Glitter-fish.com

Dual Citizenship – Shenasnameh & Iranian Passport

Dual Citizenship – Shenasnameh & Iranian Passport

Dual Citizenship – Shenasnameh & Iranian Passport

wpid-20140905_194206.jpg

My whole life, I have been dreaming of getting my Shenasnameh & Iranian Passport. Iranian laws allow for the wife and children of an Iranian man to obtain citizenship, despite country of residence.
Shenasnameh is an Iranian birth certificate and “life certificate”. All marriages, divorces and children are added into a bearers Shenasnameh, so it is a vital document to have. Ideally one would be obtained at the time of birth, can still be issued at any age with patience and the right documentation. Sadly, there is very little information available online about the process and what to expect. I poured over the few sites that had information dozens of times!

I was determined to visit Iran and see this beautiful and ancient culture for myself, so it was time to get started. A small stack of forms arrived to be filled out in farsi, this is where Dad came in. Form 428-G or 428-B will be required if the applicant is over the age of 18. These forms are not available for download, and must be requested. My Uncle called to request the forms while I was visiting him and was told that only the Father of the applicant could request the forms. I got on the phone to request them and they told me that since my Father was alive, he had to be the one to request them. Dad called the embassy and requested the forms and they were quickly mailed to him. He was told that we would have to get the Shenasnameh first, then get the passport issued when we picked it up. This would be the way every correspondence would work. They would only contact my Dad for information and instructions.

My Dad filled out the 3 forms and I carefully signed my name in farsi. I excitedly gathered my documents and posted my application packet to Washington on April 3, 2014. May 9, 2014 my Dad got a call requesting my Mom’s Shenasnmeh. She had what is referred to as a Shahi-Shenasnameh which is a birth certificate that was issued during the reign of the Shah before the Revolution of 1979. This is no longer considered a valid document, so we did not include it in the application packet. He sent it out that afternoon. June 27, 2014 an envelope arrived containing all of my Dad’s original documents with a refund for $101.00. There was no sign of anything pertaining to my application, so naturally I panicked. I called the embassy in Washington and was assured that this was normal procedure. August 29, 2014 my Dad received a letter requiring me to present myself in Washington D.C. before 10am during opening hours. We loaded up and made the 12 hour drive in a single day.
We booked the Holiday Inn in Georgetown and could not have been happier with the location. We were three buildings away from the embassy, so we just walked. We arrived at the embassy on September 3, 2014 just before 8am. We were told that they begin accepting applications at 7am and start processing applicants at 8am. We were respectively in hijab (headscarf), so we had no issues. We were checked into security and made our way up the marble stairs. The waiting area held no less than 10 chandeliers and had fabric draped on the ceiling tiles.

Ladies, be prepared to have your headscarf (hijab) on before you get to the embassy

Ladies, be prepared to have your headscarf (hijab) on before you get to the embassy

We were number 10 and I anxiously watched the screen as it slowly ticked through numbers. My Dad casually chatted with other waiting applicants like he didn’t have a care in the world. Finally my number came up and we gave the attendant the letter we had received. We waited about 10 minutes and were ushered into a side room with an interviewer. He asked us questions about seeking a Shenasnameh and Passport and if we planned to visit Iran. The interviewer was very kind and asked me to sign several forms. He had me sign several forms in English as my signature in Farsi was apparently abysmal. They did not ask for the form that we had filled out (form one) for the passport. We were told that everything that was needed was already in my file. The interviewer said we needed to take a photo for the passport, and I pulled out a stack of photos. He was very amused by the amount of documentation that I brought with me. We paid for my documents and were told to return between 2:30-3:00 that afternoon. We decided to check out of the hotel and try a local restaurant recommended by an employee of the Embassy.

With such a whirlwind trip, sightseeing was kind of out.

With such a whirlwind trip, sightseeing was kind of out.

We had a gorgeous lunch at Yekta Kabobi. When a member of staff delivered our food, all I saw was an arm lightly dusted in black hair and black sleeves. I never even saw his face , I was so transfixed on my plate of kabobs. I gave my Mom ‘sideeyes’ and calmly said, “I just want to kiss that dude on the mouth.” Mom just rolled her eyes and told me a thank you would be sufficient. After eating everything on that table that wasnt bolted down, we made our way next door to shop their international store before heading to the end of the complex to get some sweet Iranian goods.
We got back to the Embassy at 2:15 and waited to be called. Unfortunately the other 4 people that had been waiting with us in the morning all had issues and were told to return the next day. At 2:50pm I received my new documents and pranced my way out to the well-wishes of the people we passed. Finally – FINALLY I WAS OFFICIAL!!!!!

The only shot I took in Yekta. I was far too busy stuffing my face to do much more than take a shot over my shoulder. Fail. I know.

The only shot I took in Yekta. I was far too busy stuffing my face to do much more than take a shot over my shoulder. Fail. I know.

It took just shy of 5 months from the time my application went out to the day I held the books in my hand. This seems to be an exceptionally quick turnaround, so I will outline the exact steps we took in the hopes that it will help others in a similar situation to get the same – or hopefully better time frame.

My long awaited Iranian passport!

My long awaited Iranian passport

Shenasnameh

Shenasnameh

*All of our dealings were with the Embassy in Washington D.C. USA – Procedures may vary by country.

Form 428-B (boys) or 428-G (girls) must be requested from the embassy.
*If your father is living, be prepared to have them correspond with him.
Your ORIGINAL U.S. Passport
*You must have a passport before they will accept your application
*I also included a copy of the photo page of my passport
Original “Long Form” Certified U.S. Birth Certificate
*I got 2 from the State of Florida for $18.00 within 10 days by mail
Father’s ORIGINAL Shenasnameh
*Include copy of first four pages of this also
Parent’s Marriage certificate
*2 certified originals were obtained from the local courthouse for $6.00 within 2 days by mail
Contact information of 2 relatives currently living in Iran
*My Dad included a letter with this written larger, as the form was cramped
Mother’s U.S. certified “Long Form” original birth certificate
*from State of Florida downloaded form – 2 for $18 within 2 weeks
Mother’s Shenasnameh
*if applicable
2 photos of applicant, and each parent
*I sent 4 of each of us
*Women must wear a headscarf (hijab), but a jacket to fully cover the arms was not required at the embassy. I wore a 3/4 length top with jeans and sandals.
2 fingerprint cards (included in packet) completed by local law enforcement
*be prepared for strange looks when you present these blue cards
*My local police department provided free fingerprinting for city residents.

I also included:
A letter with the application packet thanking them for their time (and apologizing for including more than was needed)
A copy of my marriage license
A copy of my Driver’s License
A copy of my Dad’s US and Iranian passport photo pages
A copy of my Dad and Mom’s Driver’s Licenses
A copy of my Dad’s Iranian national ID

I mailed the entire packet USPS certified mail with tracking.

The letter we received told us to bring the following to Washington
Father’s shenasnameh
My original US passport
Original Letter from Embassy
Mother’s shenasnameh *if applicable (this was crossed out on mine as my Mom didn’t have a valid one
payment for Shenasnameh and passport

What I took to the embassy ‘just in case’
My birth certificate
My husbands birth certificate and passport
My marriage certificate
6 photos of me
6 photos of my husband, my Dad, and Mom *women wearing a headscarf (hijab)
My Dad’s US and Iranian passports
Copy of my US passport photo page
My Mom’s Shahi-Shenasnameh
My Driver’s License
Copies of my original application and fingerprint cards
My Parents marriage certificate
**** only my photos were used of this packet of extras, but I like to be prepared for anything!

$10 of the original fee was used to return my US passport via FEDEX, as I had an upcoming international trip. The embassy was very accommodating and returned my passport the next day.

MY TOTAL COSTS *May vary in your state. Not including travel expenses.
$110 US Passport
$35 US passport processing fee
$18 – 2 certified Birth Certificates from State of FL (only needed one)
$6.00 – 2 certified Marriage Licenses from Florida County for parents (only needed one)
$9.58 – USPS certified mail to Washington
*$81 – Shenasnameh + $30 shipping – $110 returned – $10 used for US passport return
$62 – Shenasnameh (according to official)
$147 – passport
$3.50 – 123passportphoto for unlimited passport photo (to be printed at home)
——–
$492.08

Examples of “neutral face” hijab photo for the embassy. This is just a standard scarf wrapped loosely from the ear around the chin and over.

Passport or Shenasnameh appropriate face and hijab

Passport or Shenasnameh appropriate face and hijab

Links of interest

Holiday Inn – closest hotel to Washington Embassy

Iranian Embassy Washington DC
Yekta – spectacular Iranian food
passport photos to print yourself
Louisa’s Shenasnameh Journey

*I am in no way affiliated with these sites or businesses.

Please comment below with any questions or suggestions for those struggling with the process.

83 thoughts on “Dual Citizenship – Shenasnameh & Iranian Passport

  1. Hashemite Edris

    Hello.i am 16 years old and I was born in Japan between Iranian father and Japanese mom , and I hate to be pure Japanese because I don’t look like or act , think like Japanese . So I am thinking to apply for Iranian passport and shenasnaneh to make my another identity . But my dad doesn’t want me to get involved to Iran so he didn’t put me in shenasnameh when I was born . Also they will be divorcing next April , and I am going to mom’s side so I want to make sure if I have any chance to apply for these documents . I wanna hide my dad that I am trying to obtain these , so i can’t ask for his shenasnameh . But there’s still something to prove that my dad is Iranian and that will be Japanese version of shenasnameh ( Koseki Tohon “戸籍謄本”) . I asked Iranian embassy in Tokyo but they said it’s special case and they never been through these type of case so they will call back in a week , but I think they will say no . Also , will my mom be able to get shenasnameh before they divorce ? She had one before but she returned to Iranian embassy . She also lost passport . So the only way to prove that we have a connection with Iran is that koseki Tohon . Will embassy be able to make my shenasnameh and my mom’s shenasnameh without my dad’s shenasnameh ? Embassy told me no matter if my dad put me in shenasnameh or not , I will be in anyway if they find me I am Iranian son when I visit Iran someday , but what do you think ? I’m so sorry for my long sentences .

    1. theglitterfish Post author

      If your Dad doesn’t want to help you, I doubt you will get anywhere with this. I don’t know how the embassy is in Japan, but here in the US, they didn’t even want to deal with me at all. They only wanted to talk to my Dad. I am sure there is a way to look up his information, but the question is will they? If your parents are divorcing, I am not sure if they would grant your Mom a shenasnameh. Your best bet will probably be to try and convince your Dad to help you.
      I understand your frustration, it took me well into my 30’s before my Dad agreed to help me. I was born during the turbulent time that led to the revolution and my parents were fearful to let me go to Iran. Perhaps letting your Dad rest this blog post, and the link at the bottom of the post for Louisa’s journey will help him understand how much this means to us half-Iranian children yearning to.connect with our identity.
      My 40th birthday is in 5 months, and I have finally convinced my Dad to make the trip to Iran with me to celebrate in the beautiful land of his birth. I will be doing posts on this blog about it.
      I wish you all the luck, and hope you don’t have to wait as long as I have had to. 💙

  2. Sam

    Hi the embassy in Washington lost my papers been waiting more than 3 years and longer for my shenasnameh? Do you know what can u do I have a home in Iran need my shenasnameh so I can go

    1. theglitterfish Post author

      Have you contacted the embassy about your paperwork? Is it possible to resubmit everything? It seems unlikely they will do anything after three years unless you contact them. It might also be a good idea to contact the ministry of vital statistics in Tehran (I don’t know what it is called) and ask if they have your shenasnameh and paperwork.
      I was told that all of the paperwork would be verified and copied then sent to Tehran. The shenasnameh is made there and sent back to the embassy. Once you arrive at the embassy for your interview, they make the passport. All of my documents were returned to me when I picked up my passport and shenasnameh a few hours later.
      I hope that your paperwork can be located and quickly returned to you. Absolutely contact too them immediately. Good luck!

      1. Sam

        Hey thanks for responding! I resubmitted my forms again because embassy says Tehran lost my papers.. I applied for tahbehyat meaning naturalization I guess even my dad renounced as I was underage a child born their hope I don’t have to wait long time! Embassy said shenasnameh is easy to get after applied the key is to become naturalization residents I think so hopefully they accept me soon been more than 6 years applying this paper after next anyway hope I this doesn’t take long thx again have a nice day.

  3. Gemeana Collins

    Hi. I am British. My mum is British my dad is from Iran. I have never been but I want to go next year. My dad says I cannot travel on a visa. I am now married to a British man and have changed my passport to my married name. Can I now travel
    on a visa if I don’t have any Iranian surname on my passport?
    Thank you.

    1. theglitterfish Post author

      They ask on their forms for the nationality of your father. They would probably want you to get your Iranian citizenship papers to travel to Iran. I was told by the embassy in DC (2014) that any child of an Iranian man is considered an Iranian citizen regardless of where they were born. These children wouldn’t be allowed to travel on Visas, as they were citizens. I am unsure if this policy has changed, but I sort of doubt it. That would probably be a question for your closest embassy.
      I still haven’t registered my married name, or added my husband to my shenasnameh. With the turmoil in the US, it is looking doubtful that I will get to Iran any time soon. I hope you get there and have the time of your life! 💙

  4. crislyn

    I’d like to ask if they get your US passport prior to the release of your Iranian passport ? Thanks ..

    I’m now applying for an Iranian passport but I’m afraid that they will confiscate my Filipino passport when they release it because it will be harder for me to enter Philippines freely and I’m also planning to stay there for good when I come back and it will be a very big problem without my Filipino passport ..
    Hope you can help. Thanks

    1. theglitterfish Post author

      My passport was returned to me. I had an international trip coming up and I was anxious to have it back before then. I called the embassy and told them of my upcoming trip. They sent my passport back overnight. I have not heard of them confiscating passports, so hopefully this would not be an issue. How long has it been since you turned in your paperwork? If a reasonable amount of time has passed, request it back. Tell them you have a trip coming in a few weeks and need it. They were very accommodating for returning mine quickly. They just made their copies and retrieved whatever info from it that they needed. I got mine back several months before I got my Iranian passort issued. Iran, thankfully doesn’t have a problem with dual citizenship. Good luck! ☺

      1. Anonymous

        Thanks for the response..
        I just started with the process last week, those bio metrics and stuff .. I really hope so that won’t happen ..

        So Did you stay here in Iran while the passport was being processed ?

          1. Anonymous

            I see .. I am actually in Tehran now , been here since last year so we decided to apply for naturalisation because I’m just in a visit visa so I have to exit from Iran to Dubai every end of my visa.. My passport is still with me though .. We are still processing another papers requested by the embassy and after that we have to go back to the embassy for the rest of the process . I really hope so they don’t get my passport because I saw in some of the posts here on internet that Iran doesn’t allow dual citizenship ..

          2. theglitterfish Post author

            Have you applied for your papers through Tehran, or through an Iranian embassy in your home country? The only issue I have heard of with Iran not recognizing dual citizenship, is with Israel. It is my understanding that Iran considers an Iranian citizenship to be the primary, regardless of place of birth. Of course, citizenship can only pass through the father in Iran.

          3. Anonymous

            I applied here in Tehran and my naturalisation is through marriage, I got married here few months ago..

          4. theglitterfish Post author

            I see. You will be added to your husband’s shenasnameh and issued your own, with passport. None of the women that married into my Dad’s family had their citizenship or passports revoked from their country of birth. Congratulations on your recent marriage, and I hope you enjoy the beautiful country and culture of Iran! 💙

          5. Anonymous

            Thank you very much, I really appreciate your effort for replying me.. May you and your family have a blessed and prosperous New Year

  5. Sam

    I have a question hello! I’ve applied for my birth certificate now two years now after my father renounced when u was 11 but I’m over 18 applies to get my nationality back

    As turns out Washington embassy told me iran lost my application I called embassy they said send new pictures passport everything again

    My question to u is how long did u wait and do I have to start all over again and wait another 2 years because of theyre mistake! Thank you hope u can help

  6. Sheron

    HI do you know how long does it take to get shenasnameh I applied for nationality because my dad renounced long time ago when I was a child but I was born there in Iran the shenasnameh I applied for from embassy in Washington been a year and half still waiting, thank you

    1. Sheron

      I also called iran and found my dads and families shenasnaneh number hopefully this can help me I was a child I’m older now trying to get back to Iran I have a home and family there

      1. Sheron

        I check every other months I’ve send them numerous letter they said shenasnameh take a long time since my dad renounced with accordance if the law I’m over 18 born their have papers to prove, traveled to Washington like you say in a room gave them my story just recently found my dads and families shenasnaneh number!

        I myself had one but lost it, also my dad made an honest living no trouble so still waiting talked to just about everyone in the embassy.. They told me it’s a process you can get you nationality back but you have to wait they can’t and won’t deny me I’m born their…

        1. theglitterfish Post author

          My Dad never renounced his citizenship, and we had all of our documents when we applied. That must be why we were able to get my shenasnameh so quickly. I don’t really know what the process is once the citizenship is renounced. I do know that the shenasnameh is processed and made in Tehran. This does take some time. Have you now gotten all ofnyour paperwork into the embassy? It is my understanding that they wont even process your application until everything is there. Did you check out Louisa’s blog? I linked to it in my posting at the bottom of the page. Her process took around 2 years, I think. She may have a little more insight. I am sorry that I don’t have any more advice for you! I hope you get your papers soon! ❤

          1. Sheron

            Thank you for answering my questions and I wrote to Louisa also, and yes all my paper work is there it’s almost 1 year and half I call them they just say wait! The whole process taken me 4 years almost since 2012, I’ve done everything on my part if they’re processing hopefully I’ll be good to go.

            They told me to accept my nationality and I did all that so just waiting..

            I was wondering why yours took so quick, because ur dad never renounced.ive read they’re nationality laws and it states anyone can get they’re nationality back even if renounced by a mere application unless the government finds it advisable! We’re normal family no political crimes or anything so hopefully I’ll be good to go. I did money order passport picture and even traveled to Washington embassy and speak,read, write fluent Farsi they even saw that at embassy in the back room when they called me in.. Anyway thx for your help uve been great help I gratefully appreciate it

  7. Nazee

    Thank you for all of the information that you posted on this matter, as I have combed though the web and haven;t found too many details on this matter. I am a US Citizen with Iranian parents; however, they were married in the states and never registered their marriage, divorce, or my birth to Iran. I have always wanted to visit Iran and meet the enormous family that I have over there! The only problem is that my mom is extremely weary (to the point of refusal) of providing the documentation to get the process rolling for me to obtain the birth certificate and passport required for me to visit. Do you know if there is anyway to go through the process without her? I was thinking of claiming that we don’t know her whereabouts, we are estranged, etc… Any tips or info that you could provide I would be truly grateful for. THANKS!!!

    1. theglitterfish Post author

      I am not sure how the process would go in this instance. Perhaps you could have your Dad (if he is living and willing) call and ask the question specifically. He could try to tell them that he has no contact with your Mother, and they could advise him where to go from there.

      I am not sure if they would allow the process to go ahead without her. If your Dad has his original shenasnameh and information, maybe just a copy of their American wedding license and divorce decree would be enough to bypass her.
      I am just guessing here, but I hope that it goes well! ☺

  8. SB Kefalas

    Salam,
    I am hoping to make the trip this year… I was born in the U.S.
    I have my expired Iranian passport (from 1980s) and my Shah- era
    birth certificate so I think the process should be easier than yours.
    I have a question about your husband. Is he Muslim?
    Did they ask any questions about that? My husband is hoping to come
    with a visa. He is not Muslim though.

    1. theglitterfish Post author

      Neither of us are religious in any way. According to the forms I was given, if the wife isn’t Muslim, there is no need for the marriage to no performed in a mosque. There was no mention of the husband needing to be Muslim or asking for religious views. These forms were from 2 years ago, so they could be out of date.
      I was told that once our marriage was registered, he would be added to my shenasnameh and could travel with me to Iran on a visa without needing a state sponsored tour guide. I haven’t followed up with yet, so I am not exactly sure what the current procedures are. Your ptocess should be much smoother, having already been issued the documents. Please let me know how it goes! Good luck! 💙

  9. Shahin

    Do you know why they want the original US birth certificate (not a certified one) and keep it?? Sounds fishy. Can they use the original US birth certificate and a fake ID to get a US Passport ???? Thanks

    1. theglitterfish Post author

      I don’t know how I missed this post! So sorry for the late response!
      They want an original certified birth certificate. The original would be on file with your state. I don’t understand the other question about fake ID for a passport. You would need your actual passport and certified birth certificate to apply for your shenasnameh. Does this answer your question?

  10. theglitterfish Post author

    I am not sure how long it would take. I am sure of you had any reference numbers- yours or parents, it would make the process go faster. There is another commenter here that had a similar situation, and is still in the process. Have you contacted the embassy yet to ask what needs to be done to apply for replacement? If you still have family in Iran, perhaps they could also contact the ministry of vital statistics. I am not sure what the name of this office would be or how to contact them, but I am sure the information would be easy to find. I wish I had better advice for you. Good luck!

  11. Sam

    Hi I have a question! I’m trying to get my Iranian birth certificate. Shenasnameh to go to Iran I need help if you can! I lost my original birth certificate and my dad renounced his citizenship long ago to leave the country with my family,here is the thing I was 11 at the time so my father did it on my behalf, so now I much older I was born there so I’m considered Iranian do you think I can get my shenasnameh if I apply at the embassy and will they give and approve me because I was underage! Thank you

    1. Sam

      Even if my dad renounced our citizenship when I was 11, so u mean they can still accept me, my father just wanted to leave country for a better life he’s record was clean I was 11 he did to our whole family now he died and I regret he did that to me hopefully they will accept ne

      1. theglitterfish

        It is my understanding that Iranian citizenship is granted to children of Iranian men, and not necessarily ever “renounced”. Once an Iranian, always an Iranian. At least I hope this will be the case for you! Good luck!

        1. Sam

          Hey thank you so much for responding this helps! I already went to Washington and now I’m waiting so they send me a letter so I can go pick up my shenasnameh that’s a citizenship right? Anyway I’ve started everything in 2012 now 2016 I even called Iran found my dads archive number they even told me it’s a process takes time iran told me and Washington said same thing that u cannot speed up process so I’m waiting hopefully all goes well my dad renounced I was 11 a child couldn’t make decision for myself because I was a child and now older what a mistake he did but hopefully they grant me my citizenship my house life well being all is there so thank u from bottom of my heart for responding so nice of you I took passport pictures wrote letters every proof in the book I have to embassy so yeah that’s my story

          1. Sahel

            Ok great its good to know that I have to present myself to the embassy, as I live in California, so I’ve been preparing for the fact that this was a possibility. I sent in my original birth certificate, my dads original shenashnameh, copies of my passport, a copy of my dads death certificate, a money order for the fees, a crap ton of pictures of my self in the hijab, of my father, and my mother with and without the hijab (since she’s a Mexican citizen I didn’t know which they would want), I also included my parents original marriage certificate, the necessary documents they requested, and a letter thanking them for their time in Farsi. Do you think this will suffice? I have my moms birth certificate ready to go as well as my dad’s Iranian passport incase they need it. When they do request my appearance i’ll do what you did and pay them in cash, I don’t want to take any risks either, especially because I live far away from the embassy.

          2. theglitterfish

            I would imagine you will have to send in your *and your Dad’s original passports. We were told that they needed the physical documents, not just copies. I also included copies of them. I believe we were told to send in copies of the first five pages of my Dad’s Iranian passport as well as the original. I was very nervous sending off my passport, as I had an upcoming international trip. They returned it to me then day after I called and explained my need to have it back. Be sure to give yourself at least a couple of days if you are flying. Mpst of the people there had already been there at least a couple of days and had to keep coming back. One poor guy had been there for 5 days and had checked out of his hotel and was staying in his minivan. We figured it would take 2-3 days but only booked the hotel for the first night. Luckily we didn’t need to stay any longer.

          3. Sahel

            Ok because my uncle helped me out with everything and when he called the embassy they requested copies of the first four pages of my passport which is what I included, but they didn’t ask for my dads passport just his original shehashnameh. I plan on staying a week and bringing every document I have because I really don’t want to leave anything up to chance. I’m hoping not including my original passport wont be a huge issue, I just don’t want it to keep being pushed back month after month, and it end up taking years to receive

          4. theglitterfish

            As I understand it, the shenasnameh is your proof of citizenship. If they are processing it, you will hopefully be good to go. You may want to contact Iran and the embassy again and just ask if there is anything you need to send them, that they may need. Even of you sent everything in- just having people pulling up the file and looking into it may be enough to get the process jumpstarted for you. I really hope that you can get all of your documents processed quickly so you can return to Iran! I can’t wait to get to Iran myself! Good luck!!! 💙

    2. theglitterfish

      Hi Sam,
      I honestly have no idea how to answer this question. Have you contacted the embassy yet? I would think that you would be able to have them request a search of your original shenasnameh from Tehran. If you have access to the actual registration number of either your, your mother’s or father’s, or even a sibling’s shenasnameh, it would probably make the search easier. Check the daftar website and see if there is a form to apply for a copy of a shenasnameh. My Dad also left Iran and became and American citizen, but he is still an Iranian citizen as well. I don’t know if your family left under different circumstances. Is it possible that your family are all still citizens?

  12. Sahel

    Your blogpost about your journey to Iranian citizenship gives me so much hope! I just applied for my Iranian citizenship and passport 2 weeks ago and patiently await for a response from the embassy in Washington. I’m a little anxious on the duration of this process because I plan to return to Iran over the summer (I just got back from Iran in January and entered with an American passport and Visa, although my father was Iranian but because he was dying and I had proof the wonderful officers at the gate let me enter anyways ). My father recently passed away in Tehran so I included his death certificate and his cancelled Shenasnameh in the envelope of documents I sent to Washington. What I did not include was my mother’s birth certificate because the gentlemen over the phone from the embassy did not mention it. I am assuming it is because she is a Mexican citizen and does not really effect my application process but I did include their marriage certificate. My biggest anxiety about this whole thing is being denied citizenship and not being able to see my family again and visit the most beautiful country that is Iran. I don’t see why they would deny me since my father was Iranian and by blood and law that makes me Iranian as well. I guess I am being paranoid about the whole situation because I included all the documentation they asked for and like you included a letter in Farsi thanking them for their time and consideration. I read that it took someone 3 years to obtain their documents and I read it took you about 5 months so I am hoping it will take me about 4 or 5 months. Any advice to ease my nerves about this whole process it 100000000% welcome!

    1. theglitterfish

      I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your father. I know that it is very important to you to able to return to Iran. I have no reason to doubt that your citizenship will process just fine. I totally I understand the paranoia and doubt that completely consumes you through this process. I had also heard the horror stories of it taking years and was terrified that my story would be similar.
      The good thing about the embassy, they will make contact if there is anything missing from your application packet. They may want your Mother’s birth certificate, so I would definitely have it ready to go just in case. I bombarded them with documentation, so I am not exactly sure what they really needed and what was just “extra junk”.
      Be prepared for many doubts and stray thoughts to come your way. I swear, I had thought of every terrible way things could go wrong – even to the point of them voiding any hope of citizenship because my Dad didn’t register my birth for 34 years. 🙂
      It was a fearful wait, but I got my glorious papers and proudly show them every chance I get.
      I wish you all the luck possible and hope you have an even faster turnaround than I did!
      I don’t have a lot of answers, but will gladly share the few I have! 💙

      1. Sahel

        Thank you for your kind words! That’s another fear I have, my dad never registering myself of my sister on his birth certificate. I guess my biggest fear is the process taking years because I know I’m going to get my citizenship, its just when. I do have a question, so when the embassy receives the Shenasnameh from Iran I have to travel to Washington DC to pick it up and to also get my Iranian passport?

        1. theglitterfish

          The Embassy will send you a letter once the shenasnameh is physically in the embassy. The letter says you are to present yourself in person and it will tell you what documents you need to bring with you. There is no need to make appointments.
          I am not sure if there is a time limit, as we were at the embassy a couple of days after my Dad got the letter.
          From what I understand (from the people that were also there), everyone has to go to the embassy in person the first time to get their passport. It is the same process as getting the US passport for the first time, you just don’t have the choice of locations.
          I took a binder full of everything with me. I wasn’t taking any chances of being turned away. They returned the fees that I had sent, so we made sure to have enough cash on hand to cover both the shenasnameh and passport. I have no idea if they would accept credit cards, checks, or money orders in person. We sent the original fees in money orders – a separate one for each item (including my Dad’s passport renewal).
          Also , Iranian passports are only valid for 5 years, rather than the standard 10 of the US passports.
          You will need to have your American passport with you, if they return any documents to you, take them with you. My philosophy is drown them in documents and provide things they would *probably* never need, but have them just in case.
          I honestly believe it was the mountain of documentation and photos that I sent in that got my application through so quickly. It seems to be almost unheard of for the process to be so fast.
          I even sent in birth certificates, passport copies and marriage certificate for my brother, myself and my husband, as well as his parents. The interviewer was very amused by everything I had.
          I hope that you get yours even faster!!!! 💙

  13. Jo

    My father lives IN Iran, any idea about whether we can still go through the Pakistani Embassy in Washington D.C.? The whole point would be so that I could go see him & other family. I know you’re not a professional, but the whole photos of both parents thing could be problematic for me since my American biological mother has been AWOL for well over a decade & I have no photos, very long story. If I pursue this it could be complicated. But on my dad’s side everything should be fine, and I’m guessing that’s the part that counts.

    1. theglitterfish

      I would think you would still have to deal directly with the embassy in DC, as that is where you would have to present yourself for your paperwork. It seems to me that the best course of action would be to have your father contact the department of vital statistics in Tehran (whatever the equivalent would be called) and ask for the paperwork to fill out. It may be possible to have your Shenasnameh processed there and sent on to DC, as all of them are actually done in Tehran anyway, and the passports are printed at the embassy (per my understanding ).
      The issue with your Mom, I would definitely tell the officials that she is no longer available for information. I don’t know if you would still have to have her birth certificate.
      I would absolutely contact the embassy as well as Tehran for more information.
      I wish you luck!!! 🙂

  14. Roya

    Good morning! Still waiting “patiently” for a phone call from the embassy in Washington to let me know that I need to make a trip there to get my shenasnameh & Iranian passport… It’s only been a few months though. In the meantime—I’d like to get some opinions on the following article, because if this bill/law WOULD actually pass, it seems to affect A LOT of us!! Please read and share your thoughts :))
    https://theintercept.com/2015/12/18/congress-just-put-iranian-americans-and-others-at-risk-for-becoming-second-class-citizens/

    1. theglitterfish

      Sorry for the late reply – we have been furiously renovating our kitchen! Have you heard anything yet?
      The visa waiver program makes me *very* nervous as it sets us down a very dangerous path. Check out the NIAC for more information about how these laws and the harm they may ultimately do to us and others like us.

  15. Sam manukyan

    Hey cool story my name is Sam and I went through the same process. I lost by birth certificate and went through the same process and still haven’t received my shenasnameh do u know how long it will take been like 3 to 4 years now.theyre making a duplicate complete copy so I think that’s why it’s taking so long! If you can help me that will be fantastic?

    1. theglitterfish

      Hi Sam, This one kind of surprises me. Have you checked in with the embassy? It feels like maybe your application has been misplaced in the shuffle of applicants. Have you had any kind of update recently? Do you have access to the original paperwork and documents that you used to apply? I would absolutely reapply for everything if you haven’t heard any news. Do you have any kind of proof of receipt by your embassy? I wish I had more advice to offer you. I can absolutely see how waiting *years* would be frustrating, as it would affect you your ability to travel to Iran. Good luck!

      1. Sam

        Thank you so much for responding very helpful, there is more to the story is there anyway u can listen if I type because it’s a long story I’m sure I won’t regret better than a Hollywood script???? I’m a women born in Iran I have all the proof my dad gave our citizenship back before I was 15 so we can go to Russian then Armenian he did what was called tabaet but I want it back my husbands assets are there he died years ago and life is there too the embassy said we have to do almosana meaning duplicate copy I actually flew to Washington convinced the panel of very nice people that I’m fluently Iranian and was born there I went through passport picture everything u went through they’re saying since ur dad gave his citizenship back takes longer I lost my shenasnameh when we left country I actually called Iran and we dig into their archives found my family history and I have all the proof so that’s sum what of my story if there’s anyway u can help me I would be blessed I miss my country so dearly waiting for shenasnameh so I can get to my life there’s house, bank, life, etc.. Thank you wishing back to here from u thx

      2. Sevak Manukyan

        Hey glitter fish I emailed you back Sunday I got no response with the shenasnameh issue I was having anyway anyway I’ll repeat hopefully u get this email. I have all the paper work proof my father was born there and I was underage when we left Iran long time ago I want to go back to my house there but I have no birth certificates I lost it and my dad gave his residency back so we can leave the country he was born there so was I and I’m eager to go back but they said it’s a long process and takes time so I don’t know hopefully this helps thank you ohh yeah they also said they have to make from scratch go back look at my family history then issue me 1

        >

  16. Doro

    Hi Shaida! Thank you for this article. It was very helpful. I am also half Iranian, but on my mother’s side. I speak Farsi fluently and learned to read and write as a child. I have visited Iran many times and even lived there for a while. For years we have been trying to get a passport and shenasnameh for me, but with no luck. I do remember that once in Washington, there were a few Iranian moms who were trying to change the law so that a child of either Iranian parent could apply for a passport (not just if the father is Iranian). Then I had heard that the law had been changed so that I could apply, but since then, every time we try to go for it, we never really get to the application process before we hear “the line”. Every time we asked at a consulate (Bern, Milan, etc.) or in Iran itself, we were told that the best way is for me to marry “a nice Iranian boy”. I don’t see how that makes any sense. I am Iranian by blood and I shouldn’t have to marry someone just for a passport (nothing against nice Iranian boys). I was wondering if you have any input on my case and if you might have heard of some success stories from people in similar situations?

    1. theglitterfish

      Sorry for the late response! Unfortunately, I have never heard of anyone getting around this issue.
      Even children born in Iran to an Iranian mother don’t qualify for citizenship if the father isn’t Iranian. As far as I know, there has been no move to make changes to this policy.
      I wish that full citizenship was open to all Iranians, and I hope that this policy will one day be reversed.
      My best advice is to keep checking with the embassy. Also, if your Mom still has (male) family in Iran, maybe they could get more information from Tehran. I don’t know if there are any loopholes, or special license to be obtained, but my guess would be that the most thorough answers would come from within the Iranian ministries for vital statistics, or its equivalent.
      Good luck and in the meantime, enjoy exploring the rich and beautiful culture of Iran! 💙

    1. theglitterfish

      I actually haven’t gone yet. I decided to go back to school this year and we pushed it back to next fall. Since women are required to be in hijab, I will ONLY go when it is cool / cold. Fat girls don’t do well being overdressed in sweltering heat. 😉

  17. Roya

    Sooo…We have sent off all of the documentation required for MY Iranian birth certificate to the embassy in Washington. We had to also include my mother & father’s passports and birth certificates. My mom is American but has shenasnameh and Iranian passport. Apparently, not all of their “Islamic” marriage information is filled in the blanks on their passports/shenasnameh. Her original (from the 70s) probably had that information; however, since updating all of their documentation, some portions were left blank. I mean, there should be no question of whether or not they are married, right?? She wouldn’t have ever qualified for a shenasnameh in the first place, if their marriage wasn’t recognized in Iran. They have an American marriage license, but I’m sure that won’t really help in this case. So, now we are waiting to find out whether or not someone at the embassy is able to track down their marriage info…… Unless someone can tell me how to obtain a copy of an Islamic marriage certificate from 1973?!?! Was NOT expecting this to be the reason for the first “hold-up” of the birth certificate/passport process for me :/

    1. theglitterfish

      I am not really sure what is on my Mom’s original document from 1972. They requested it, but seem to have just basically glanced at it, as it was mailed back pretty quickly. Hopefully the process is faster now, with relations between the two countries improving. When did you submit the packet? Were they just waiting on your Mom’s paperwork?

  18. Alex

    I am in a similar situation my father being Iranian, my mother American. I actually married an Iranian and we are wanting to go there so bad to see her family and mine as well. I am beginning to gather the documents I need. Finding my father’s shenasnameh took the longest (turns out it was in my uncle’s house in Iran!). A question I have is my mother does not have a shenasnameh nor has my father ever added me to his. Do you think this could possibly be a issue for me getting my Iranian documents? Any guidance you can offer is greatly appreciated

    1. theglitterfish

      Hi Alex,
      It was my understanding that the reason my Mom’s shenasnameh was required for my own documents was because it was actually listed (from 1972) in my Dad’s documentation. I may be wrong about this, but I think that a certified American *long form* birth certificate for a foreign wife is all that is required for the child to be added to the father’s shenasnameh.
      Having said that, I would absolutely be prepared to process your Mom’s shenasnameh if it is required. One thing I learned from my dealings with the Embassy – everyone there will give you a different set of requirements and instructions. It would be fantastic if everything processed quickly with no need to file for your Mom, but a perfect world is never guaranteed. 🙂

      Gather everything, and maybe even have your Dad go ahead and fill out the paperwork for your Mom as well, and just have it on standby in case they require it, and it can be mailed immediately. Unfortunately your Mom will also have to present in person if she is getting one. All of this is assuming that both of your parents are still living (and I hope they are!).

      Your father will have to fill out your paperwork, if he is not still living, a death certificate is required.

      Get EVERYTHING you might need and be prepared to use it. I honestly think I got mine processed so quickly because of the amount of documentation I sent. I sent much more than was required, and took even more with me to the embassy.
      I even took copies of my Father-in-law’s American passport, driver’s license, and birth certificate with me. I wasn’t taking any chances!

      My process was extremely fast (5 months), from the conversations I had with other applicants. I hope yours will go as quickly, but be prepared to have to wait.

      Hopefully your wife already has her shenasnameh and passports, I would imagine that she would have to send the originals of those as well as her own father’s and possibly mother’s as well. You will probably have to register your marriage with the embassy so she can be added to your shenasnameh and passport, to avoid any unpleasantness of traveling in Iran together. There is a form available for download on the daftar.org website.

      Your shenasnameh will be processed in Iran and then sent back to the embassy. It is my understanding that this is what takes so long. They will actually print your passport the day you arrive for your interview at the embassy in D.C. if everything is in order. I think it took about 4 hours from the time of my interview until my passport was ready. They gave me both at the same time.

      I don’t know if I was able to actually offer you any real advice here, but I wish you and your bride luck and hope you get back to the ‘homeland’ soon!

  19. ROYA

    May I ask why you had to send your husband’s picture, and your wedding license? My father is Iranian, my mother American, and I was born here in the US after they had both of my older siblings in Iran, then moved back here (Louisiana) from living in Iran. My father has to apply for my Iranian birth certificate (since I was never added to his—LOL, I tell him it’s like I don’t even “exist”!!!). I called daftar.org today and was told to print out Form 428 (they didn’t mention anything about a G or B form). I am now 30 years old, married to an American, and have 2 children. I am the ONLY one that wishes to visit Iran. My mother and father will probably travel with me when I am finally “official” and able to travel there. They both have their birth certificates and passports. Just trying to get the ball rolling on MY paperwork!!! ANY guidance that you or someone reading this can offer would be a blessing :)))

    1. theglitterfish

      So, it looks like things are getting easier at the DC embassy! The form wasn’t available for download last year. There doesn’t seem to be a different form for males and females anymore either. I took the photos and marriage certificate to the embassy because I was told I would have to show proof of marriage as I didn’t keep my maiden name. I ended up not needing the extras though, they told me that it would have to be in my maiden name until I registered the marriage with the embassy. I didn’t have the paperwork for this with me, as I wasn’t told it was required. There is a packet to fill out, along with a requirement of a letter of clearance from local law enforcement. I am in the process of doing this, to have my husband added to my shenasnameh and have the name on my passport changed to avoid any unpleasant legal issues with traveling o. Two passports with different names.
      You are in a very similar situation. My Dad never did anything with my paperwork until last year, after I bullied him into it.
      Collect your paperwork – be prepared for anything and send multiple copies of everything. There were people there that were turned away for not having what they needed. You will have to surrender your American passport, but they send it back. My process took about 5 months, but we got held up by almost a month because we didn’t include my Mom’s shenasnameh. Once you receive the letter to come to Washington, your shenasnameh is ready, but they will print your passport there after the interview. Be prepared to stay the night, and possibly more just in case. We were told that I was incredibly lucky, that most people have to make multiple trips to get it situated. Maybe my huge packet of information impressed my interviewer. 🙂
      Good luck!!!! I don’t know if I answered your questions, but I am more than willing to give whatever advice I can!!

    2. theglitterfish

      Unfortunately citizenship can’t pass through the female, but you should be able to add your husband and children to your paperwork if you think they may able want to travel with you.

      1. Roya

        I need someone to tell me if I really HAVE to register my marriage with the embassy or not… I do NOT anticipate my husband or children traveling with me. Just to remind you of my situation:
        My father is Iranian, my mother is American. They both have their birth certificates and Iranian passports. My older brother and sister were born in Iran when my parents were living there in the late 70’s, so both of my siblings are listed on my dad’s paperwork. I was born here in the US in 1984 once they moved back, and my name/info. was never added to my dad’s. Therefore, I technically do not “exist”…lol…
        Now, I’m married (with a new last name, of course), to a NON-Iranian, NON-Muslim. And we have 2 children. I am trying to get the ball rolling with the embassy and begin the paperwork process so that I can visit Iran. My husband and children will stay here, but I won’t be traveling alone. My mother and father will “escort” me to Iran because they know how badly I wish to go, and they would like to show me around and introduce me to all of the family members I have never met.
        I have been told that I first have to get my father to update his paperwork, before I can even begin applying for my own birth certificate and passport. I printed out the Form 428 for him. We are wondering if I am going to have a lot of problems being that my American passport, drivers license, etc… has my married name on it. (But it DOES show my FULL name, since I wasn’t given a middle name at birth and so I decided to make my maiden name my new middle name after marriage.)
        Any idea?!?!? I just wish everything wasn’t so confusing :((

        1. theglitterfish

          So you are in a very similar situation with the name. I also have no middle name and took my maiden name as a middle name when I married. Honestly – what name would go with Shaida? Jennifer? Melissa? 😉
          It is my understanding that the paperwork will only reflect your maiden name unless or until you register your marriage. He will not be granted any citizenship, but in order to have your legal name match all of your American and Iranian documents, the marriage must be documented through the embassy.
          My uncle told me of a family friend that didn’t do this and had her Iranian documents with her maiden name only. Her flight leaving the US was booked in her full name (married). She was denied entry to flight because her documentation wasn’t exact, and the officials there wouldn’t allow her to present her Iranian passport, as the name didn’t match her American credentials in full.
          I have been pulled into security for having only my middle initial, not full name spelled out for flights. I was threatened by TSA that I would be excluded from the flight for trying to commit fraud. Yeah – you heard that little gem right. I was patted down throughly in a glass box while officials went through everything TWICE in my bags. I know a lot of that is straight profiling. I have been pulled through ‘random’ security checks every time I fly. Meh, it is a minor inconvenience to get to wonderful vacation spots. 🙂
          If your parents both still have a Shahishenasnameh it will take a bit longer to update. This is the documentation that was valid during the Shah’s reign and is not considered valid in post-revolution Iranian government. If it is a simple update to passports, it is actually pretty quick. It took my Dad something like 4 weeks to get all of his updated Info done each time over the years. The DC embassy seems to be pretty efficient with that.
          You can do your parents update info at the same time as yours is done. However, if it is a Shahishenasnameh and passport, then it may need to be in person to pick up (like yours would be). My Mom is American, but had all of her Iranian credentials in the 70s when they married.
          Her info was never updated. They embassy told us when we were there she would have to go through the same process I was going through and start over, also having to present in person at a later date.
          As for the marriage, We aren’t religious at all, so it is my understanding that the conversion of faith doesn’t apply, nor does the marriage in a masque. I have collected the paperwork, and am waiting for my Dad to complete the forms to send it in. It has been a complicated, rather confusing adventure – but it is so worth it!

          I don’t know if I gave you the information you were looking for! If not, ask away! 🙂
          My advice is to register and get the name issue sorted so you don’t have any problems. It is worth it to not have the hassle my uncle’s friend had trying to get on the plane.

  20. JoAnn

    What an amazing story. I feel as if I was there with you. We love seeing you everyday here at Santa Fe College – you bring light and happiness and chips ( we do love those chips)

  21. Socks

    Congratulations that’s so exciting!! 🙂 I actually stumbled upon your blog because I’m having trouble getting my own shenasnameh and was looking for answers online. My mother also has a Shahi-Shenasnameh. I called Washington DC, and they told me I HAVE to send in her shenasnameh and HAVE to renew it (although last time I tried applying, they didn’t even want to look at my mother’s documents). I was wondering what exactly you did to bypass this. Did you report her shenasnameh information at all on the application form (number, location issued, etc.)? Thanks 🙂

    1. theglitterfish

      We were told the same thing, so My Dad decided to just skip it all together and send in her American information without ever even metioning that she had been issued one. They called my Dad a month after we applied and told him that he had to send the Shahi-Shenasnameh to the embassy, as she was listed in his Shenasnameh. He mailed it out right away. They returned it along with all of his other information. He was never forced to renew her documents. When we got the summons letter, they had blacked out the section requiring Mother’s Shenasnameh. We took it to the embassy with us, but our interviewer told us we only needed to renew hers if she planned to go to Iran.

      We were told my multiple people over the phone that we had to renew her documents before I could get mine, but the information in person was vastly different. I would say send her Shahi-Shenasnameh with your application if you haven’t submitted your info yet. It held us up by 6 weeks because we left it out of the initial packet. Be prepared to renew it, and hopefully you will not have to.

      Where are you in the process? Where you denied before when you applied?

      Good luck!

  22. Froozl

    Its official. Clearly the world will fall off.its axis shortly! Also, this post reminds me that I need to have my own hijab clad photos done, I believe my documents are expired. Even if they’re not, they’re proof of some really bad choices I made when holding tweezers.

  23. Dell Afzal

    I was honored to make this journey with you. Although as you know I am the fearful one in most cases but I’m extremely proud of your courage and your strength. Your father and I always tried to raise a strong young girl but you, my love, have far exceeded our idea of a strong woman! We are very proud of you and send our congratulations on your accomplishment! I only wish for you as wonderful visit to your father’s homeland as I had all those many years ago. Love…Mama

Question? Comments? Dastardly Plans?

%d bloggers like this: