Tourist Visa (single or multiple entry)
A tourist visa is required by
foreign nationals who wish to travel to Iran for sightseeing purposes or to
visit their friends and family.
The visa allows you to stay in Iran for up to 30 days, although the duration of
your visa is at the discretion of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At
times they may only grant 12-day visas, even if you ask for four weeks.
However, you can easily get a visa extension once you arrive in Iran, at no
extra cost, by going to any police station, or the Aliens Office in Tehran.
If you have plenty of time before
you intend to travel (at least 8 weeks), you can apply for a visa by contacting
your nearest Iranian Embassy.
Alternatively, you can use an
Iranian Visa Service to take care of all the details and get your visa for you.
Iranian Visa Services can often get you a visa to travel at short notice. Click
here for more details on Iranian Visa Services.
To apply independently you need to
contact the Iranian Embassy nearest to where you live and ask for/download a
visa application form.
Next, you will need to obtain a
Letter of Invitation from a sponsor in Iran. For tourist visas, the sponsor
will normally be a tour operator or a hotel. Click on th efollowing link to
contact an Iranian tour operator who can supply you with a Letter of
Once you have your Letter of
Invitation you need to send this to your nearest Embassy along with your visa
application form, two photographs, and the appropriate visa application fee.
The Embassy will then send details
of your application to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Tehran.
Once your visa has been authorised
by the MFA, a visa authorisation number will be sent back to the Embassy. The
Embassy will then contact you and tell you your visa authorisation number.
Please note that this reference number means that your visa has been authorised
but is not the visa itself.
To obtain the actual visa in your
passport, you need to fill out a visa collection form which you obtain/download
from the Embassy. On this form you enter your visa authorisation number.
You can then either post or take
this form to the Consulate Section of the embassy along with your passport and
the appropriate visa collection fee. Your passport must be valid for at least
six months from your date of entry into Iran, and must have at least two blank
If take your passport to the
consulate in person, you will normally have to return the following day to get
your passport back. If you post your passport to the consulate, either there
will be an extra fee to cover the costs of them sending it back to you recorded
delivery, or you will have to provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. You
should normally receive your passport back about one week from when the
consulate first receives it.
Formal Name The
Islamic Republic of Iran
East, bordering the Sea of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between
Iraq and Pakistan
Geographic Coordinates 32 00 N,
53 00 E
Time GMT +3:30
September 22 to March 21 , GMT +4:30 March 22 to September 21
million sq km (slightly larger than Alaska)
Bordering Countries Afghanistan
936 km, Armenia 35 km, Azerbaijan-proper 432 km, Azerbaijan Naxcivan exclave
179 km, Iraq 1,458 km, Pakistan 909 km, Turkey 499 km, Turkmenistan 992 km,
total 5,440 km
Coastline 2,440 km
along the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf; Iran also borders the Caspian Sea
arid or semi-arid, subtropical along the Caspian Coast
mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small,
discontinuous plains along both coasts
Elevation Extremes Caspian
Sea -28 m, Mount Damavand 5,671 m
Natural Resources Petroleum,
natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
Land Use Arable
land 10%, permanent crops 1%, permanent pastures 27%, forests and woodland 7%,
Administrative Divisions 31 Provinces
Major Cities Tehran,
Mashad, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz
Ethnic Groups Persian
51%, Azerbaijani 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%,
Baluch 2%, Turkic 1%, other 2%
Official Language Farsi or
99%; Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians 1%
mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and large enterprises,
village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures
petrochemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing, metal fabricating,
Agricultural Products Wheat,
rice, sugar beets, fruits, pistachios, cotton, dairy products, wool; caviar
carpets, fruits, nuts, hides, steel
Exchange Rate Approximately
32,000 Rials to one US Dollar
Fiscal Year 21 March
- 20 March
- Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Iran is March-May or
September-November. It mostly rains in the winter months and can be very
cold and snowy at times. Areas along the coasts enjoy a mild climate.
Imam Khomeni international airport, is 40 km
from city center. Iranians use the internal airlines as their primary
means of transportation, so flights are often booked well in advance.
Taxis from the airport (and elsewhere) don't use
meters, so be sure to agree on the fare before getting in the cab. There is a
reliable prepaid taxi service outside the international arrivals hall. A
journey across the city should cost no more than $5 US.
There's rail service, both within the country and to Europe and surrounding
countries. There is excellent bus service between Istanbul and Tehran. Land
borders with Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan are open.
An escorted tour is the best way for most first-time visitors to see the
country. Hiring a car and driver or taxis would be a second choice. Bus service
is extremely popular, and many buses run each day between all cities and towns
in Iran. Taxis are also available.
Dressing and Trip Notes:
Dress Code (Men and Women)
The Islamic dress code for women might have, somewhat, relaxed, but is still
the same as before, i.e. women would need to wear a headscarf (of any colour or
pattern) and clothes that cover their body at all times outside hotel rooms.
They can wear the regular ‘Islamic manteau’, easily purchased here at the cost
of around $35-40, or long sleeved knee-length tunic/dress over long loose pants
Please note that women should wear headscarf as soon as they leave aircraft on
Men can wear T-shirts/short sleeves, but they should refrain from wearing
The currency in Iran is the Rial, and there are about 9,000 Rials to the US
Dollar. Most prices that you will see in shops and that shopkeepers will
discuss with you will be given in Tomas. One Toman equals 10 Rials. Therefore,
an item that cost 32,000 Tomans is actually 320,000 Rials, or about 10 Dollars.
You should change money at airport bank, or hotel bank, to cover expenses not
included in the tour cost and for personal expenses. You can pay Dollars/Euros
for any purchases of handicrafts, carpets, etc. and for tipping drivers and
guides. There are no preferences between Dollars and Euros, and both are
You can bring cash US Dollars/Euros and there is no restriction on the amount (although,
officially, it is $6000.00), and no problem in taking out what is left!
Please note that no credit cards are accepted
here for any purpose. Some of the more prestigious carpet shops in Isfahan,
with overseas accounts, might accept credit cards for substantial purchases,
but we cannot commit to this.
Voltage and Adapters
The voltage in hotels and everywhere in Iran
is 220V, but it is best to have a universal adapter. European-style sockets and
plugs with two round pins are used in Iran.
Photography and Video
People should refrain from photographing government offices, airports, military
depots, police stations and any place that is ‘deemed’ off limits! They should
always check with their guide to make sure of what is allowed and what is not
or they would get themselves, our guides and, eventually the company (Pasargad
Tours) in trouble!
When photographing people, especially women, it is customary to first ask for their
permission, but most Iranians are hap