Your Questions About Iran & Answers
Yes! Major worries of people is because of untrue media of the world. But Iran represents one of the safest places in the Middle East to travel to. Some areas of the country, particularly close to border areas with Afghanistan and Iraq, the Baluchistan province are seen as areas of higher risk by Western government and are generally not recommended as a travelling destination.
Yes! This is an often more assumed problem than a real one for most travelers. Travelling to Iran will not be a problem. Most hotels, like everyone else, won’t ask or care about your relationship status. But remember unmarried Persian couples are not able to get a hotel room. If you’re married to an Iranian we advise you to carry your marriage certificate with passport as proof of marriage.
Contact your cellular telephone provider to determine if your phone operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and what, if any, activation may be required.
All of the hotels in our programs have Internet access; however, it may not be reliable or up to the standards you are accustomed to at home. Please be aware some websites are not accessible in Iran. Some of the social sites and Messenger Apps like Facebook and twitter are blocked in Iran. WhatsApp, Instagram are not blocked in Iran. Please be aware the list of blocked sites is subject to change without notice.
Hitchhiking is not common in Iran, however, so don’t expect people to know what you are looking for
Mah Card is an Iranian prepaid debit card designed for tourists and temporary visitors. You can instantly add funds to your card, in your preferred currency and convert it to Iranian Rial (IRR).
In some places travel insurance for Iran will be as normal as travelling elsewhere. Just make sure to confirm that your policy will cover Iran. Due to some travel warnings to Iran in some countries, some companies may not cover Iran. It is best to look around to see if any companies do, otherwise there are travel insurance companies which specialize in insurance to areas considered ‘high risk’. Alternatively, you can purchase insurance of the Iranian government at the airport for a small fee.
Whether you need a visa depends on where you are from and where you are travelling to. Citizens of around 60 countries do not need a visa to enter Iran for travelling purposes for various amounts of times. Most other countries citizens can gain a visa on arrival from most of the major airports in Iran, although for peace of mind they can also apply for visas beforehand. Visas on arrival for most countries only allow for a stay of 30 days. For US and Canadian citizens due to lack of any consular services in Iran, must have prior approval of an itinerary and tour operator before applying for a visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most tour companies will take care of this for you. No citizens of Israel are permitted to travel to Iran. People who have an Israeli stamp in their passport will also be denied entry. All citizens except for Israeli can travel to Kish Island, a popular tourist island, without a visa for up to two weeks.
Since visa requirements are subject to fairly constant change, it is best for everyone to contact Iranian consular or embassies in their own country to find out what is required before entry.
Most visas will be approved in two to three weeks. Most people find it relatively easy if correct information is given. However, it is best to allow for plenty of time before applying.
All women while in Iran are required to follow the dress codes prescribed form women in Iran. This means wearing a headscarf and not allowing the skins on your arm or legs to be shown while in public. There is also gender segregation of public transport. Following these laws will mean women will generally have no issues when it comes to safety.
Most people are able to travel independently within Iran, without any guide or official guidance whatsoever. US and Canadian citizens, however, need to have their itinerary and tour group approved beforehand, which will require an officially sanctioned guide. However, as part of the itinerary it is possibly to include free days, which if approved, will allow for free travel.
Drinking alcohol is against the law in Iran and no shops are permitted to sell it. Anyone caught in possession of alcohol faces arrest and in the case of a tourist face deportation. People in Iran tend to drink tea, Sharbat (a cool, sweet drink known as the world’s first soft drink) or doogh (a savoury yogurt drink). Alcohol free beer is also available. Pork is not available. When it comes to meat most Iranians tend to eat chicken, beef or lamb, all of which are widely available.
Rules on photography depends on the place. Many mosques will allow photography inside and outside. Some museums will not allow photography inside but will outside. Generally, if it is not permitted, a sign will indicate. For people, when taking photos of specific people, it is always better to ask for permission. Often this will led to a positive response, many Iranians like to pose for photos.
Yes, it is possible to buy Persian rugs or other souvenirs. Iran is known for having the best rugs and carpets in the world. However, caution is advised before spending lots of money to ensure you are getting the genuine item rather than a fake.
It depends on what you want to do! In most places in Iran summer is hot and winter is cold, with snow in some places. During the month of Ramadan it can be difficult for travelers as many food stores are close during the day. At times around the Iranian New Year which occurs on March 21, more people inside Iran go on holiday, so it can be more difficult to secure accommodation. In spring and autumn is a good time to travel to Iran.
It depends on what you want to do. In general, though, in comparison to most countries, travelling to Iran will be less expensive, with accommodation, food, internal travel being affordable for most travellers. Most entrance fees for sites will be less than one US dollar and a meal will cost around 5 to 10 US dollars at a restaurant
One of the strangest to foreigners, is the concept of Ta’arof, which governs rules of social interaction and hospitality. It is form of exaggerated politeness. For instance, restaurant owners or taxi drivers as a sign of respect will often say there is no charge, and in return you will show your respect by insisting on paying until they accept. This also applies to hospitality at the home, where hosts are obligated to offer their guests as much as they can and guests are supposed to reject, sometimes several times, before accepting.
There are a few hostels in Iran. However, hotels in Iran tend to be considerably cheaper than in many other countries. So, you may find 4 star hotels priced in what would be considered budget range in other countries.
Tehran, the capital of Iran, has underwent a massive population increase over the past few decades. One of the side effects is air pollution, which can affect Tehran badly at times. Most other cities do not have major problems with pollution.
It depends on your preference. Travel tours will provide transport while you are on a tour. Major cities have public transportation, such as buses and in Tehran, a metro. Taxis are also very affordable. It is also possible to hire cars for travelling. Between cities buses are regular and affordable. There are also flights and trains between cities, as well.
Just about everyone who travels to Iran comments on how friendly the people are. Hospitality will be extended to all visitors in just about every part of the country and on a regular basis. Many will start conversations with you about where you are from, why you are in Iran, your job etc.