I'm a US citizen, born in the US, but also an Iranian citizen due to my father being from Iran. I've never been to Iran except for a brief time when I was just a year old.

In light of Trump's recent ban on citizens from 7 countries entering the US, if I decided to take a vacation to Europe in the near future, would I have trouble re-entering the US despite being an American-born US citizen?

Is there any way for airport officials to know that I even hold an Iranian citizenship?

I'm also concerned for my parents, who were both born in Iran but also hold US citizenships. Can we safely leave the country for vacation and come back?

We all have American passports.

  • 12
    A US citizen cannot be refused entry to their own country, period
    – Crazydre
    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:36
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 13, 2017 at 21:37

4 Answers 4


You should be fine to travel outside the US.

The executive order in question concerns only aliens who are nationals of the seven listed countries. A US citizen, even one who also holds a foreign nationality, is not an alien. 8 USC 1101(a)(3):

(3) The term “alien” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

As a US citizen (whether naturalized or native-born), you cannot legally be denied entry into the United States. In addition, there are no news reports of US citizens being denied under the order.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 13, 2017 at 21:37

You should certainly be concerned, and not necessarily trust that you will have a smooth time through customs.

Firstly, a statement from the State Department has been made that:

Trump Visa Ban Also Applies to Citizens With Dual Nationality, State Department Says

“Travelers who have nationality or dual nationality of one of these countries will not be permitted for 90 days to enter the United States or be issued an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa,” a State Department official said.

It also applies to people who originally hail from those countries but are traveling on a passport issued by any other nation, the official said.

While it is absolutely impossible that this statement includes US Citizens, the fact that the policy was implemented and rolled out as an emergency measure means you would be at the mercy of the current immigration official's understanding of that. They will be stressed, harassed and miserable, unsure of the rules, and inclined to play it safe. And your needs will be secondary to theirs.

As practical advice, I would ensure you travel with a fellow native-born single-citizenship US citizen whom you trust, preferably Caucasian, who should accompany you if you are detained.

This will effectively give you a second person to act as a "known figure", and whose citizenship status will not be in question by the authorities.

Basically, treat the current situation as if you were in unsafe territory, with poorly defined rules. Hopefully, you will stroll through brandishing your US passport, secure in your citizenship. If you are arbitrarily detained, your ally can relay messages, and ensure you are not accidentally lost in the system.

I am obviously terribly sorry that you have to put up with this, and hope it all goes well for you.

Ongoing details can be found here.

  • 2
    There is absolutely no reason to believe that U.S. citizens will be affected by this order. Through all the chaos of the past two days there have been no reports of U.S. citizens being refused entry. It is absolutely clear in the text of the act and in all trustworthy media reports, that it is limited to aliens. If there were to be even one case of entry denied to someone traveling under a U.S. passport, it would make the past two days seem like a picnic, public buildings would be burned down, seriously. Jan 30, 2017 at 10:01
  • 1
    @PaulRichter I agree that it would be unconstitutional. I would also, unlike you, be utterly unsurprised if US citizens travelling with dual citizenship were detained for questioning. My advice is based on the information that this is all being clarified in real time, and that the spirit of the law is to prevent potential terrorist threats (and there's a political discussion to be had there unsuitable for this site). As I said: "Hopefully, you will stroll through brandishing your US passport, secure in your citizenship" And I agree, and have upvoted, that that is the OP's legal status.
    – deworde
    Jan 30, 2017 at 10:10
  • @PaulRichter However, I consider it extremely complacent advice to say that is what will happen if, for example, an Indian-American and Iranian-American enter through customs together, speaking to each other in Persian. This ban is not how normal immigration procedure operates or has ever operated, and assuming normal behaviour from immigration officials would be courageous or naive. I agree with you about it making the current situation seem like springtime in the park, btw. I just don't consider that a dealbreaker for it happening.
    – deworde
    Jan 30, 2017 at 10:12
  • @PaulRichter In other words, while I am certain Koda would ultimately make it home, I would (and have) definitely advise him to take appropriate precautions to ensure that he gets home smoothly; not least because this administration is "establishment-hostile", so standard rule of law appears to be a touch hit-and-miss.
    – deworde
    Jan 30, 2017 at 10:21
  • 1
    @PaulRichter As Gary Kasparov points out here "take none of your rights for granted"
    – deworde
    Feb 3, 2017 at 23:50

Your concern is valid. Although the executive order did not specifically state anything about US Citizen who also hold another citizenship from one of the seven countries listed by Donald, the implementation of this order is carried out poorly. Remember that a lot of the officers at the airport are not highly educated and you will be at their mercy. Some are really nice, but you never know who you get!

I share a similar concern and I'd rather cancel my trip and lose some $ to being harassed on my way back in.

I advise you hold on your travel plans until further time.


My wife's mother is from Iran. She is also a United States citizen. She will go back and forth to USA/Iran since family is still there.

My wife's mother just tried coming back into the USA and they denied her entry stating she was in Iran for too long. She's had dual citizenship for 10 years and this is the first that this has ever happened.

It's quite ridiculous honestly and I'm not sure what my wife and her mother are going to do at the moment.

Not sure if this is legal but most definitely just happened to them so I would say it does affect people that have citizenship in the USA.

  • 6
    US Citizen can not be denied entry to the US. Period. No matter what. Are you sure she is US citizen? Are you sure she was able to explain to CBP she is a US citizen? The line of reasoning you gave us "she was in Iran for too long" seems to be applicable to green card holders, not citizens.
    – mzu
    Mar 9, 2017 at 3:55
  • 2
    The US used to have a practice of denaturalizing people who spent too much time in the county of their original citizenship. This practice was struck down by the courts decades ago. Something in your story seems not to add up correctly.
    – phoog
    Mar 9, 2017 at 6:10
  • Nowadays, denaturalization (in most cases) involves courts, proper notifications and right to defend him(her)self. It seems improbable, that person being denaturalized have no idea of what is going on.
    – mzu
    Mar 9, 2017 at 6:32

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