Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are standard (Plug types C and F).

Language

The official language of Iran is Persian, also known as Farsi. English is mostly spoken and understood by businessmen.

Money

The unit of currency is the Iranian rial (IRR), which is divided into 100 dinar, though the toman is used by Iranians today as the equivalent of ten rial. Prices are most often marked in toman, with 1,000 or 1,000,000 Toman equivalent to 10,000 or 10,000,000 Rial respectively. It is best to travel with US dollars or euros, which can be exchanged upon arrival at the airport, or at banks in big cities. International credit and bank cards will not work in Iran; travellers will not be able to transfer funds into Iran using the commercial banking system or money transfer companies.

Tipping

Waiters don't expect tips, but it's worth remembering that helpful Iranians probably deserve some extra appreciation to supplement their meagre wages. In most cases, tipping is an optional reward for good service. Fares in private taxis are always negotiable.

Health

Travellers who intend to engage with animals or visit rural areas should consider a rabies vaccine, and all visitors who are older than 16 should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Malaria is a risk in some parts of the country, so travellers should take precautions; yellow fever certificates are required for those arriving from countries where there is a risk of transmission. Visitors should not drink tap water, including ice in drinks, and food precautions should be taken. Healthcare in the cities of Iran is good, but insufficient in rural areas, so travellers are advised to have full travel insurance and to consult with their medical practitioner prior to travel.

Safety

Travellers should exercise safety precautions throughout Iran and pay attention to media warnings and cautions. In the southeastern region, Westerners have been victims of criminal gangs often involved in the smuggling of drugs and other contraband. Crime is relatively low in the cities, but there have been an increasing number of robberies by young men on motorbikes who snatch items from pedestrians.

Dual nationals should carefully consider their journey to Iran, as the government has been known to detain American-Iranian and British-Iranian nationals in particular, refusing to acknowledge dual citizenship. It is best to avoid all political activity and some travellers could be profiled because of their political affiliations in their home country.

Local customs

Iranians are incredibly hospitable and guests should expect to be offered plenty of food and drink when visiting. Although it is not necessary to keep eating food, it is important to accept some. It is customary for a guest to bring a small gift to their host; sweets, pastries, tea, or other such gifts are always appreciated.

Travellers should be aware that homosexuality and adultery are crimes in Iran and are punishable by flogging and even death. Unmarried couples of the opposite sex travelling together should be discreet in public. The possession and consumption of alcohol and drugs is strictly forbidden; photography near military and other government installations is strictly prohibited.

Doing business

Many Iranian businesspersons speak English but translators can be hired if required. Iranians are polite and conservative in their manner and the same respect is expected in return. Exchanging business cards is normally restricted to senior business figures and it is advisable to have a Farsi translation of details on the alternate side. Appointments should be made and punctuality is expected for business meetings, but visitors may be kept waiting by local businesspersons or government officials. Dress is formal and conservative and, though Iranians do not wear ties, it is acceptable for foreigners to do so. Women should dress modestly and cover their hair.

Business gifts are quite acceptable, but foreigners should be careful about what they offer as gifts, so as to avoid the appearance offering bribes. Flowers and sweets are good options. Friday is the Muslim holy day, when everything is closed, and most businesses also close on Thursday; prayer times are also observed throughout the workday. During Ramadan, business hours may be shortened.

Duty free

Duty free allowances for visitors to Iran include a reasonable quantity of cigarettes; a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use; gifts of which the applicable import duty does not exceed $80. Alcohol is prohibited.

Communications

The international dialling code for Iran is +98. Although roaming is compatible with some international mobile service providers, it is far cheaper for visitors to buy a local prepaid SIM card for the period of their stay. Top hotels offer free WiFi.

Passport & Visa

Visitors require a passport and must hold a return or onward ticket, all documents required for their next destination and sufficient funds. All visitors must report to the police within eight days of arrival. Visitors should be aware that if their passport contains an Israeli stamp, or any evidence of an intended or past visit to Israel, entry into Iran may be refused even if in possession of a valid visa. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

United States nationals must have a passport that is valid six months beyond their intended stay. Visa required. All foreigners entering the country must report to the police within eight days.

British nationals must have a passport that is valid six months beyond their intended stay. Visa required. All foreigners entering Iran must report to the police within 8 days after arrival.

Canadian nationals require a passport that is valid six months beyond their intended stay. Visa required. All foreigners entering Iran must report to the police within 8 days after arrival.

Australian nationals require a passport that is valid six months beyond their intended stay. Visa required. Passengers with a normal passport traveling on business can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days if holding an invitation letter issued by a government agency. The invitation letter must be issued at least 2 days before the arrival date. All foreigners entering Iran must report to the police within 8 days after arrival.

South African nationals require a passport that is valid six months beyond their intended stay. Visa required. Passengers with a normal passport traveling on business can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days if holding an invitation letter issued by a government agency. The invitation letter must be issued at least 2 days before the arrival date. South African nationals have visa exemptions for 14 days if arriving at Kesh or Qeshm islands. All foreigners entering Iran must report to the police within 8 days after arrival.

Irish nationals require a passport that is valid six months beyond their intended stay. Visa required. Passengers with a normal passport traveling on business can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days if holding an invitation letter issued by a government agency. The invitation letter must be issued at least 2 days before the arrival date. All foreigners entering Iran must report to the police within 8 days after arrival.

New Zealand nationals require a passport that is valid six months beyond their intended stay. Visa required. Passengers with a normal passport traveling on business can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days if holding an invitation letter issued by a government agency. The invitation letter must be issued at least 2 days before the arrival date. New Zealanders are visa exempt for 14 days if travelling to Kish and Qeshm islands. All foreigners entering Iran must report to the police within 8 days after arrival.

Useful contacts

115 (Ambulance); 125 (Fire); 110 (Police)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Embassy of Pakistan, Washington DC, United States of America (Interest section for Iran): +1 202 965 4990.

Embassy of Iran, London, United Kingdom: + 44 207 225 4208 or + 44 207 225 4209.

Embassy of Iran, Canberra, Australia: +61 6290 7000.

Embassy of Iran, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 87 945 1307 or +27 87 945 0851.

Embassy of Iran, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 288 5881.

Embassy of Iran, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 386 2976.

Embassies / consulates in Iran

Embassy of Switzerland, Tehran (also accredited for US citizens): +98 21 2254 2178.

British Embassy, Tehran, Iran: +98 21 6405 2000.

Australian Embassy, Tehran, Iran: +98 21 8386 3666.

South African Embassy, Tehran, Iran: +98 21 2270 2866.

Embassy of Ireland, Ankara, Turkey (assistance for Iran): +90 312 459 1000.

New Zealand Embassy, Tehran, Iran: +98 21 2612 2175.

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