Q: Which countries are U.S. citizens forbidden to visit?
A: According to federal law, U.S. passports are not valid in Iraq, Lebanon and Libya. American citizens may be allowed to enter by those countries. If Americans return to the United States with stamps from any of the three in their passport they are subject to a fine of up to $2,000 and imprisonment up to five years, according to the State Department.
Waivers allowing visits to Iraq, Lebanon and Libya may be granted to journalists, those working for a humanitarian organization such as the International Red Cross or traveling for "compelling humanitarian reasons," which a State Department spokeswoman defined as visiting a terminally ill family member, or other reasons deemed to be in our national interests.
Requests for waivers should be sent to Pamela Covington, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Service, Department of State, 1425 K St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20522 (attention: citizenship appeal and legal assistance, Room 300).
The Treasury Department's Foreign Assets Control Regulations, while not forbidding travel per se, bars citizens from spending U.S. currency in Cuba. Exceptions can be made for journalists, those visiting close relatives, government officials on business or those engaged in professional research related to Cuba.
Treasury also bans travel-related expenditures in Iraq and Libya, except for journalists and those with immediate family there. U.S. citizens may travel to Cambodia, North Korea and Vietnam, but U.S. travel companies are not allowed to arrange trips.