I am a US citizen but my wife is an Iranian citizen with US permanent resident status, which she obtained through our marriage. We were planning to travel to Iran to visit my in-laws. However, we are worried, with the recent news of visa waiver program changes, that there will be problems for us and that she will not be able to re-enter the US without a visa.

Will she be able to re-enter the US without having to apply for a visa?

Update: Just wanted to update this question with our experience. We were able to go to Iran and come back without any problems. As the answers to this question pointed out, the green card lets you return and the changes to the Visa Waiver Program has no impact if you are a permanent resident.

  • 15
    A permanent resident enters with her green card. No visa or waiver (or even passport) is necessary.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 5:39
  • 2
    How did it go in the end?
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 16:15
  • 2
    @Crazydre Everything was fine and there were no problems. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


The proposed change doesn't affect you or your wife, and she won't need a visa.

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of certain countries to visit the US without getting a visa or any other form of authorization. It isn't what your wife has been using; she can enter the US any time, because she already has a different form of authorization: a green card, which avoids any need for a visa. The VWP is unrelated to permanent residency, and I haven't heard of any proposed changes to the permanent resident program.

Anyway, Iran is not one of the countries included in the VWP, which is another reason why your wife hasn't been using it up until now, and why any changes to it wouldn't affect her.

  • 1
    That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for your answer. Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 17:48
  • @phoog: As you've noted, the changes discussed here did pass Congress (in another bill), were signed into law, and are now in effect. Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 15:32

No, the restrictions are for VWP nationals visiting visa-free.

Firstly Iranians aren't VWP nationals (they require a visa even to change planes in the US) and secondly a permanent resident only needs their green card (even a passport is not required)

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