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I understand that nationalities eligible for VWP cannot enter the US without seeking clearance and obtaining a sticker visa from US embassies if they have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Syria & Sudan since March 2011.

But what about citizens from countries that require a US visa to travel to the US, what if they have a valid US B1/B2 visa AND visit Iran/Iraq AND then visit the US soon after? Is there anything to suggest that the visit to the restricted countries would invalidate their existing US B1/B2 visa?

Let me add an example: suppose a citizen of Pakistan or Turkey or Lebanon, who holds a US B1/B2 visa which has been used once, visits Iran and Iraq for tourism/pilgrimage purposes and after a few months arrives at the US port of entry and seeks admission. Is there anything wrong with this scenario?

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Visiting one of the VWP invalidating countries does not invalidate a visa. That's the whole point, since the VWP invalidation compels the VWP national to obtain a visa, and if it also invalidated the visa there would be no way for such a VWP national to visit the US.

You may get a little more questioning if the border guard knows about the visit, and you certainly shouldn't hide your visit if asked, but the visa is still perfectly valid.

  • Thanks for answering. I don't want to hide my visit from the US authorities and they can inspect my passport and interview me at will, but I don't want to get flagged or have anything appended to my travel history as it might cause unforeseen problems in the future. I plan to have a two-week long Iraq trip on VoA and my passport would have entry/exit stamps from Iraqi airports. – Marbles Nov 26 '17 at 9:24
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You'll be fine. They might ask you questions if you get taken to secondary, but that usually only happens if the computer flags a passenger. Source: personal experience.

  • Thanks for answering. Is it possible to get flagged just by having visited one of the restricted countries or does it take something more than that? And could you please explain what happens in secondary? – Marbles Nov 25 '17 at 21:00
  • What happens in secondary is more intense questioning; in your case, about what business (or family) you had in Iran and Iraq. I don't think the system is smart enough to flag you in advance because I am 100% certain the US and Iran do not exchange visa information(!), but the border guard is highly likely to notice your visas for these countries. – Andrew Lazarus Nov 26 '17 at 5:07
  • Thanks, Andrew. You're right, Iran and US don't share visa info but Iraq does. But is it a problem if I have a two-week visit only to Iraq with VoA and entry/exit stamps? Would that get me flagged? The thing is, I don't want to hide my visit from the US authorities and they can inspect my passport and interview me at will, but I don't want to get flagged or have anything appended to my travel history as it might cause unforeseen problems in the future. – Marbles Nov 26 '17 at 9:22
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    If you are a young male with a Muslim name from a Muslim country, you are likely to be flagged regardless of your travels to Iraq or Iran. The CBP officers are reasonable. In the worst case scenario, you will get taken to secondary, and asked why you visited Iran and Iraq. As long as you have a reasonable explanation, you'll be free to go. Also, Iraq does not share any visa information with the USA. – greatone Nov 26 '17 at 13:29

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