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I am originally Persian, born and raised in Iran. I am on a Green card here in the USA and want to go back home, but my Iranian passport has expired. Qatar Airways has a cheap, good flight that I want to book, but the web site does not let me book because my passport has expired. I tried calling but did not get through.

I know sometimes airlines accept you going back to your country with an expired passport. Would that apply here?

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  • 4
    do you want to go home for good? If not, will you stay long enough to renew your passport? You will need it to re-enter the USA if you plan to do that. Jan 25, 2023 at 22:00
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    Even if Iran would let you in, it seems that the airline refusing to sell you a ticket means they do not want to sell you a ticket under these circumstances. It is possible the planned connection in Doha is a problem even if you could get into Iran, or possibly Iran wants you to have a valid passport, but if the airline won't sell you a ticket and let you board, it sort of doesn't matter why.
    – mlc
    Jan 25, 2023 at 23:22
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    As per Kate's observation, how do you plan on leaving Iran? Surely, that would have to be on your Iranian passport, yes? Surely, it can not be expired to leave.
    – MastaBaba
    Jan 26, 2023 at 10:09
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    @KateGregory green card holders do not need a passport to enter the US. I would guess that Iranian citizens do need a valid passport to leave Iran, however.
    – phoog
    Jan 26, 2023 at 21:49
  • Almost certainly not. Isn't it obvious, no jurisdiction will accept an expired passport except in circumstances so special, they won't matter here? Jan 27, 2023 at 20:42

3 Answers 3

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The best thing to do is to contact The Interests Section of Islamic Republic of Iran at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington D.C. and ask about getting a new passport that allows you to travel home.


Sources:

The Interests Section provides all essential consular services to Iranian citizens and issued visas to foreigners.

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You can, yes, but it has to be a direct flight (which doesn't exist), TIMATIC

Iran - Destination Passport

Passport required. Document Validity

Nationals of Iran are allowed to enter with an expired passport.

Although, you may be able to do a transit in DOH, TIMATIC doesn't mention the need of a valid passport

Follow Mark Johnson's answer and get a new passport if possible

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    I am pretty sure there are no direct flights between the US and Iran. And OP does not seem to have another passport which would allow him to fly to e.g. Turkey.
    – Jan
    Jan 26, 2023 at 16:33
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    If the trip is possible, but making the trip requires taking a flight that doesn't exist, doesn't that mean that the trip is impossible? Jan 27, 2023 at 0:49
  • Conceivably, could one charter a direct flight?
    – TripeHound
    Jan 27, 2023 at 1:40
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    @TannerSwett In practice, yes. Such a trip would be legal according to the laws on leaving the U. S. and entering Iran even though no commercial airline currently offers such a flight. Jan 27, 2023 at 22:48
  • @TripeHound - Of course, this can be done very easily— if one just happens to have about $100,000 burning a hole in one's pocket.
    – Obie 2.0
    Feb 2, 2023 at 5:38
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The problem is that the airline isn't sure that your home country will let you enter. And if your home country doesn't let you enter, then the airline has to take you back immediately and that's a major pain for them. Imagine the plane is supposed to go from the USA to Iran to India, then they might have to take you to India and then get you to the USA somehow.

So whether you are legally allowed to enter Iran or not, if you can't convince the airline of that, then you'll have to stay in the USA. And the airline wouldn't want to take the risk. Even if you are able to buy a ticket, that doesn't mean you will be allowed on the flight once you come to the boarding gate and your passport is checked.

If you have to go through another country, that makes it just worse, because at the US checkin they can't know that the second country allows you on the flight to Iran. Plus there's the risk that you might not be allowed on a return flight with an expired passport.

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    The core problem is that the country in transit may not allow the traveller to enter. Airlines are required to check that beforhand and may recieve a fine for not doing so (also to bear the costs of returning the traveller to the point of departure). Jan 27, 2023 at 23:14

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