Passport to Iran: How (and Why) I Struggled to Get My Iranian Citizenship


Last month, the Islamic Republic of Iran granted me an Iranian passport, bringing to an end a trying application process that lasted almost exactly two years. As I imagine must be the case when applying for citizenship anywhere in the world, the procedure was frustrating, humbling, and seemingly illogical, to the point where it was often impossible to imagine a positive outcome. But now that I finally have the longed-for permission to enter this ancient land, I’m looking forward to a visit to Iran some time this year.

Since it is probably not obvious why an American citizen would want to possess an Iranian passport, let me explain. I’ve been trying to get to Iran for the past two decades. My dad is from Tehran, and as a young adult I developed a strong desire to see and understand where he was from. In the eyes of the Iranian government, I am considered an Iranian because my dad was born there. The upshot is that if I wanted to go, I couldn’t simply go as a tourist; I had to go as an Iranian citizen. When I decided to write a cookbook on Persian food, it was the spur that I needed to prod my long-resistant father into helping me apply, and he finally relented.

There were many challenging aspects of the application process, but two stand out for me. One was not having any control over the situation. I’ve been told that I’m a control freak (I don’t deny it, but hey, I consider it part of my skill set as a chef). I’m used to asking direct questions and working methodically towards a goal. But here, I was given instructions in a language that I can’t read (Farsi), and had to return my completed forms via mail, not knowing when or from whom I would hear back. Although the staff at the passport office was kind, calling them for clarification of even the most minor points was an exercise in mutual misunderstanding. Just as it seemed that I had submitted all of the necessary birth certificates, passport photos, and fingerprint cards, suddenly another document would become necessary, and off I would run to yet another government records office.

At first, the uncertainty of my situation frustrated me to tears. By the end, when people asked me what I was going to do when I got to Iran, my response was that if I were ever lucky enough to be given the documents, I would put them on my little home altar, and just worship them for a few months. No plans–just being thankful for this gift.

Besides the application itself, almost as difficult was people’s failure to understand why on earth I would want to visit Iran, and the subsequent assumption that I must have lost my mind. On the one hand, my Iranian friends and relatives would return from visits to “the motherland” with photos of Persepolis, stunning handmade crafts, and stories of the amazing people they met. But the reaction of most Americans was along the lines of, “Are you sure it’s safe?” or, “Can they keep you there if they want to? What if they think you’re a spy?” Memorably, when I mentioned wanting to visit Iran to an older gentleman at a soirée a few years ago, he shook his head and repeated ominously, “Why go looking for trouble?”

I can’t blame people for seeing Iran in such a negative light. It speaks to our country’s great misunderstanding about Iran. Firstly, it must be established that Iran is not a war-torn country. Yes, there is certainly oppression, and all of the sad and terrible realities that go along with that. But it’s not a place where terrorists are dropping bombs or blowing themselves up in the marketplace. People go to work and school every day, go for picnics and hikes and skiing, and enjoy incredible food. I mean, yoga is really popular in Iran, and people do juice cleanses! Conversely, they eat greasy French fries and burgers at knock-offs of American fast-food joints.

The point is, Iran is far from a perfect place, but it’s a stable country, not a failed state. It is not, in other words, Iraq. Iranians are carrying on their lives, despite the economic sanctions. If only the images and stories that we see on television and newspapers were less sensational and more reflective of Iran’s daily human existence, we would see the country for the mix of good and bad that it is. As the Iranian American comedian Maz Jobrani has hilariously asked, why for once can’t they do a TV interview with a regular Iranian guy who is “just baking a cookie?”

In fact, now that President Rouhani has been elected and the country seems to be warming to Western overtures, visiting Iran has become a much sunnier proposition. I’ve been told that the new leadership is the reason why my passport finally came through when it did. And wow, the guys at the passport office were so nice on my final visit! When I went to pose for my passport photos, the friendly camera operator told me with a heavy Persian accent to “Get ready for your Kodak moment.” Everyone seemed genuinely happy for me to have finally received my documents, and they sent me off with big smiles and an Iranian calendar full of glossy photos of the country’s most magnificent sites. “Now all you need to do is buy your airplane ticket,” said the man behind the counter as he handed me a tourism guide.

When I do finally go on my long-awaited trip, at the top of my list will be seeing my sweet Aunt Meli (who is no longer able to travel), meeting the extended Shafia family, visiting Persepolis, and shopping for ingredients in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar. But for now, I’m planning to take a Farsi language course, gaze at my shiny new Iranian passport and birth certificate, and simply savor the sweetness of this victory.

100 thoughts on “Passport to Iran: How (and Why) I Struggled to Get My Iranian Citizenship

  1. This brought tears to my eyes. I, too, am a half- Iranian and I long to go as well. People don’t understand it and think I’m crazy but all the photos and the stories and the sights and smells I imagine…even though I’ve never been it sounds like half a home to me. I didn’t know how long the process takes to get a passport, kind of makes me sad. I can’t wait to see your photos and hear about your adventures when ever you decide to go!!!

    1. Thank you Tania! I hope that the process gets easier as the ties improve between our two countries. If we resume having diplomatic relations again, I think that getting your documents will be a much smoother process. It’s hard to imagine now, but before 1979 Iran was a popular tourist destination. I’m sure you’ll get to go someday! Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation, It’s nice to know you feel the same way as I do.

  2. It’s so easy for us to forget that people are living and functioning and thriving in places whose only media coverage in our country is negative. I’m glad that you got the passport! And I can’t wait to hear about your travels there.

    1. Thanks Kimberley, that’s exactly what I’m trying to get across. And by the way, I’m very excited for the release of your book this year!

  3. Congratulations, I too have an Iranian passport and it is one of my most cherished items. I am an American who was married to an Iranian for forty four years until he passed in 2010. We traveled to Iran in October 2004 and it is without doubt the best trip we had during our entire marriage. You are so fortunate to have this amazing opportunity, enjoy!

    1. Hi Pat, how wonderful! I’m so glad you and your husband got to travel to his homeland before he passed, that must have been an amazing journey for both of you. From everything I know, I think that Iran is a special place that evokes a deep and lasting “topophilia,” aka “love of place.” Thanks for sharing your story here.

  4. I hope you will share your trip with us via the blog. I also hope that before I’m too old to travel (I’m 54) that relations between Iran and the US will improve to the point that I can go as a tourist to see some of the wonders in Iran.

  5. Research and plan before you go. Locate places with free wi-fi early on in the trip. Plan to go to Isfahan, too. You really can’t miss Isfahan! Stay at the Shah Abassi hotel there, if possible. We can chat more offline, but wanted you to know I’m excited for you!

    1. Thanks Misha, I welcome any advice from you! I’ll definitely hit you up for insider tips before I go. Absolutely, no sleep til Isfahan! I think that’s where you go shopping, no? xoxo

  6. Congratulations! I’m an American woman who lived in Iran in the 1970’s and I still have (and embrace) my Iranian “birth certificate” and passport. I have always wanted to return. The beauty of the country is only surpassed by the beauty and kindness of the Iranian people.

    1. Hi Cindy Lou, you’re so lucky you got to live there! Thanks for sharing your impressions. That’s what I’ve heard, too, and I’m so excited to finally experience it all in person.

  7. Welcome to my lovely brother,arash gave me your book for my birthday and i love it.i like to see you and make you some iranian food.i hope you have a good time in iran.

    1. Hi Narges, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book! Arash told me he gave it to you. OK cool, it would be an honor to have some home cooked food when I visit Iran!

  8. Hey Louisa, I am sure you will enjoy Iran. I personally love it. Say hi to the family and take a lot of pictures. I may even see you there soon. Who knows? Hopefully I pass by before the Persian New Year in March.

    1. Hi Rudine, I wish I were going to be there the same time as you, but I think the earliest I’ll get there will be April/May. Please keep in touch and keep me posted on your travel plans! xoxo

  9. I just started reading your blog and this is the first post I am reading, and I feel so so very happy for you! Congratulations! It was a great text, and I enjoyed reading it. Looking forward to the upcoming post about your journey to Iran. It is truly a beautiful place.

  10. Congratulations! We just submitted all our paperwork. I’m married to an iranian for 40 yrs. My husband has been resistant and lazy to get paperwork done. My son made it perfectly clear he would be home from his world travels in order to finally get paperwork done for Iranian passport. First we had to have the Moslem marriage ceremony…all these years waiting and literally took 5 minutes. After that just follow the sheet and we had most of it done. So now we wait….we are very excited to visit family that haven’t made it to U.S. and visit all these historical places. I agree people’s ignorance comes out with questions like “what if he doesn’t let the kids leave Iran”? Your American what if they are rude and ignore you and make your visit difficult? Really !!! Enjoy your visit and I’m sure we will all have a blast!

    1. Lisa, sounds familiar! How wonderful that after all this time, you’re finally on your way. I didn’t know the marriage ceremony was so easy. I’m excited for you and your family, fingers crossed you’ll be able to go this year. Good luck!

  11. O. . em. . .gee. . I just found you on the intertubes of information about 20 minutes ago! Loved your google chat thing. And please, greetings to your father. As a child, on our way to Caspian Sea summer holidays, we always stopped at historic city of Ghazvin. .which has been around only a few thousands of years.. no big deal. 😎

    Big Shaloah (Shalom/Aloha) to you, your mother and baba Shafia.
    Drop me a line if you visit Hawaii!

    1. Hi, thanks for your good wishes! You sound like you know my family. I’m really looking forward to seeing Ghazvin and the Caspian Sea region. Taking off this Sunday, so excited.

  12. Hi , i’m so happy for you and same as arash, we are ready to be of service to you.

    if you need any help in iran do not hesitate to contact me.

  13. Yeah, well written.

    I am also half Iranian from the UK. I applied for my Iranian birth certificate (which I was very confused about seeing as I wasn’t born there) in order to get my Iranian Passport. I was 5 days away from collecting my birth certificate when the Iranian Embassy in London was shut down at the end of 2011 after the ambush of the UK embassy in Tehran. I lost momentum after this but I have had another surge of wanting to go. My family are getting old and I’d seriously regret never meeting them. Good luck with your journey. And keep the posts from Iran!

  14. Hello, my father is living in Iran now. He is dying and wants me to go see him. But I am not well traveled (I don’t even have an American Passport) and am so confused as to how even to start getting a Persian Passport. He keeps saying he can get me a Persian Birth Certificate and all but I dont understand what exactly that means…I have an American certificate. Anyway, I obviously have lots of questions and would love to speak with someone that knows what they are talking about. Especially because I might not have a lot of time. Could you email me info.or where to get info? Thank you

  15. Hiya Louisa!
    Glad to hear that you finally were able to get your much coveted Iranian passport! I am hoping to get mine as well, but have never even been issued an Iranian birth certificate. The people at the embassy have been very nice, but seem to be unsure of what I am asking them most days. Any tips or advise would be great! Thanks! 🙂

  16. Hello! I am married to Iranian, got the passport and was in Iran three times between 2009 and 2014. Definitely, it is not dangerous! People are really friendly there and eager to meet and talk to people from abroad. However, I am not American, so for me the American-Iranian conflict has no meaning. I saw some European tourists in Iran but for American it might be harder to get there.

  17. Hi there,

    That’s so great, I hope you enjoy Iran! I’ve been there a few years ago and it is great. I am married to an Iranian man, I’m French but we live in London. We have a son now and his family in Iran is dying to meet him, but the embassy here is telling us to change his first name to an Iranian name for him to get his passport: did you do that as well? If so do you have an Iranian name on your Iranian passport and an American name of your American passport? Because presumably you’ll have to take them both and show them both on your way back to America – do you think it will be ok?

    1. Hi Noelie,

      I didn’t encounter any issue with my name. This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’d recommend asking some other Iranians/Iranian immigrants about it, and finding out what their experience has been. It’s also worth clarifying with the embassy, to make sure that is exactly what they are telling you. I’m sure they want your son to be able to visit Iran, and now seems like a good time. From what I understand, Iran is welcoming tourists and doing their best to make it easier for immigrants and their families living abroad to come visit, so everything is working in your favor.

      If anyone reads this comment and has advice for Noelie, please join the conversation, thanks!

  18. Hi Louisa,
    Hope you decide to go soon Persian new year just past and celebrations aren’t over yet. I’m going on April 16th to get married. I went a few times in a past but since they came out with this “carte melli” (citizen ship card) business its been hell to get my passport. I got it finalized 3 weeks ago but I’m still waiting on it. I really hope I get it before my departure date. Total Garbage if you ask me. When I get there however its gonna be stories for a few laughs.

    Kind Regards,


    1. Hey Sam,

      Congrats on your upcoming nuptials! That’s awesome that you’ll be getting married in Iran. I wish I could go sooner but the plan right now is to go in May, hopefully before it gets too hot. Sounds like you have plenty of time to receive your passport, from all the stories I’ve heard it seems like these travel arrangements always come through just in the nick of time. Good luck to you!

      1. Hi Louis,

        Thank you very much. May isn’t too far off and if your used to heat you won’t be bothered by it much most places in Iran are dry just get in the shade and your golden and all homes and hotels are nicely air conditioned. Enjoy your trip!


  19. Louisa!
    I was searching Iranian passport tips because I am going through the process right now and your blog is the first that came up! It is beautifully written and I am so proud to be your cousin!
    Congratulations on obtaining the passport!
    Love, your cousin, Kiana Dabier

    1. Kiana, I’m so glad you found this! Feel free to get in touch if you have questions about anything, but I think you’re going to have an easy time getting your papers. Hope to see you soon, lots of love to you!

  20. I am writing this from Tehran on my last full day after a marvelous three weeks in Iran. I am an American man married to an Iranian woman. I wish I could get a passport but have been told , it is not possible. I will continue to search for way how I can stay for a longer time than a visitors visa allows.

    While coming here during Nowruz was good during my time in Tehran, I would suggest not to visit during the new year because so much of the daily city life has stopped and all of the museums, shrines, gardens, and historical sites are so busy. None the less, I am already planning a return visit. The Iranian people take hospitality to a new level, food is great and the memories will last a life time.

    1. Hi Chuck,

      Thanks for sharing your impressions! I’m so glad to hear you’ve had a good experience in Iran. I am so excited, now that my trip is approaching. Good to know about traveling in Iran during Norooz!

  21. Congratulations!
    Your story is A LOT like mine. My dad died in the US 20 years ago and we could never find his birth certificate. Since then, he had that same mess of being one document short here or there and to this day I still don’t have my Iranian birth certificate (much less a passport). Since both parents were Persian (like you ) I need an Iranian passport. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Bob. I empathize with you.I imagine there is a way to work around your problem. I recommend talking with the people at the daftar office in DC. Perhaps if you can show a connection to Iran, maybe through an uncle or other relative who lives there, you could start there. Maybe you can go as a tourist if there is no way to verify your father’s Iranian identity, and you could do that with a tour guide or group. I would encourage you to start trying. If things keep going the way they have been, in coming years it will get easier to visit Iran.

  22. Hi Louisa,

    Great story. I am half iranian, half english, and I was hoping to get my Iranian passport. However, they told me that Chloe was not an acceptable name? Louisa is also a foreign name, so I’m surprised how you managed to get your Iranian passport in that name. Any tips as to how I can get mine too?

    1. Chloe you are not the first person to ask me this question. I didn’t experience this in the US, I wish I could be more helpful. If you are able to successfully navigate this situation please share your experience here, thank you! I’m in Iran right now, and all the paperwork and hassle to get here is truly worth it!

  23. I just reading your blog and I’m very happy for you. I am living in iran . In Tehran. I know when you achieve your goal, it can be very very exciting. Because I am going to go to Australia to countinue my education in PhD. And it is my goal. On one hand I have alot of information about history of iran, especially about Tehran. On the other, my husband has a catering (iranian food). If you are interested about it we can arrange a visit to my husband workplace. If you want, It’d be my honor to help you in Iran louisa. I leave my cantact number for you. Don’t be hesitate to contact me.
    My cellphone number is 09199906289

    1. Hi Razieh,

      Congratulations on continuing your education in Australia! Yes, it is a great feeling to realize a hard won goal, and I am so glad I persevered in getting my Iranian passport. I just got back from Iran and it was an amazing adventure. Thank you for your generous offer of helping me out in Tehran! As you might imagine, my own family barely let me out of their site, but on my next trip I will have a bit more flexibility, so if you’re still there, I may take you up on your offer. Good luck to you in everything!

  24. Hi Louisa,

    This is beautiful. I am also half Iranian and just started looking into the process of finally visiting Iran and my MANY family members who live there. My father, who is Iranian, passed away when I was 15 and having just turned 30, I had a sudden urge to get my act together and finally explore the other half of my roots. Your post brought me to tears because I can truly relate. Like you, I have a deep love of cooking Persian food. I always cook at home and really want to explore the recipes in more detail and perfect each dish. My dad LOVED to cook, so I grew up with the smell of onions frying early in the morning, allowing each dish the ample amount of time to stew all day long. I would always watch him and try and learn, but there are still things I wish I could ask him to this day. My fesenjun might not taste quite like his and my gheymey might be missing one flavor that I just can’t put my finger on, so I am looking forward to seeing my family, cooking with them, and exploring other parts of the country that I have heard endless beautiful stories about. My husband, who is American, is also looking forward to coming with me. I still need to look into that process, but am hoping things go as smoothly as they can. Thank you again for this inspirational post. It made my day.

    1. Sara, your comment made my day. It sounds like your dad was a wonderful person. I encourage you to go to Iran, you will love it, and it will give you a deeper understanding of your dad. I just came back and I had the best time. I will write about it here, but I’m still processing the experience. Do keep me posted, and let me know if you decide to make the trip. Good luck!

  25. Salam. I am so happy for you. I have my shenasnameh from the 1970’s. I also want to go apply for a new shenashnameh and passport. Can you help me by telling me how to start the procedure and what documents will be needed. I left Iran when I was 13 and have not done sarbazi as I was away. Can I obtain a moafiat card at the embassy. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Good Luck with your visit.

    1. Hi Ali, you will need a different application than what I needed. Just call the daftar office in Washington, DC: Tell them your situation, and they will tell you which application you need to fill out, and which documents you will need. They are very helpful, and if you speak Farsi it’s much easier. Based on your situation I think you will have a really easy time. Good luck. All the trouble of getting my passport was so worth it.

      1. Hi Louisa,
        Excited for you. Do let me know when you do visit Iran. I hope you do not face any problems at the hands of the Iranian immigration.I have been an Iranian before and also want to return someday but read horror stories of some people who have returned. I also cannot read or write Farsi. How did you manage to fill your forms or read and understand the instructions? I wonder if there is online a Farsi – English translator. Good Luck and wait to hear back from you. You are indeed very lucky!

  26. It’s funny I’ve been googling the past three days
    For an answer to my recent mishap…
    Few monthes ago I flew to Europe visiting my Brothers and Sister haven’t met for almost 35 yrs
    Few weeks ago I had a call from my aged and sick mother so I promised to visit her ASAP
    So I called the Iranian embassy here in Copenhagen inquiring a quick travel pass and explained the reason
    To my surprise I was denied the service simply because I hold an American passport
    And he suggested the Washington’s mission for my paper!!
    I booked a flight to Tehran
    Hopping to enter my own homeland would not be a problem since under my us passport
    Printed in capital letters place of birth :IRAN
    July the 9th at midnight arrived at IKIA Tehran
    With an Iranian Shenas nameh Birth certificate and my US Passport
    And told them my mothers story and that my father passed away last year and me not being there for them
    Don’t want that happen to my mother too
    I was deported from my own hometown.
    5:30 am I was Escorted to the first flight back to Copenhagen via Moscow .
    And received the welcome to Copenhagen with an smile
    Despite my long overstay as an American Tourist!!

    1. Hi Mark,

      I’m so sorry to hear that, you must have been devastated. I hope your mom is doing okay and that you get to see her soon. If it’s any comfort, they didn’t cut me any breaks either. But I do encourage you to get in touch with the DC office when you’re back in the US. If you explain your situation I imagine they’ll do the best they can to expedite your documents. They really are nice people. Since you already have your shenas nameh you’ve got a big head start. Good luck, and please let me know what happens!

  27. Both my parents are Iranian and for the longest time I have wanted to see where they grew up. I have friends who went to Iran when they were young (like 10 and 12) so their parents did all the work for getting their passports and they didn’t know how they did it. I really would love to talk to someone who has done the process to help me out. Is there any way I can get your email so we can talk? Thanks

  28. Hi Louisa,
    Hope you had a good time in Iran.
    Please let us know how you were treated by immigration on arrival? Any interrogation or delays? Did you face any problems not speaking the language?

    1. Great question Ali. I had the BEST time in Iran. I’ll be writing about it little by little, like in today’s new post about my journalist friend Jason Rezaian. I had NO problems with immigration at the airport. It was a little tricky not speaking the language, but I knew enough to get by, and so many people there speak English. I’ll be telling more stories soon. Thanks!

  29. Hi Louisa,

    My father is an Iranian citizen and I have been really interested in visiting Iran, especially after my grandmother has passed. My father has been in America for the past 30 years and is having a hard time helping me read the documents. You’re article has increasingly inspired me to get to work on beginning the journey to my American-Iranian citizenship. But I am so confused as to where to start! Do you have any direction for me to begin in? Please email me!



  31. Hi Louisa,
    I read through some of the above items with interests.
    My situation is a bit different. I was born in Iran and left the country when I was 17 years old and came to UK and that was nearly 40 years ago. I have never ever been back to Iran, since that time. I am a British Subject and changed my name by Deed Pole, shortly after the revolution of 1979. I am a professional individual and used my British passport all the time and never had Iranian passport since.
    My father passed away a few months ago and I couldn’t visit there. I have checked various websites and seems that I cannot travel to Iran with my British passport, due to mentioning place of birth to be Tehran; hence as part of the regulation, one must be travelling with an Iranian passport!!
    How can I sort this out now please? It will not be possible to obtain an Iranian passport with my old names, as that will not be legal. After much thoughts, I came to this conclusion that it should either be using the British Passport (which they would not accept) or obtaining an Iranian passport with my present name if they do it. I am rather confused and don’t really want to waste a lot of time if that is going to be like chasing after my own tail.
    It would be lovely if I could visit that country once more before my time is up.
    Any comments please?
    Please email me.

    1. Hi Daniel, I’ve heard from a few British citizens in the same situation as you. Please take a look at the comments thread for this post, I think you will find the discussion helpful.

  32. Can someone contact me at T r a v e l e r 9 1 8 at h o t m a i l (dot) com?

    My father, too, is Iranian and I have been struggling for three years to gain my natural born citizenship but am having massive troubles during this process.

    I really need someone to talk to and get some advice and support from.



      1. Daniel thank you for stepping up to help Susan. Please if either of you have any advice you want to share with the community, post it here or send it to me. A lot of people have come to this post and comment section looking for help on getting their documentation. Thanks!

        1. I have a question. I have been struggling as well. Idk if you still respond to these comments, but i would greatly appreciate it if i could get a response.

          Did your mother have to fix anything for you to get your iranian passport??

  33. My husband and I, after living in U.S., teaching at universities and retiring, decided to return HOME. My husband passed away 5 months ago and was buried in Tehran, where he always wished. He was truly in love with Iran and its outstanding culture.
    I have decided to stay here for the rest of my life. Our two daughters, unfortunately, continue to live in U.S. and have been as brainwashed as most Americans about Iran. Now I need them to sign powers of attorney for me to access my husband’s bank account and for this, they need Iranian birth certificates and passports! After contacting the Daftar in Washington, reading all the complicated forms and demands for documents, am on the verge of giving up the whole enterprise. How could they demand that they have Iranian birth certificates when born in U.S. and Iranian passports when they do not EVER intend to visit Iran and leave their jobs, travel to Washington, stay in hotel, etc. and wait for a year to get them? Why can’t they just sign the power of attorney where they live, have their signatures notarized offering their American passports, and mail the document to me? it all sounds awful (should I say, stupid?) I give up!

    1. Congratulations Shaida! I’m so happy that the waiting and hard work paid off. Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone on your blog, what a wonderful resource for everyone.

  34. Louisa:

    I am the mother of the poster Shaida on 9/5/14 in which we travelled to Washington to get her Shenasnameh. I am American born, married to an Iranian/US Citizen for some 43 years now. I had been to Iran in 1973 and since our daughter Shaida’s birth had not had a reason for getting our daughter registered. Due to the issues of raising a family and respective careers, a trip back home just never happened again. At her marriage and now in her later years our daughter decided she MUST see her father’s homeland. I was very worried of the possible consequences but travelled with my husband and Shaida to Washington this past week and can attest to the fact that the Embassy trip was a surprisingly lovely (if not short) occasion. For some time now she has corresponding with you and followed your journey for a trip back to Iran. I would just like to thank you for your inspiration and kindness in posting your journey and sharing some of the trials and tribulations of same in this blog. It gave her a boost and the necessary impetus to continue in her quest. She now feels she is OFFICIAL (even though I KNEW she was official all along!) I am very pleased to witness her own sharing of the information for others and hope those individuals have as wonderful experience as we did. We look forward to travelling back to Iran next year. I intend to continue following your informative work and am absolutely thrilled with your books. I hope you may some day seek my own work at and witness my own family’s journey through the ages. Once again, I send my sincere appreciation for your inspiration to my beloved daughter. Blessings to you and yours my friend…

  35. Hi Dell, how wonderful to hear from you. I’m glad I’ve been able to help Shaida. She has inspired me, too. I’m thrilled for her and all of you that you will get to go back to Iran next year. Shaida is lucky to have such supportive parents. It was generous of you to support Shaida in going back and understanding her heritage, despite your fear. If you want any recommendations I’ll have plenty, but knowing Iran, your family will probably have planned every minute of your stay. Major thanks to Shaida for posting such a detailed account of the process of getting her passport, it’s an excellent resource for everyone. And your site is fascinating, I just went over and browsed. Keep me posted on your travel planning, and thanks for making my day.

    1. Thanks for your response Louisa. My daughter’s feet still have not touched the ground since she received her papers last week but I am feeling a little less fearful of the whole possibility of travel although of all in our family I have to admit, I’M the scare-dee-cat of all things unknown. My Shaida has a ‘wanderlust’ that I never have developed, I guess she got it from her Iranian father who travelled the world before God sent him to me. Like her mother she is very detail oriented in her research as you could probably tell by my family stories on my website. I hope you enjoyed my family stories and if you noticed on the top right hand banner of my website, there’s a picture of my family complete with our son Bobby and our baby girl, Shaida. Have a wonderful day girlfriend and if you’re ever our way (back woods of Florida not too far from Disney), look us up and we’ll show you how we live in our beautiful Sunshine State! (However, I promise it won’t involve any alligators!)

  36. I am also half Persian. My father was from Tehran. Recently my family there has been working on getting our inheritance from our grandparents back from the government. My cousins told me that to receive my portion I have to have my Iranian birth certificate and some card I guess is their version of a social security card. I have no idea how to go about this. Where do you start?

    1. I would think that would be the form you need, but you should definitely call the embassy to be sure. Be patient and make a list of the questions you have before you call, as they tend to talk in circles and you can lose track of your thoughts quickly. Good luck!

  37. I’m interested in what you did to get your Iranian passport? I’m half Iranian as well and would like to visit one day. Any information you have to help me get started would be very helpful!


  38. Would you please let me know the steps you took to obtain your passport. I am in the same position as you, having been born here and wanting to visit the country my father was born in.

  39. My father and mother were both born in Iran. Father is now deceased. I am a U.S. Citizen, born in Los Angeles. My parents had become U.S. citizens before my birth. Does this still allow me to apply for an Iranian passport ?
    If so, I do not have a copy of my fathers birth certificate from Iran. I do have his Death certificate that shows his place of birth as Tehran.
    Will that lack of his birth certificate hold me up. Also I have my birth certificate that shows birthplace of both my mother and father as Iran.

    1. Yes you can get your IRANIAN papers with the documents you have however it may take a few years (2-3) to sort things out. You are considered Iranian as per the Iranian constitution. Good Luck

    2. Thank you for this forum! I am in the exact same situations I appreciate you bringing this question Up. It is my dream to visit Iran and I am very hopeful about the process taking much less than 2-3 years. I am in the works of talking with relatives in Iran and Iranian relatives here to help as much as possible either finding my dads birth certificate there or supporting me on whatever could help. Let me know if you’d like to link up for any support/guidance we can give each other. If anyone else has been in this boat or has anyone feedback I would highly appreciate it.

  40. Hi LOUISA and OTHERS
    My name is Mohammad. I`m from Tehran, Iran. I would be glad to help anyone of you who likes to visit our country or get some information about it. this is my Email address: email hidden; JavaScript is required

  41. Hi Louisa,

    Thank you for posting this entry. I am currently at the beginning process of getting the paperwork needed to travel to Iran with my father who is a native. I am half Iranian by blood and carry an American citizenship. I do possess an Iranian birth certificate, however, I believe it’s too old and I need to apply for a new one. I’ve been to this site: but all the documents are in Farsi. I want to ask you for suggestions as to who to contact and which sites to visit to begin this process.

    My best,

  42. Hello I need help does anyone know how I can get an Iranian passport and shenasnameh? I was born and raised in the USA. I’m proud to be a U.S just knowing I’m a product of the country is a blessing. However I need some sort of help; and guidance as far as how to apply for an Iranian passport and shenasnameh. I was born here in the United States and was raised all my life my mother is American and married my father who is Iranian I love Iran as well and wish to visit. Is this possible? Please help

  43. Hi Louisa my name is Sheron and I was referred by you on glitter-fish blog I don’t know he’s name, maybe you can help me. My father renounced his citizenship with accordance and left and took our family with him when I was only 11 years old. I was born in Iran so was my family and generation.

    In 2012 I went to Iran embassy in Washington looking to get my shenasnaneh because that’s very Important there and you need that for everything. I applied there in person almosana and that took 2 years and I got a response 2014 saying that u need to apply for nationality, so I applied for that too. I send Washington numerous letters and now 1 half years later after applying for nationity 4 years in total still waiting for shenasnameh. I speak,read,write fluent Persian I have a home there but can’t go until shenasnaneh is here

    Do you know how long it will take even my dad renounced I can still get my shenasnaneh right? Embassy said I could and Iran laws states that too, I was Iran there I had a shenasnameh but lost it as a child. If you can give me anything helpful I will be great fully appreciative. Thank you

  44. Hi Louisa,

    I am curious to know if you can help us out. My wife thrives to visit her family in Tehran. Long story short, her father Nader was born in Tehran and eventually moved to the U.S. where he met my wife’s mother. It’s been over 10 years now that Nader has passed away. The family in Tehran is huge and we would love to meet all of them, especially her grandparents.

    The thing is we don’t know where to start. My wife, kids and I all have our passports ready but it feels like the language barrier is keeping us from progressing. Thank you for your time.

  45. Hi everyone. How shameful is only children with Iranian fathers can get shenasname . And not the children with Iranian,nt you think this is not a fair conditionfor those children

  46. Hi my name is Leyla
    I came to United States in 1984 and never gone back to Iran even to visit
    I have green card
    I have lost my iranian passport
    I have to travel back to Iran on an family emergency ..I’m lost and don’t know where to go or how to apply for passport
    I don’t know if I have to get replacement or new passport…..I live in Albuquerque new Mexico
    Would you please contact me ASAP if you have any number (505)9340788
    Email address email hidden; JavaScript is required

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