These days, more and more tourists from around the world are traveling to Iran to experience its rich history and culture. If you want to discover more about this wonderful country and this is your first time traveling to Iran, here is a list of tips that cover important basics:

Visa 

As with any country, visa is required for traveling to Iran. Depending on the country of your citizenship, you may need to apply for a Tourist Visa before coming to Iran through an Iranian embassy, or get a visa on arrival at one of its international airports. It is a good idea to learn about all the details from a trusted source, or have a reliable agency take care of all the processes.

Visitors must make sure they have at least 6 months of passport validation beyond the date of their trip completion, and enough pages for the required visa and travel stamps. Please click here for more information on the required documents.

For the American and British citizens:

Please note that the nationals of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have to arrange a guide that is recognized and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran in order to obtain a visa. This guide will be in their constant attendance during their visit to Iran.

Currency

Rial and Tomans?

Before traveling to Iran you should know about the Iraninan currency.The official currency of Iran is the Iranian rial (IR). However, people use tomans for their everyday trade. Rial (ریال) is the name of the Iranian official currency, that’s the currency printed on Iranian notes and coins, but people use the same notes and coins and call them tomans giving them another value. Let’s explain more:  this is how it works; we remove one zero out of the rials to get tomans.

10 Rials = 1 Toman

With this in mind: 5000 Rials = 500 Tomans

10,000 Rials = 1000 Tomans

20,000 Rials = 2000 Tomans

50,000 Rials = 5000 Tomans

While shopping or paying the bill for your lunch, you should be careful if the price announced to you is in rials or tomans, because otherwise the difference is too much.

Where to Exchange?

While many people may offer to exchange your money, changing money on the street is illegal. We strongly advise you to either exchange your money at the IKA airport’s currency exchange center or at officially certified currency exchange centers across the cities.

Bring Cash

Iranian banking system is not connected to the banks overseas and you cannot use ATMs in Iran with the credit cards issued at your country. You need to bring all your money in cash when you travel to Iran. If you do not feel safe to carry cash with yourself during your trip and it is more convenient for you to use the ATM, you can buy a tourist credit card at The National Bank of Iran in Imam Khomeini Airport . You can also place your request here.  ([email protected])

However, have small amount of local cash with yourself. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially while you are taking a taxi or bus.

Security and Health

Generally speaking, Iran enjoys an acceptable standard of medical and health care, a fact that applies more to the major cities, like Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz, and less to the rustic areas or remote cities. In 2011, it became compulsory for travelers to Iran to buy and have their Travel & Health Insurance before applying for Iran Visa.

There are two ways to buy Iran Travel & Health Insurance:

  1. If you are going to collect your visa at any of Iran’s international airports, you can buy your Travel & Health Insurance at the insurance counter for approximately 15 euros.
  1. IranRoute online travel agency works with one of the best and oldest insurance companies in Iran, Iran Insurance Company (Bimeh Iran), to provide foreign visitors of Iran with the best services and prices available in the country. Please click here for more information.

Medication

It is advisable to bring sufficient amount of medication or prescription from your own country if you are traveling to Iran ; it is possible to find medicine in Iran but probably under a different name.

Electronics

The standard voltage in Iran is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz and wall sockets are two round-pin type. Alongside voltage converters or transformers, visitors may also need to bring adaptors with themselves as type C and type F plugs are used to plug in electric products in Iran.

It is worth knowing that even though there is no official Apple Store in Iran, you can get Apple services in mobile centers.

Package and Luggage

There are some restrictions on goods and currencies carried by the passengers. The following objects are not allowed to enter the country:

  • Items forbidden with the Islamic law such as alcoholic drinks,
  • Objects used for gambling,
  • Satellites,
  • Weapons of all sorts, explosives, daggers,
  • Narcotics,
  • Any types of publications, films, and pictures which are against religious and national ethics of Iran, etc.

Please gain more information here.

It is allowed to …

have up to USD 10,000.- or equivalent in cash. Amounts exceeding USD 10,000.- must be declared upon arrival.

Dress Code

All tourists travelling to Iran should consider the country’s dress code. Since 1979, after the Islamic Revolution, women aging 9 years or older have become obliged by law to cover their hair and body.

Do not panic! It is not as hard as you may think. No one will arrest you for not covering your entire hair or your arms. Just remember that women traveling to Iran should wear headscarves. Legsshoulders and tops of arms should also be covered. Men wearing shorts or sleeveless vest would not be allowed on the street. There is no restriction in color and form of the public appearance of both men and women. Tourists are allowed to wear whatever type of footwear they want, from boots to sandals.

Food

Iran is a country with more than 1000 types of food offering a wide range of cuisine from Middle Eastern to Mediterranean types. However, you can find international cuisine in every region in Iran. To let you know more about the staple Persian cuisine, we should add that an Iranian meal is typically a combination of rice, meat or chicken and vegetables. The dishes are not spicy but flavored by turmeric, saffron, cinnamon and black pepper . It is not possible to find pork or horse meat in the restaurants. Also, alcoholic drinks are not served in public places.

If you are a vegetarian or have your unique diet, so you need to know more about restaurants in which you can eat. There is an article which helps you to eat based on your diet.

If you want to have a tasty experience of Iranian cuisine among an Iranian family to learn more about their eating habits so you need to join us.

Or maybe you are interested in joining an Iranian food workshop to learn how to make a full Iranian meal. To the Iranians, a guest is “a gift of God” showing the hospitality which is inherent in the character of people. Our friendly cooking is held in a typical Iranian house. Join the other guest and experience the Iranian food made by yourself with an Iranian family.

Transportation

Getting around the new destination is one of the major concerns of every traveler. Transportation in Iran is affordable, easy and comfortable for both Iranians and foreign travelers. Travelers can move all around Iran by any means of transportation such as taxitrainsbuses or airplanes depending on where they start and end the trip.

Taxi is widely available in Iran and you can easily flag down private and shared taxis. Shared taxis are in yellow and have special stations in main streets of the city. For private taxis, you can download the Iranian equivalent of the Uber App, which is Snap/Tap30 App or call the Taxi Service Agencies. Women can also find special private taxis with female drivers.

For metro and bus tickets in Tehran you can buy e-tickets and charge them with any amount you want. Big cities in Iran have subway stations and typically, they don’t have complicated lines, so you can find the map of the metro installed inside the wagons, or you should carry a Tehran Metro map or Tehran Metro app to navigate your way more easily.

There are several bus stations in every street and we recommend you to use BRT service (bus rapid transit) in rush hours, as the best transportation type to escape the traffic.

Sim Cards

You can buy Visitor SIM at Iran international airports and you only need your passport at the time of registration. You can make domestic calls, send texts and enjoy the 4G internet in Iran.  Making international phone calls is possible in Iran with data roaming. It is possible to use WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and IMO in order to leave messages or make calls.

To have a more comprehensive insight of Iran please check Iranroute’s FAQ to know the A to Z of travelling to Iran.

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