I would like to visit Iran as a tourist but I'd also like to visit the USA some time after. I know the relations between the two countries are bad.

Is it likely that I'm not allowed to enter the USA after having been to Iran?

If it matters, I've never been to either of those countries. I'm a Swiss citizen, an atheist from a Christian background.

  • 8
    Almost certainly not. However, you will need to apply for a visa before your next visit to the USA. They're good for 10 years and, from anecdotal accounts I've read online, it seems vanishingly unlikely your visa will get declined solely on the basis of past tourist visits to nations designated state sponsors of terrorism
    – Urbana
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 12:17
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    anecdotal accounts I've read online, it seems vanishingly unlikely your visa will get declined solely on the basis of past tourist visits to nations designated state sponsors of terrorism On the contrary all the anecdotal online new I read implies it is incrementally more difficult and stressful after undertaking such a trip although not impossible at all. Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 12:23
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    This is very anecdotal (hence a comment not an answer), but I spoke to someone recently who visited Iran then wanted to visit the US. Apparently he had to wait months to get an interview at the embassy. When he finally got there, the conversation was along the lines of: "So, why are you visiting the US?" "I'm going on holiday." "Oh. Why do you need a visa, then?" "Because I visited Iran." "Oh. Why did you visit Iran, then?" "I went on holiday." "Oh. That's fine, then."
    – Muzer
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 13:55
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    Also anecdotal: I visited Iran, applied for a B2, got a visa interview within a week, was asked during the visa interview what I did in Iran an when I went there. Visa approved (10 year B1/B2) without any issue. Upon entry in the US not a single question was asked. If anything, my impression is that it makes life easier at the border. Because the burden moved to the visa application when they have all the time in the world to screen you. If for some reason they don't want to let you in they will simply refuse the visa instead of denying entry. Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 18:05
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    Somewhat anecdotal - for some 15-20 Russian nationals who previously visited Iran, it caused no delays in getting B1/B2 visa. And, as far as I know, no one was asked any pressing questions about Iran.
    – Alexander
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


The main consequence of having visited Iran before going to the U.S. is that you are no longer eligible to travel on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

If you have travelled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, you will need to follow the regular process and apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

While not being able to travel on the VWP is a hassle, it is likely the only consequence. That you would not be able to visit the U.S. after Iran is improbable (given, of course, that there are no aggravating circumstances).

Source: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html

See also this answer by Zach Lipton:

Therefore, there is nothing that would prohibit you from coming to the US. It is, of course, possible that you could receive extra questioning at immigration, and if you're seen as a security risk, you won't be admitted. That's always true whether or not you've visited Iran though. A visa is never a guarantee of admission.

From I have a valid visa for the USA. I have visited Iran since it was issued. Can I still enter the US?

See also How long does the US Visa Waiver ban for people who travelled to Iran last?.

  • Thank you! I'm not sure but if I obtain a visa to the USA and then go to Iran, will I be able to to go to the USA during the next 10 years? That's the question of one or your links but there's no direct answer since the OP was not eligible for VWP.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 12:47
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    @TimF with the same caveat as above (that a visa is not a guarantee of admission), then yes. Visiting Iran (or any of the other states mentioned) invalidates the VWP, not an existing visa.
    – HenricF
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 12:57
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    @TimF In the worst-case scenario, you will be taken to secondary. They will waste your time and eventually let you go.
    – user58558
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 13:55
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    Any effect on non-visa, non-VWP countries like Canada?
    – blackbird
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 17:59
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    @lvella Probably by looking on the passport, or simply by asking. If the US authorities ask me this kind of thing, I prefer not to lie. Lying might be the best way to be rejected.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 21:12

I was in Iran in 2012, and in USA this summer(July, 2017).

First of all, my ESTA was denied(I'm an EU citizen). I had to show up at the US embassy of my country and pay a $200 fee for visa processing. It was accepted, but it doesn't really end there.

Landing at JFK, I was taken by homeland security to a room with a bunch of other people. They took my luggage and I had to stay for almost two hours(nearly missing my connecting flight to LAX!) with no explanation. No phones allowed, no bathroom breaks allowed, no communication from them at all. Extremely uncomfortable. The authorities were very rude in the process and offered no insight as to why I was held back. When engaging them constructively asking of a time horizon, I was told to shut up and sit down. Pretty much prison conditions.

Eventually, they just gave me a passport and grunted at me, and I had to basically sprint all across JFK to catch my flight.

So it doesn't close the door as to going to USA. However, you should consider if it's really worth it, because likely you'll receive the same treatment as above.

This is coming from a nordic looking male with a Scandinavian passport

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    @TimF if you're worried about this, simply fly through the US preclearance facilities in Ireland. They won't be able to detain you in prison like conditions and you'll land in the US as if you're coming from a domestic flight.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 8:15
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    They did not ask me anything, they had me waiting for no reason. If they wanted me to clarify something, that would've been better, because it seemed like intentional harassment for no benefit at all
    – cbll
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 8:32
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    On behalf of the sane and civilized portion of the US, I'm really sorry that happened to you. It should not have.
    – mattdm
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 12:50
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    @JonathanReez Currently, a traveller undergoing preclearance has the right to change their mind and walk away. However, the US is pushing for a Canadian bill that would give US preclearance officers the ability to detain travellers wishing to enter the US. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 18:18
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    @Mehrdad No, I live in a pretty civilized country. Being detained by armed officers in bulletproof vests, and having no access to communication OR even a bathroom is prison-like conditions for me. I don't really compare my expectation in fellow human beings to anything else than what I expect normally, just because I'm in another country. Decency isn't that hard.
    – cbll
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 7:22

My daughter visited Iran (pure tourism) in 2013, and has been waiting 18 months without any news. She was interviewed by the USA Embassy in London. My daughter is a UK citizen.

  • Hang in there. I got my US visa (a eu citizen) finally last week after being ESTA and been on that waiting list for 2 years (also after visiting iran for pure tourism). In light of the answers above, I'm not sure I plan to use said visa anytime soon tho.
    – user189035
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 7:28

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