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I am considering to visit Iran. After that, I would fly to the UK, either via Qatar or Turkey.

I read that I don't qualify to enter the United States under the visa waiver program after visiting Iran. I really want to avoid getting a visa for the US, so I am wondering what the chances are that the immigration authorities will end up having records about my trip to Iran.

From Wikipedia I gathered that Iran does not stamp passports anymore, so there should not be a way for any government to know about my visit based on my passport only.

The way I understand the "Advanced Passenger Information" is that the countries I leave, enter or travel through might receive the API data from the airline I am flying with. That means that the UK would likely know that I was in Iran, and that they also have data about all my other past trips starting or ending in the UK. However, I don't really understand whether the UK will by default share this data with the US or not.

Also, what happens if I ever fly to the US using Qatar airways again? Will the US only get API data about this one trip to the US or is there a chance that they will get information about other flights with this airline?

closed as off-topic by Henning Makholm, David, David Richerby, Karlson, jwenting May 13 at 8:21

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If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is fundamentally about how to get away with breaking the immigration rules of the country you're visiting. We don't recommend breaking any country's rules, no matter how backwards or bigoted. – Henning Makholm May 11 at 19:20
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because, as Henning Makholm observes, it's fundamentally about how to circumvent the USA's current immigration law. – David May 11 at 19:30
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    I'm for leaving it open. Whilst the question is about attempting to circumvent immigration law, it's a good opportunity to show this person and anyone in the future with a similar question why it's a bad idea to attempt such a thing. – Doc May 11 at 19:36
  • Getting a US Visa is extremely easy for VWP citizens. You barely have to show any documents and you'll get a 10 year visa pretty much automatically. Piece of cake compared to most other countries. – JonathanReez May 11 at 20:40
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    @JonathanReez That is normally only true if you have a reason that you do NOT qualify for VWP (which would be true in this case). Otherwise you will need to provide extensive proof as to why you are not simply using the VWP program. – Doc May 11 at 20:50
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The simple answer is that nobody can tell you.

That's not to say that nobody knows, but anyone that does know would unable to share such information publicly.

The US and the UK do have extensive data sharing agreements, many of them as a part of the "Five Eyes" alliance. It is certainly very feasible (probably even likely) that such information would be shared under this agreement, especially as the basis of the travel ban you refer to is (at least in theory) related to terrorism.

You should also keep in mind that what you are suggesting would entail lying on your ESTA application, and fundamentally entering the US illegally under the Visa Waiver Program. If you are caught, you can expect to be deported, and barred from entering the US for at least several years (not necessarily officially "banned", but your odds of having a visa application approved after both having visited Iran AND having been caught lying about that fact, would be low).

  • But if transiting in Qatar or Turkey, will even the UK know that the passenger originated in Iran? The UK API requirements are publicly documented and not a secret, but the documentation is in an Excel sheet, which I currently can't open. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 11 at 20:41
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    If you bought you ticket in the UK, or if you travel includes flights that go via the UK, then the UK government will know about the entire itinerary. – Doc May 11 at 20:49
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    The US deception ban is indefinite. There is a waiver available, but without the waiver the banned person is permanently inadmissible. – phoog May 11 at 21:56
  • One also needs to remember that many international networks you use without even noticing are operated by US companies: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, many of the GDS, and so on. If they really want to know, they will. Whether CBP will know it automatically is another matter, but you probably don’ want to try. – jcaron May 12 at 13:07

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