Many travelers who dream of traveling Iran are worried about the U.S. travel ban after visiting Iran! But what is the truth? Is there any problem to have Iran stamp on your passport? How should a traveler deal with it?
The problem started when In 2015 the USA changed the guidelines for its Visa Waiver program (WVP), commonly referred to as ESTA (the online application for a visa waiver available to most European, UK and some other nationals) and stipulated that visitors who had been to any of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen would no longer be eligible for a visa waiver or ESTA under new anti-terrorism principles.
The Iran government as of 2019, reportedly stopped stamping passports, at least for countries who are eligible for a visa on arrival, so there is no sign for visiting Iran on your passport. The plan is to facilitate travels to Iran without fear of possible U.S. penalties. However, some nationalities are exceptions so read on to know more about your situation.
Read also: Travel to Iran: Tips for First Travelers
Iran could issue a visa outside of the passport
According to Iran’s plan, the Iran government gives you a visa without attaching any visa sticker to the passport to counter the U.S. travel ban after visiting Iran.
It is not important whether you collect your visa in embassies and consulates all over the world or Iran visa on arrival at Iran international airports.
At Tehran International Airport (IKA), Shiraz International Airport (SYZ), and Isfahan International Airport (ISF), you can enter Iran without any Iran stamp on your passport.
In fact, the visa sticker is printed on a piece of A4-sized paper. So the entry and exit stamps are also put in this paper.
However, the story is slightly different for citizens of the U.S., UK, Canada, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Colombia, Bangladesh, and Somali. For these nationalities, the visa sticker should still be on their passport.
So what is the solution for those who traveled to Iran and has an Iran visa stamp on their passport? read on!
How to Visit the USA after Travelling to Iran
So for those few nationalities who still Iran stamps on their passport, the solution to visiting the USA is to apply for a B1/B2 visitor visa to the United States. Here’s what you need to know about the visa:
- You can apply for the Visa online via the USA’s State Department website (as of June 2019 the fee was 120 USD) – this fee is paid at time of online application by Credit Card.
- You then need to make an appointment to go to your US consulate to attend an in person interview, whereby you can expect to be quizzed about your jaunt to Iran
- You’ll likely be told on the spot (at your in person interview) if your visa has been approved or not – it’s then around 1 week’s processing time until your passport is posted back to you.
- Visa appointment wait times can be lengthy, so I recommend applying for your visa online and scheduling your appointment at least 3 months before you want to travel to the USA
- You don’t need to have booked flights, accommodation or have definite plans to visit the USA, and the State Dept recommends you do not make firm travel plans until you receive your visa. We said that we were planning a long weekend trip to NYC (but were not asked anything further).
- The B1/B2 Visa lasts for 10 years (normally) – so at least the extra paperwork lasts for a good amount of time!
Last but not least
Iran provides a facility to waive stamping entry and exit on your passport. So you should not worry about the U.S. travel ban after visiting Iran.
However, if you are a citizen of those countries where the Iran visa stamp is issued on your passport, you only need to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. as discussed earlier, So do not miss the exotic experiences in Iran and travel to this magnificent country!