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Travel Warning: Iran

Near East > Iran > Tehran

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Iran. Dual national Iranian-American citizens may encounter difficulty in departing Iran. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and carefully consider nonessential travel. This replaces the Travel Warning for Iran issued October 21, 2011 to add information regarding additional time needed for citizenship documents processed by the Swiss Protecting Power in Tehran, and the Department’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.

Some elements in Iran remain hostile to the United States. As a result, U.S. citizens may be subject to harassment or arrest while traveling or residing in Iran. Since 2009, Iranian authorities have prevented the departure, in some cases for several months, of a number of Iranian-American citizens, including journalists and academics, who traveled to Iran for personal or professional reasons. Iranian authorities also have unjustly detained or imprisoned U.S. citizens on various charges, including espionage and posing a threat to national security. U.S. citizens of Iranian origin should consider the risk of being targeted by authorities before planning travel to Iran. Iranian authorities deny the U.S. Interests Section in Tehran access to imprisoned dual national Iranian-American citizens because Iranian authorities consider them to be solely Iranian citizens; access to U.S. citizens is often denied as well.

The Iranian government continues to repress some minority religious and ethnic groups, including Baha'i, Arabs, Kurds, Azeris, and others. Consequently, some areas within the country where these minorities reside, including the Baluchistan border area near Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Kurdish northwest of the country, and areas near the Iraqi border, remain unsafe. Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens of Iranian origin. Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, as well as persons who encourage Muslims to convert, are subject to arrest and prosecution.

The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran. The range of consular services provided by the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy is extremely limited and may require significantly more processing time than at U.S. Embassies or Consulates outside of Iran. Neither U.S. passports nor visas to the United States are issued in Tehran. The Iranian government does not recognize dual citizenship and will not allow the Swiss to provide protective services for U.S. citizens who are also Iranian nationals. 

Our ability to assist U.S. citizens in Iran in the event of an emergency is extremely limited. U.S. citizens in Iran should ensure that they have updated documentation at all times and make their own plans in the event of an emergency. For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis" at the Department's Internet website. U.S. citizens who travel or reside in Iran are strongly encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  U.S. citizens may also enroll in person at the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy, located at No. 39, Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th), Pasdaran, Tehran. The telephone numbers for the U.S. Interests Section are ( 98)(21) 2254-2178 and ( 98)(21) 2256-5273, fax ( 98)(21) 2258-0432, email: tie.vertretung@eda.admin.ch, website: http://www.eda.admin.ch/tehran.

U.S. citizens should also review the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Iran and stay up to date by bookmarking the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. If you don't have internet access, current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).