the Interests Section. Advanced planning is a must. The folks at the Interests Section have always been very helpful - even supportive - of the applications for myself and the children, and when deadlines approached they have made extra efforts to assure that all the official details are taken care of in sufficient time. They are a hard-working (possibly over-worked) crew, and deserve a lot of credit for what in many respects is a thankless task.

We've flown Iran Air and various European carriers. Iran Air comes off well in comparison, especially when fares and arrival times are taken into consideration. I'm in the aircraft maintenance business myself, and one can be assured that the Iran Air aircraft are properly maintained and expertly flown.

At the airport I've always been warmly welcomed by any and all officials. I must confess to some embarrassment as an American when I compare the welcome given to me in Iran with the often unpleasant official reception given to Iranian passport-holders entering the US, especially those without Green Cards who are entering the US for the first time.

We've traveled extensively by air and auto within Iran and have experienced no problems due to my nationality - quite the opposite actually. The fastest way to get through a security check point on the highways (there is a permanent and very extensive anti-narcotics campaign under way) is to present my American passport, which invariably results in smiles and greetings, brief comments about a distant cousin in Los Angeles, and a quick wave-through.

In sum, if you are the American spouse of an Iranian and you are considering a visit to Iran, I encourage you to do so. There is much to see and experience in that magnificent and beautiful country.

4 (a pedar)


As a photographer, I need special services while visiting Iran. I was glad to discover a small touring agency providing very personal services at a very just price. To thank them, I'll be glad to give their adress to any body willing to travel to IRAN.

on behalf of Hossein LOTFALIZADEH

5 (a pedar)

Yeah, Right! Two problem here:

1. He is a "HE" after all and in Islamic Republic we all know what this means.

2. He is an American with past military background, also always other national were receive better treatment than Iranian people.

Conclusion: DO not generalize!

6 (a mother)


and I thank father #3 so much for his letter and the effort expended in telling us of his experiences.

I must say, I have had similar experiences and am an unabashed Iranophile. I am looking forward to the day when my two oldest children still at home enter college and I take the rest of the family back to Iran to live.

As an American, I love the U.S., my family and all my memories here. Nothing, however, compares to the feeling of the plane beginning its descent and the Alborz hugging me home.

I love Iran and her people.

God bless them all. Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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