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How to get a visa for Iran: an ultimate guide to getting a tourist visa for Iran

Traveling to Iran will give you a unique experience of meeting friendly Iranians, visiting its outstanding architecture, discovering its rich history and culture, and enjoying its marvelous natural attractions. Though applying for your Iran visa used to be the most stressful part of travel in the past, it is quite easy and straightforward right now. Fortunately, the Iranian government has eased the visa process to make it possible for the majority of nationalities to simply collect their Iran tourist visa and have a memorable journey to Iran. Iran visa-free entry, Iran visa on arrival, and Iran visa in advance are the options that make the visa process as easy as possible.

Iran visa-free entry is dedicated to some lucky citizens who can travel to Iran without applying for any kind of tourist visa. Iran visa on arrival (VOA) is a kind of visa issued at Iran international airports for citizens of more than 180 countries in the world. It means that nationalities eligible to get Iran VOA can travel to Iran and collect their visa at the international airports without spending much time and money for collecting visa prior to their arrival. Iran visa in advance is a kind of tourist visa you need to apply for 60-90 days prior to your departure. US, UK, and Canadian citizens are ineligible to get Iran visa on arrival; therefore, they need to apply for an Iran visa before arrival(Iran airport visa) for traveling to Iran. 

If you still believe that the visa process looks complicated, read the following article to know how to get a visa for Iran. We have provided you an ultimate guide to getting a tourist visa for Iran. 


Table of Contents:

Can I travel to Iran?

Iran is a safe country to travel and the majority of nationalities can travel to Iran if they get an Iran tourist visa. Some citizens are even so lucky that they can travel to Iran without getting any kind of Iran tourist visa. Visa-free nationals are allowed to stay in Iran for a specific period depending on their nationality. At the moment, Israeli passport holders are the only citizens who cannot travel to Iran at all. 

What kind of visa do I need to visit Iran?

You need to apply for an Iran tourist visa if you are willing to travel to Iran-individually or with a tour group- to see Iran tourist attractions or visit friends and relatives. An Iranian tourist visa allows you to stay for a maximum of 30 days in Iran, but it is possible to extend it.

There are two types of Iran tourist visas and you are supposed to apply for one of them regarding your nationality and priorities:

  1. Iran visa in advance (embassy tourist visa or Iran visa before arrival) 
  2. Iran visa on arrival (Iran VOA or Iran airport visa) 

Iran visa in advance:

Iran visa in advance is a kind of tourist visa you need to apply for 60-90 days before your departure. The process takes one to three weeks. If your visa application is approved, you should collect it from a specified Iranian embassy/consulate located in your home country. Iran tourist visa in advance will allow you to stay in Iran for a maximum of 30 days. It is valid only for 90 days from the issuing date; therefore, your Iran visa will be invalid and null if you arrive in Iran 91 days after the day your visa has been issued. 

Iran visa on arrival:

Iran visa on arrival (VOA) is a tourist visa granted to citizens of 180 countries upon their arrival to Iran. VOA is issued for a maximum of 30 days at any international airport in Iran.  Iran VOA allows you to apply for your visa just 48 hours before your arrival. Not all nationalities are eligible to apply for an Iran visa on arrival. Therefore, you should apply for an Iran visa in advance if you want to get an Iran visa as a US, UK, and Canadian citizen

How to get a tourist visa for Iran?

Whether you apply for an Iran visa on arrival or Iran visa in advance, there is just a five-step procedure to get your Iran visa successfully. 

  1. Fill out Iran online visa application (e-visa) form and upload your photo and the front page of your passport according to the requirements.
  2. Wait for the visa application receipt confirmation and the reference number (and pay the visa service fee if a visa supplier or tour company helps you to get your Iran visa). 
  3. Wait for the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) to assess your visa application form (it usually takes one to three weeks).
  4. Receive your authorization code from Iranian MFA, in case your visa application is approved.
  5. Pay the embassy fee and collect your Iran tourist visa from the Iranian embassy/consulate you have specified in the form or at the airport when you arrive in Iran. 

You have two options to fulfill this five-step procedure to get your Iran visa. The first option is to do it by yourself and the second one is to let a travel agency help you through the visa process. 

  • Do It by Yourself  

Fill out the online visa application form available on the Iran Ministry of Foreign affairs website or the website of the Iranian embassy/consulate in your home country. If all goes well, Iran MFA will forward the authorization code for you and for the Iranian embassy that you have determined in the form. After receiving the authorization code, you will need to take your passport and the other required documents to the embassy/consulate to collect your visa for Iran. You can also send the documents plus your passport to the embassy and wait until your visa is delivered to your registered address. It usually takes about 6 weeks to get your Iran travel visa; therefore, you will need to apply for it at least 45 days prior to your departure or you could ask travel agencies to help you get Iran visa in a shorter period of time.

  • Ask a travel agency to help you get your Iran visa 

If you ask a reliable travel agency or visa supplier to help you through the visa process, you will need to pay the visa service fee (LOI) varying from $30 to $70 with no refund. In fact, you choose to spend more money to save time. Travel agencies claim that they pave the way for you to get the authorization code in less than 7 working days. They might be very helpful to you; however, it is not guaranteed to get your Iran visa soon. Travel agencies would also ask you to fill out an electronic visa form and pay the visa service fee before sending your visa application to the Iranian MFA. If your visa application is approved by the Iranian MFA, the travel agency will forward the authorization number to you and the Iranian embassy/consulate specified in your visa application form. Then, you can go to the embassy/consulate and collect your visa. At the embassy/consulate, your visa is issued in less than 24 working hours. 

Please note that the process would be slower for American, British, and Canadian citizens. They might be required to get ready for an interview at the embassy.  

What is Iran e-visa?  

Iran e-visa or Iran online visa application form is a visa service available both on Iran Ministry of Foreign affairs website (MFA) and on the websites of travel agencies and visa suppliers that help you through the visa process. Whether you wish to apply for a visa in advance or a visa on arrival, you will need to fill out the e-visa before your departure. You should complete the form with your personal information (first name, birth date, place of birth, occupation, etc.), contact information, passport information, and trip details. Trip details are the most important parts of the e-visa form and it requires information such as arrival and departure dates, travel duration and the place you prefer to get your Iran visa from ( at an Iranian airport or from a specified Iranian embassy/consulate at your country of origin). You are also supposed to upload your digital personal photo and your digital image of your passport before submitting the visa application form. After submitting the form, you will receive an email including a link and a verification code.  You should click on the link and confirm your visa request in 12 hours; otherwise, your application form would be removed automatically from the MFA website. After completing the Iran e-visa form, all you need to do is to wait for receiving your authorization number from the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs (MFA). 

What is the authorization code for getting Iran visa?

If you apply for your Iran visa in advance, you need to receive the authorization code directly from the Iranian MFA or the travel agency that has sent your visa application to the Iranian MFA.  Iranian ministry of foreign affairs is responsible for assessing your visa application and informing you of your visa approval or rejection. The authorization code, also called Grant Notice of Iran Visa, Letter of Invitation (LOI) or Reference Number, is the approval number sent by the ministry of foreign affairs in Iran. Receiving the authorization number is the most important step for collecting Iran tourist visa in advance. It takes one to three weeks to receive the authorization code; however, travel agencies claim that they would receive it in less than seven working days. After approving your visa application form, MFA will send the authorization code to you and the Iranian embassy/consulate that you had specified in the visa form. At the next step,  you need to go to the embassy/consulate with your passport, photos, fee, and other documents they determine in order to collect your visa. An Iran tourist visa in advance is issued for up to 30 days and it must be collected before traveling to Iran. 

What documents are required to fill out the Iran online visa application form?

Whether you complete the e-visa form on Iranian MFA website or fill out the online application form provided by travel agencies, you should have the following documents at hand:

  1. Passport
  2. Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements.
  3. Résumé- you may be asked to explain your education and work history. 
  4. Digital personal photo regarding the requirements.
  5. Digital image of your passport regarding the requirements. 
  6. More Information– you might be asked to provide additional information for filling out the online application.

Can I apply for Iran visa on arrival (VOA)?

Iran visa on arrival (VOA) or Iran airport visa is a kind of tourist visa issued for the majority of nationalities who want to travel to Iran for tourist purposes. Therefore, passport holders with official and diplomatic purposes cannot apply for Iran visa on arrival. The VOA is only issued at Iran international airports and it is valid for 30 days. Therefore, if you plan to enter Iran overland, you cannot receive a VOA. 

Iran visa on arrival is issued for nationalities from approximately 180 countries around the world, but citizens from US, UK, Canada, Colombia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are not eligible to get a VOA and they need to apply for Iran visa in advance 60-90 days prior to their arrival. 

Iranian VOA makes traveling to Iran much easier than the past, especially for Europeans. However, one might be denied entry at the airport for some reason. 

What documents do I need to get an Iran VOA?

If you are eligible to obtain an Iran visa on arrival, bring along the following documents to receive your visa at the airport. 

The documents required to receive an Iran VOA:

  1. Passport with a minimum of 6 months validity,
  2. Confirmed return ticket within 30 days,
  3. Photos to be attached to the visa application,
  4. Iran visa stamp fee in cash; it varies from €40 to €150 depending on the applicant’s nationality,
  5. A hardcopy of travel insurance valid for Iran,
  6. An invitation letter or hotel reservation voucher containing contact details. Otherwise, you might be waiting at the airport for a long time. 

What documents do I need to get an Iran visa in advance? 

Documents needed to get your Iran visa in advance might differ from one embassy/consulate to another. Therefore, it is better to check the website of the embassy/consulate you have specified in your Iran visa application form to exactly know what to take along. Here, we mention the most common documents needed to collect your Iran visa in advance at the embassy/consulate:

  1. Passport with a minimum of 6-months’ validity,
  2. passport photos (usually 2 photos are required),
  3. Passport copy,
  4. Visa application form. This one is collected and filled out at the embassy/consulate),
  5. Visa fee. The visa fee varies depending on your nationality, 
  6. A hardcopy of travel insurance valid for Iran. 

After receiving your authorization code from the Iranian MFA, take all the required documents to the embassy/consulate you had specified in the visa application. You are supposed to pay the visa fee and leave your passport at the embassy/consulate and wait for your visa to be issued in less than 24 hours. 

When your visa application is approved, you must have travel insurance in order to collect your visa from an Iranian embassy/consulate in your home country or at a specified international airport in Iran. If you do not purchase travel insurance and do not have printed documentation of it, you cannot collect your visa. Moreover, make sure that your insurance covers your whole travel because some travel insurance cover merely limited regions of Iran. Please note that general terms like “middle east” or “Asia” on your insurance printout are not acceptable and the visa officer looks for the word “Iran” mentioned on your travel insurance document.

Why should I use travel agencies’ visa service instead of MFA e-visa service?

Some travelers have used the MFA e-visa service and got their authorization code in 5 business days. However, many travelers have experienced high rejection risk, difficulty in uploading images, and system errors on the MFA website. Since getting the authorization number is the most important step to get your Iran visa, it makes sense to let a reliable travel agency or visa supplier do the visa process on your behalf and receive the authorization code in 3-4 business days. Remember that granting visas is up to the Iranian MFA and there is no guarantee to get your Iran visa if you apply for it via a travel agency. Moreover, the visa agent will still take a visa service fee regardless of whether a visa is issued or not.  

Who can travel to Iran without getting a visa?

Citizens from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Georgia, Armenia, Venezuela, Egypt, and Malaysia are exempt from applying for a visa to enter Iran. Therefore, tourists from the above-mentioned countries are lucky enough to travel to Iran visa-free for a specific period varying from 15 to 90 days regarding their country of origin. Recently, Iran has approved visa-free travel for Chinese tourists as well and it may add more to the list of Iran visa-free nationals in the future. 

Enjoy visa-free travel to Kish and Qeshm Islands

If you are eligible to get an Iran visa on arrival, then you can enjoy 14-day visa-free travel to Kish Island-as one of the most visited holiday destinations in Southwest Asia- and Qeshm Island-as a great eco-tourism destination in Iran. Many of the European expats who live in Dubai or Doha have this chance to spend weekends in Kish or Qeshm Island without being involved in the visa process. However, if you enter Kish or Qeshm Island and decide to explore more in the vast country of Iran, you need to apply for an Iran tourist visa. Fortunately, the visa application is easy in the free trade zones (Kish and Qeshm islands) and it usually takes less than two working days for the Iranian MFA representative offices to issue your visa, unless there is a serious problem. Americans, British, and Canadians are ineligible to obtain Iran VOA. Consequently, they cannot have visa-free entry to Kish and Qeshm islands. They should apply for an Iran visa in advance before planning a trip to these gorgeous islands located in the south of Iran.

How to travel to Iran as an American, British or Canadian passport holder?

Americans, British, and Canadian passport holders can travel to Iran and enjoy their visit; however, it takes longer to get an Iran travel visa as a US, UK or Canadian citizen. As a citizen from the above-mentioned countries, you cannot get an Iran visa on arrival. Therefore, you should apply for an Iran tourist visa in advance _ also called embassy tourist visa_ approximately 60-90 days before your departure. As a US, UK, and Canadian traveler, you cannot either travel to Iran without a guide; therefore, it is necessary to book a trip to Iran via a reliable travel agency before applying for your Iran visa. After booking a tour to Iran through a travel agency, you can apply for a tourist visa, receive the authorization code, and refer to a specified Iranian embassy/consulate to collect your Iran visa.  

How to get Iran visa as a citizen of Bangladesh, Afghanistan or Somalia? 

Citizens of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Somalia can travel to Iran, but they are neither allowed to apply for Iran e-visa nor Iran visa on arrival. If you wish to travel to Iran as a citizen of Bangladesh, Afghanistan or Somalia, you should go to the Iranian embassy/consulate at your home country to apply for your Iran tourist visa in advance.

What nationalities cannot travel to Iran?

All nationalities are welcomed to Iran except for Israeli passport holders. Iran will not issue visas for Israeli passport holders. Regardless of your nationality, you cannot have an Israeli stamp in your passport.  Though Israel does not stamp passports, having any evidence of entry in Israel such as exit stamps at Jordanian or Egyptian border crossings into Israel will turn you away from entering Iran.

How long does an Iran visa last?

Iran visa on arrival and Iran visa in advance, as two types of Iran tourist visas, are valid for a maximum of 30 days in Iran. Depending on your nationality, you are allowed to stay in Iran for 15 days up to a maximum of 30 days. It is also possible to extend your Iran visa and enjoy your visit for up to 90 days.

How to extend my Iran visa?

You can extend your Iran travel visa whether it is a visa on arrival or a visa in advance. Iran tourist visas will allow you to stay in Iran no longer than 30 days, but it is possible to extend your visa twice to stay in Iran as long as 90 days. However, the possibility of visa extension denial still exists. 

You can extend your visa at any Immigration Visa Office in Iran. The process might take about 24 hours and it is up to the visa officer to extend your visa or not. You may obtain a maximum of 14-day extension or more depending on the officer’s decision.  

Why should I apply for Iran visa in advance instead of Iran visa on arrival? 

Iran’s visa on arrival has made the visa process as easy as possible. Over 180 countries are eligible to easily travel to Iran and get their visa on arrival at the airport. However, there are still some reasons to persuade you to apply for an Iran visa in advance instead of an Iran visa on arrival. 

  • Traveling to Iran overland

Iran visa on arrival is only issued at international airports in Iran. If you aim to cross the borders and enter Iran via the neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Turkey or Turkmenistan, you must apply for Iran visa in advance. 

  • Securing your Iran visa

Though your visa on arrival is rarely rejected, not having a return flight ticket or not being able to contact your host at the airport are the issues that make the authorities deny your visa on arrival application. Therefore, you might prefer to secure your visa by applying for an Iran visa in advance. 

  • Saving time in Iran

If you get your visa in advance before your departure, you can leave the airport just as you arrive in the country. However, if you prefer to get your Iran visa on arrival, you will need to wait some hours in order to get your visa on arrival issued at the airport. Getting your Iran tourist visa in advance will save you from waiting in visa lines at Iran airports. 

  • Being a citizen of Canada, America, UK, or other ineligible countries to get an Iran VOA

Since not all nationalities are eligible for an Iran VOA, you might need to apply for your embassy tourist visa. Moreover, citizens from the US, UK, and Canada are not allowed to travel to Iran independently. Therefore, they should book a tour to Iran through a reliable travel agency before applying for an Iran visa in advance. 

Why do Iran visa applications get rejected?

Fortunately, the majority of applicants get an Iran tourist visa successfully and roughly 5% of Iran visa applications might get rejected. It is possible to reapply for an Iran visa if your visa application gets rejected once. Anyhow, read the followings to get aware of some reasons why your Iran tourist visa application might be rejected and learn how to avoid visa rejection risk: 

  • Israel passport holders and Israeli stamps in passports

Israeli citizens are not allowed to enter Iran. Unfortunately, as a traveler from another country, you will not be able to obtain Iran visa if you have Israeli stamps or any other evidence of visiting Israel in your passport.

  • Occupying some specific job positions

Iranian authorities are very cautious about some job positions. If you are a journalist, media person, or political character, your visa application is likely to get rejected. 

  • Missing Iran visa documents and requirements

If your visa application does not meet the requirements mentioned in the application form, your request might get rejected. Uploading photo or passport copy regardless of the requirements, not filling out visa form correctly and completely, or representing a 60 day Iran travel itinerary while you know that Iran tourist visa is granted for a maximum of 30 days are some of the reasons that increase the risk of Iran visa rejection. Your documents also need to meet the requirements. For instance, your passport needs at least 6 months of validity; otherwise, your visa application gets rejected.

  • Having no good reason for traveling to Iran

To obtain an Iran tourist visa, you need to clarify that you want to visit Iran for sightseeing purposes. Representing a clear and detailed itinerary can help you prove your claim. Please note that the number of days staying in Iran must match the number of days needed to visit tourist attractions. Moreover, you need to explain what cities and places you want to see and how much time you dedicate to each city or attraction.

  • Diplomatic Relations

If you have been involved in any political actions against Iran, it is more possible to get your Iran visa application rejected. 

Tips to remember before applying for Iran visa

  • If you have dual nationality, your nationality in the visa application form must be the same as that shown in your passport. In case your nationality in the visa form is different from the nationality in your passport, the visa would be void.  
  • You should have at least six months’ validity on your passport before you travel; otherwise, Iran tourist visa will not be granted for you.
  • Your digital photo needs to meet all the requirements mentioned in the Iran visa application form.
  • Your digital copy of the passport needs to meet all the requirements mentioned in the Iran visa application form. 
  • If you should apply for your Iran visa in advance, leave 60-90 days to applying for your visa before your departure and do not book flights to Iran before collecting your visa. 
  • Specify the exact embassy/consulate/ or the Iranian airport where you want to pick up your visa. 
  • Travel agencies could help you through the visa process; however, Iranian MFA makes the final decision on allowing you to enter Iran or not. Therefore, asking a travel agency for Iran visa services does not necessarily mean that your Iran visa application will not be rejected at all.  
  • Travel agencies take their visa service fee, no matter whether you get your Iran tourist visa or not.
  • Iran VOA is not issued for all nationalities. Citizens of the US, UK, and Canada cannot get an Iran visa on arrival. Therefore, they should apply for an Iran visa in advance before traveling to Iran or booking flights. 
  • Citizens of the US, UK, and Canada need to book a tour to Iran before applying for an Iran visa. They are not allowed to visit Iran without a guide. Therefore, an approved guide should accompany them from arrival to departure.
  • When the visa application is approved, it is necessary to have travel insurance in order to collect the Iran visa. General terms like “middle east” or “Asia” on your insurance printout are not acceptable and the visa officer looks for the word “Iran” mentioned on your travel insurance document.
  • Tourist passports will not be stamped in Iran and only electronic visas are issued for travelers. Regarding a US law in 2015, travelers who visit Iran and six other countries would be subject to enhanced security for entering the US later. Therefore, tourists and travelers will not be in trouble for entering the US after visiting Iran.

In order to find Iran visa questions and answers, read Iran Visa FAQs as well.

How to get an Iran visa as a US, UK or Canadian citizen

Americans, British, and Canadians can travel to Iran and enjoy their visit if they get an Iran visa before planning a trip. Obviously, applying for an Iran visa is the first step to take whether you want to travel to Iran with the purpose of visiting its UNESCO sites, trekking in its vast deserts and dense forests, mountaineering, or skiing and snowboarding in the best ski resorts of Iran. Though getting an Iran tourist visa as a US, UK, or Canadian citizen is simple, it is time-consuming and takes a lot of patience. Due to the Iranian government’s regulations, the visa process will take longer for ABC nationalities, but it does not mean that they can not travel to Iran.

If you are from the US, UK or Canada, you are ineligible to get an Iran visa on arrival (VOA); therefore, you should apply for your Iran visa in advance 60-90 days prior to your departure. Moreover, as a US, UK or Canadian passport-holder, you must be on an organized licensed tour accompanied by an authorized tour guide in order to visit Iran. Therefore, you should book a tour to Iran and hire a licensed tour guide before applying for an Iran travel visa or booking flights to Iran.  Though many foreign tourists and travelers can explore Iran independently, American, British, and Canadian tourists cannot travel to Iran without a guide. It means that an approved tour guide must accompany them all through the trip. Fortunately, there are many cultural and adventure tours to Iran to satisfy every taste. Moreover, being accompanies by a knowledgeable tour guide will inform travelers of Iranians’ culture and lifestyle and let them see Iran through the eyes of a local.

Read the following article to know how to get an Iran visa as a US, UK or Canadian citizen.


Table of Contents:

Is it safe to travel to Iran as an American, British or Canadian citizen?

Before applying for your Iran visa, you need to know whether it is safe to travel to Iran or not. Fortunately, the answer is yes. You will have a safe trip to Iran as an American, British, or Canadian tourist and you will not feel unsafe or threatened because of your nationality. Our advice to you is to avoid making any public political statements. Instead, find out the truth that political problems between the governments have nothing to do with Iranians’ hospitality toward travelers. Iranians have the warmest feelings for western travelers, and they are not anti-Americans either. Travelling to Iran will provide you the chance to socialize with Iranians and see how friendly and well-educated they are. 

How to get an Iranian visa with an American, Canadian, or British Passport?

As it was mentioned earlier, Americans, British, and Canadians can not apply for an Iran visa on arrival. Therefore, they need to apply for an Iran visa in advance (Iran visa before arrival), if they wish to visit Iran. Moreover, the three nationalities need to reserve a full tour to Iran before applying for a visa. In fact, the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) makes it necessary for American, British, and Canadian nationalities to make a tour to Iran from arrival to departure. Moreover, tourists from the US, UK, and Canada need an approved tour guide to accompany them all through the trip on a daily basis.

To get your Iran tourist visa as an American, British or Canadian passport-holder, you should ask a reliable travel agency that offers visa services for ABC nationalities to help you through the visa process. The travel agency will ask you to provide the required documents such as your passport copy, passport photos, and some personal information. Then, it will contact the Iranian MFA on your behalf and wait for an authorization code(Letter of Invitation). It takes 30 to 60 working days (it might take more or less time) to receive the LOI. When the travel agency informs you of your authorization code, all you need to do is to collect your visa from an Iranian embassy or consulate.

Please note that you should book the tour, hotels, and guides before applying for an Iran tourist visa. Usually, when you book a tour to Iran, it includes hotels and guides as well. It is also recommended that you book your international flight ticket after receiving the authorization code. In order to understand the visa process for ABC nationalities, see the following five easy steps: 

5 steps to get Iran tourist visa as a US, UK or Canada passport holder:  

  1. Book your tour to Iran through an authorized travel agency (make sure hotels and guides are also booked through the process).
  2. Fill out the visa application form, attach your Job CV, and pay the visa service fee.
  3. Wait for 30 to 60 working days to receive the authorization code. 
  4. Go to the Iranian embassy or consulate you have determined in your visa application form. 
  5. Submit the required documents, get your Iran tourist visa, and get ready to enjoy your tour to Iran. 

 Where to collect Iran visa as a Canadian, British or US citizen?

After receiving an authorization code issued by the Iranian MFA, It is time to collect your Iran tourist visa from an Iranian consulate/embassy in your country of origin. British citizens can collect their Iran visas from the Iranian embassy in London. However, Iran has no embassy or consulate in the USA and Canada. American and Canadian citizens should refer to Iran’s interest section at the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC or the Permanent Mission of IRI in New York to get their Iran tourist visa. It is not necessary to collect the visa by yourself; therefore, it is possible to mail your passport plus the other required documents and wait for delivery.

Another way to collect your visa as an American or Canadian tourist is to get your visa from an Iranian consulate/embassy in another country such as Turkey or France. Your visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue; therefore, you have 90 days to enter Iran after collecting your Iranian visa. 

How long does it take to get an Iran visa in advance?

Apply for your visa at least three months before your departure date. Though the visa process takes about 4 weeks, you should consider unpredicted delays. The season you apply for your Iran visa, the number of applicants and Iranian national holidays are some of the factors that make the visa process take more than 2 months. For instance, if you plan to travel to Iran in late March and early April, you need to be aware of Nowruz as an Iranian holiday lasting for two weeks. Many applicants also prefer to experience Iran in the spring. Therefore, it will take longer to collect your Iranian visa during this time. 

What documents are required to collect an Iran visa as an American, British or Canadian citizen?

The following documents are required to collect your Iranian visa as a US, UK, or Canadian citizen. Please note that each embassy or consulate has its rules and regulations to issue a visa. Therefore, you need to check what exact documents the embassy/consulate you have determined in your visa application form requires for issuing your Iran visa. 

Iran visa requirements for US, UK, and Canadian citizens:

  • Passport with at least 6 months of validity
  • A passport photo to be attached to the Iran visa application form
  • A travel itinerary provided by an approved guide as well as hotel bookings 
  • A  Job CV( including your job details of the last 10 years)
  • A personal information document (including your name, birth date, etc.)
  • The Authorization code or Letter of Invitation issued by the Iranian MFA
  • Visa stamp fee that varies depending on the applicant’s nationality 
  • Travel insurance covering your travel to Iran 

How much is an Iran visa fee for US, UK, or Canadian citizens?

The visa fee must be paid at the Iranian embassy/ consulate upon your visa collection. It might cost you 50 to 150 euros depending on your nationality. Therefore, it is better to check the latest prices before referring to the embassy/consulate.

Can I get an Iran visa on arrival (VOA) as a US, UK or Canadian Citizen?

Regarding the political issues between the governments, getting an Iran travel visa as an American, Britain or Canadian citizen is not as easy as for other nationalities. Americans, British, and Canadians are ineligible to get Iran tourist visa on arrival(VOA), while nationalities from around 180 countries are eligible to get Iran visa on arrival for a maximum of 30 days at one of the international airports in Iran. 

Can a US, UK, and Canadian citizen travel to Iran without a guide?

Americans, British, and Canadians are not allowed to travel to Iran without a guide. In order to visit Iran, ABC nationalities are supposed to get an Iran visa before arrival, book a full tour to Iran, and be accompanied by a licensed tour guide on a daily basis. 

 US, UK, and Canadian tourists cannot travel to Iran independently or go around without a guide. The US, UK, and Canada passport holders must book a tour to Iran and be accompanied by an approved tour guide during their travel. While the British and Canadian travelers can have different tour guides for each city they visit, Americans cannot hire several guides through their trip to Iran. Therefore, only one tour guide who is specially authorized to guide US tourists in Iran must accompany US travelers. Maybe you could find a way not to hire a tour guide or join an organized tour to Iran, but we do not recommend it.

Traveling to Iran with a tour group will give you the opportunity to see more cultural and natural attractions based on a perfect itinerary. It also gives you the chance to be in touch with a local guide who gives you a better understanding of Iranians’ culture and lifestyle

Tips for getting an Iranian visa as an American, British or Canadian tourist

  • Apply for an Iran visa in advance 60-90 days before departure.
  • Note that the US, UK, and Canadian tourists are ineligible to get an Iran visa on arrival. 
  • Collect your Iran visa from Iran’s interest section at the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC or the Permanent Mission of IRI in New York, if you are American or Canadian.
  • Check what exact documents the embassy/consulate you have determined in your visa application form requires for issuing your visa.
  • Book an organized licensed tour before applying for an Iran visa.
  • Do not travel to Iran without hiring an authorized tour guide.
  • Note that you cannot travel to Iran independently. You should travel based on a detailed itinerary determined by your travel agency. 

Now you know how to get an Iran visa as a US, UK or Canadian citizen. Then, all you need to do is to book your guided tour to Iran, get your tourist visa, and travel to Iran to experience a journey of a lifetime. If you still have questions on getting Iran tourist visa, Iran visa FAQs will help you.

Best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran

Iran has the greatest ski resorts and untapped off-piste skiing areas most of the avid skiers and snowboarders have never heard of. It has pistes higher than the top ski resorts in the world and it boasts long ski season starting from November and ending in June. There are more than 20 ski resorts in Iran. Surprisingly, the best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas are near Tehran, the vivid capital of Iran. Dizin, Shemshak, Darbandsar, Tochal, Khor, and Abali are the top ski resorts within a day’s drive of Tehran. These high altitude ski resorts are all nestled in the Alborz Mountains and they have a picturesque view of Mt. Damavand-as the highest peak (5620 M) in the Middle East and one of the most thrilling freeride skiing and snowboarding destinations in the world.

Though the ski resorts try to keep up the demand by adding hotels, chalets, restaurants, and après-ski entertainment, the snow quality is what matters for the skiers and snowboarders. The resorts offer easy areas with groomed terrains as well as fresh backcountry opportunities perfect for freeriding. Moreover, the challenging backcountry terrains, excelled snow conditions, long ski season, cheap accommodation, and satisfactory lift access put the top ski resorts near Tehran on passionate skiers and snowboarders’ bucket list. Here, we will introduce you the best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran so that you could confidently choose Iran as your next ski destination, get your Iran travel visa, and enjoy a memorable ski holiday in Iran as one of the friendliest countries in the world.

Dizin International ski resort

Dizin international ski resort is the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran and it is famous as a round-year destination for outdoor recreation activities. Dizin ski resort is nestled in the Alborz Mountains at an elevation of 2650m and it boasts long ski season starting from late November and ending in early May. It offers up to 18 kilometers of slopes perfect for one-day skiing near Tehran. Dizin resort has green, blue, black and double black diamond runs that satisfy skiers and snowboarders with different ski levels.

Best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran - Dizin

Dizin ski resort – Tehran (Photo by Alisamii [CC BY-SA 2.0])

Dizin complex has several gondolas and chairlifts; the highest lift reaches an altitude of 3600m that is much higher than many other ski lifts in Europe or North America. As a great winter-summer resort, Dizin offers various sports activities such as grass-skiing, tennis playing, mountain climbing, hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking. Dizin is also a great resort for backcountry skiing in Iran. Since locals stick to the marked slopes, plenty of fresh tracks are left for avid freeriders searching for untapped steep slopes and deep powder snow. It also boasts a vertical drop of 850m; however, it is highly recommended that you go off-piste skiing with experienced ski guides.

Dizin ski resort is an ideal place for single day skiing, but if you prefer to spend more time at the resort, you will have some good ski accommodation choices there. Dizin hotel as a ski-in-ski-out hotel is a perfect choice to spend a night in the heart of mountains and enjoy the picturesque peaks of Alborz. Dizin chalets are also great for those who prefer to ski on a budget.

To get to Dizin ski resort from Tehran, you should take a ride through the Chalus route or Shemshak route. The best way for you as a tourist is to take a taxi from Tajrish square in Tehran and reach Dizin ski resort in 2 hours. Do not forget to check the weather before planning a single day trip to Dizin or booking a ski tour.

Darbandsar international ski resort

Darbandsar international ski resort is a private ski resort sitting on the slopes of Mount Seechal 60 km northeast of Tehran. Darbandsar ski resort offers trails for beginners, intermediate skiers, and advanced skiers and snowboarders from early December until late April or early May. It will also let you enjoy summer skiing in July when the other ski resorts offer summer activities such as grass skiing or tennis playing. After Dizin, Darbandsar is the largest ski resort in Iran. The lowest piste in Darbandsar has an altitude of 2650m and the highest one has an altitude of 3150m.

Darbandsar is also the most challenging ski resort in Iran after Shemshak. It offers plenty of untouched powder perfect for opp-piste skiing and it is possible to ski from Dizin to Darbandsar without losing time in lift queues.

Best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran - Darbandsar

Darbandsar Ski Resort – TEHRAN (Photo by Mohsen Rajabi)

Though Darbandsar ski resort is an ideal destination for one day skiing, you can rent suites or book hotels in Darbansar village and spend a night there instead of heading back to Tehran. You can also book hotels in Shemshak or Dizin ski resort, as the three ski resorts are very close to each other. In order to get to Darbandsar, you need to have a road trip lasting for one hour and a half. When you reach there, you have the chance to experience other sports activities such as hiking, mountain biking, ice climbing, alpine scrambling, and rock climbing as well.

Shemshak international ski resort

Shemshak international ski resort is one of the best mogul ski resorts in Iran located in the heart of Alborz Mountains. As the most challenging ski resort in Iran, Shemshak ski resort offers the steepest slopes and it boasts bumpy mogul runs and spine-tingling slopes tackling for avid snowboarders and skiers. Cross-country opportunities, thrilling mogul runs, and good powder have made Shemshak ski resort an ideal place for skiing and snowboarding from November to April.

Best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran - Shemshak

Shemshak Ski Resort, Tehran (Source: Tasnimnews)

Shemshak ski resort has double and triple black diamond runs at high altitudes of 2500m to 3000m and that is the reason why Shemshak is a perfect place for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Shemshak ski resort is equipped with good lighting so that passionate skiers and snowboarders could enjoy night skiing as well. Shemshak resort is also a great place for one single day skiing, but if you prefer to spend a night in a mountainous area, ski accommodation is also provided for you.  Shemshak Barin hotel as one of the coolest ski resorts in the world is a luxury ski hotel that makes memorable accommodation for you and gives you the chance to enjoy the scenic scenery of Alborz Mountains.

If you prefer to ski on a budget, Shemshak tourist hotel as the nearest hotel to the ski fields is a good ski-in/ski-out hotel for you. Shemshak ski resort is one of the best ski resorts for a weekend ski holiday and it just takes a 90-minute ride to get there from Tehran.

Tochal international ski resort and complex

Tochal international ski resort is one of the 10 highest ski resorts in the world. It is located right in Tehran, the vivid capital of Iran. Its high slopes start from the foot of Tochal peak at an altitude of 3850m and end at an altitude of 3550m near Tochal Hotel as a wonderful ski-in-ski-out hotel where you can enjoy the extraordinary panorama of the Alborz Mountains. Tochal resort boasts long ski season beginning from November and ending in June. It also has 6km of slopes suitable for skiing and snowboarding. Tochal ski resort is a perfect choice for on-piste and off-piste skiing eight months of the year.

Best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran - Tochal

Tochal Ski Resort, Iran – Tehran (Photo By Aida Daneshmand)

The skiing area is accessed by Tochal gondola lift that is based at an altitude of 1900m and reaches the last station at an altitude of 3740m. Therefore, experienced skiers and snowboarders have the chance to take a 50-minute gondola ride to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a perfect winter day at Tochal ski resort. As one of the nearest high ski resorts to the capital, Tochal ski resort and complex is a great place for skiing, snowboarding, and acclimatization before skiing in Damavand Mountain. It is not confined to winter sports and there are many other activities to enjoy at Tochal complex.  Tennis courts, skate rinks, paintball arenas, ski school, shooting club, summer sled, fitness clubs, and zipline are the facilities provided for your leisure time at Tochal complex.

Though you will not find beers or wines in Iran, you still can enjoy après-ski culture there. There are many cafes, restaurants, and fast foods at the Tochal complex to warm you up with different après-ski foods and drinks.

Tochal ski resort is very popular with ski day trips as it is the highest ski resort in Iran and the most easily accessed ski resort in Tehran. It takes just 15 minutes to take a taxi from Tajrish square and get to the Tochal ski resort and complex.

Khor ski resort 

Khor ski resort is close to Khor village and it is located 65km northwest of Tehran. The ski resort sits at an elevation of 3000m and it offers two ski routes with a length of 1850m and 350m. The ski season at Khor resort runs from mid-January until March; therefore, skiers and snowboarders could enjoy planning a short ski break near Tehran. High slopes of Khor ski resort provide a picturesque view of the mountains. If you do not have ski equipment, you can rent skiing and snowboarding gear at Khor ski resort. If you prefer to spend a night in the mountains, you can rent a three-bedroom villa at the resort; however, you can head back to Tehran and book one of the budget-friendly hotels or hostels there around.

Best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran - Khor

Khor ski resort, Tehran (Source: khor-ski.com)

In order to get to the Khor ski resort, you should go through Karaj-Chalus road as one of the most spectacular roads in the world. It is a short drive away and it makes a memorable ski holiday for you.

Abali ski resort

Abali ski resort is the oldest ski resort in Iran, built in 1953. In fact, Abali ski resort has been the birthplace of the ski as a winter sport in Iran. The first mechanical lifts in Iran were installed in Abali ski resort.  The lowest piste at Abali is located at an altitude of 2,400m while the highest piste has an altitude of 2650m. The slopes of Abali are good for beginner skiers, snowboarders, and Alpine skiers. It also has a ski school with experienced coaches who teach skiing to newcomers. Though snowboarding, off-piste skiing, and ski mountaineering are the popular winter activities in Abali, many Iranians get there to have a great winter picnic in the snow.

The ski season in Abali starts in December and ends in March. There are no hotels or chalets in Abali ski resort; then it is better to head back to Tehran or rent suites in the beautiful village of Mosha that is a 5-minute drive away from Abali ski resort. Horse riding, hiking, trekking, and tennis playing are the summer activities at Abali resort. Usually, people spend weekends there to enjoy the good weather, eat delicious foods in its many traditional restaurants, and have its popular drink called Dough-e-Abali as a famous carbonated yogurt drink in Iran.

Best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran - Abali

Abali ski resort, Tehran (Source: Mehdi [CC BY-SA 3.0])

Abali ski resort is located 75 km far from Tehran and it takes about an 80-minute drive to go to Abali ski resort through Haraz road. However, note that Haraz road is over-crowded on weekends and it might take much longer to get there. Abali ski resort is also the nearest ski resort to Damavand.

If you wish to skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran as a cheap ski destination, you can have a great winter holiday skiing at the highest ski resorts in Iran. Dizin, Shemshak, and Darbandsar are the three neighboring ski resorts near Tehran. They offer steep slopes challenging enough for those looking for adrenaline ski experience. Chair lifts and gondolas provide access to the high altitude slopes and new lifts might eventually link the neighboring resorts and turn them into one of the best ski destinations in the world. Tochal ski resort as one of the top 10 highest ski resorts in the world has a lot to amaze ski lovers. Abali ski resort as the oldest ski resort in Iran attracts many locals to enjoy their vacation and Khor ski resort located in the winding Chalus road is a great weekend ski resort near Tehran.

Khor ski resort is great for a weekend ski holiday near Tehran

Khor ski resort is one of the best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran, the vivid capital of Iran. The resort is close to Khor village and it is located 65km northwest of Tehran. The ski area is located at an altitude of 3000m. There are two ski routes with a length of 1850m and 350m to enjoy a perfect ski day in the scenic Alborz Mountains. Khor ski resort has enough capacity to welcome 1300 skiers and snowboarders per day. Khor resort has been established in 1973; today it is one of the winter tourist attractions near the capital of Iran. Read this article to find more about the Khor ski resort that is great for a weekend ski holiday near Tehran.


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Khor ski resort services and facilities

Contrary to Dizin or Tochal ski resort, Khor ski resort does not have many facilities, but it offers satisfactory services to its visitors. A ski lift, a ski school, a restaurant, a café, a parking lot, and a place for accommodation are the facilities provided at Khor ski resort. You can also have delicious foods or hot beverages after hitting the high slopes at Khor ski resort.

For your accommodation, there is no ski-in/ski-out hotel or cheap chalets. There is just a villa with enough rooms for eight persons per night. If you prefer to ski on a budget, it is better to go back to Tehran and stay at one of the affordable hotels or hostels there.

Khor ski resort a great weekend ski holiday near Tehran

Khor ski resort is one of the best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran

Khor ski resort elevation

Khor ski resort sits at an elevation of 3000m. The ski area has a length of 200m beginning at an elevation of 3000m and ending at an elevation of 2800m. A ski lift makes it possible to find access to the high slopes and enjoy skiing. You can also enjoy vertical drops of 200m at the resort. High slopes of Khor ski resort provide a picturesque view of the Alborz Mountains.

Ski season at Khor ski resort

Tochal, Dizin, Darbandsar, and Shemshak ski resorts are the highest ski resorts near Tehran and due to their high altitude, the ski season lasts longer. However, the best time to go skiing at Khor ski resort is a bit different. Khor ski season typically runs from mid-January until March. Therefore, the safest time to plan for a ski vacation in Iran is in January and March when all the ski resorts are open to the avid skier and snowboarders. In winter, it gets cold, but it rarely hits very low temperatures that might bother winter-sport lovers.

Khor ski resort a great weekend ski holiday near Tehran

Enjoy a perfect ski day in Khor ski resort

Ski rental at Khor ski resort

Since it is hard to find the latest skiing and snowboarding equipment at Khor ski resort, it is better to bring yours along. Anyhow, you can rent ski gear at Khor ski resort if you do not have ski and snowboard equipment.

Ski accommodation at Khor ski resort

Though you have a variety of choices for accommodation at Dizin and Shemshak ski resorts, Khor ski resort offers you only a three-bedroom villa. The villa has enough capacity for eight people and it is equipped with convenient facilities. Khor ski resort is perfect for a one-day ski trip; therefore, it is a good idea to enjoy an adventurous day at the resort; and then to head back to Tehran and stay at one of the many budget-friendly hotels or hostels available all around the city.

Other activities at khor ski resort

One of the most beloved winter activities at Khor ski resort is snow tubing. Snow tubing is simply a fun activity that requires no skills, but you need to bear in mind that it is not in agreement with safety standards and it might cause injuries. Khor waterfall as a natural attraction is also located in a short distance from the ski resort; therefore, it is a good chance to enjoy ice climbing or visit enthusiastic ice climbers there. In spring, the weather is so pleasant that one would love strolling around the ski resort, listening to the roaring rivers, and watching the green gardens replete with fruits and flowers. Khor ski resort is not as high as Tochal ski resort or as challenging as Dizin, Shemshak, and Darbandsar ski resorts, but there are many entertaining activities to attract visitors especially locals in all four seasons.

Khor ski resort a great weekend ski holiday near Tehran

ski on a budget and have a memorable ski trip

How to get to Khor ski resort?

Khor ski resort is approximately 23km far from Karaj and 65km far from Tehran and you need to go through Karaj-Chalus road to get to the resort.  Driving from Karaj to Khor ski resort takes you through Chalus road as one of the world’s most spectacular roads. Then, you will have a great time visiting the beauty of the Alborz mountain landscapes before arriving at Khor ski resort.

Khor ski resort a great weekend ski holiday near Tehran

Khor ski resort is great for a weekend ski holiday

As a cheap ski destination, Iran offers high-altitude ski resorts rivaling that of the Alps and the Rockies. In order to ski on a budget and make a memorable ski trip, skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran. Surprisingly, the top 6 ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas in Iran are close to Tehran, the capital of Iran. Tochal, Dizin, Shemshak, Darbandsar, Khor, and Abali ski resorts as the best ski areas near Tehran have different runs suitable for alpine, cross country, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

If you quest for the highest ski resort in Iran, Tochal ski resort will welcome you. If you are seeking for adrenaline, Dizin ski resort and Darbandsar ski resort will satisfy you. If you wish to find one of the best mogul ski resorts in Iran, Shmeshak ski resort will host you, and if you just want to go skiing for a day, Khor ski resort will be the right ski resort for you. To have a great ski vacation in Iran, all you need to do is to apply for your tourist visa and enjoy your unforgettable travel to Iran.

Location map for Khor ski resort

From: Azadi Square, Tehran

To: Khor Ski Resort, Alborz

Photo Source (khor-ski.com)

Is Iran safe to travel?

All guides and tips you need to know about safety in Iran:

Is it safe to travel to Iran? How safe is Iran for western tourists? Is Iran safe for solo travelers? Is it safe to visit Iran at all? These are some of the many questions that occupy your mind before traveling to Iran. Then, it makes sense to ask about safety in Iran before getting an Iran visa , dreaming of meeting its friendly people, visiting its UNESCO sites, hiking across its vast deserts, skiing at its best ski resorts, climbing its high mountains or exploring its deepest caves and canyons. Here, you will find all the guides and tips you need to know about safety in Iran. Read the article, get all your questions answered, and then pack your back for going on a wonderful trip to Iran as one of the friendliest countries in the world.


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Is Iran safe to travel?

The short answer is definitely yes! Iran is safe and Lonely Planet describes it in the best way possible, “Iran is generally a very safe place to travel, so much so that many travellers describe it as the safest country I’ve ever been to, or much safer than traveling in Europe.”

It is a must to feel safe when visiting historical sites of Pasargadae and Persepolis, strolling along fragrant Persian gardens or wandering around Iran’s crowded bazaars.

Is Iran safe to travel?

Milad Tower, Tehran – Iran

Is it safe to visit Iran?

Iran is a safe country to visit, better to say one of the safest countries in the Middle East. What you probably know about safety in Iran refers to what the mass media depicts as the real Iran.
It is time to challenge your preconceptions and your pre-trip mindset about Iran. Iranians are neither terrorists nor anti-tourist persons. Iran is safe for tourists and travelers if they take normal travel precautions. As a traveler, you will receive the warmest of welcomes in Iran, provided you respect local customs, traditional values, and dress code. Therefore, tourists with different religions and beliefs can travel to Iran, have fun, and feel its friendly atmosphere. Michael shares his Iran travel experience as he says, “Iranians are not only some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, but most people don’t realize that they are also some of the most highly educated.”

Is Iran safe for US citizens, British citizens, and Canadian citizens?

US citizens, British citizens, and Canadian citizens can safely travel to Iran as tourists. Though the political issues between the Iranian government and the governments of the above-mentioned countries have affected tourism and brought about some complexity, it does not mean that you cannot travel to Iran and enjoy your journey as a US, UK or Canadian tourist.  If you wish to have a trip to Iran, all you need to do is to book your guided Iran tour, and then get your Iran visa as a US, UK or Canadian citizen. To avoid making sensitivity, do not make any public political statements. Instead, find out the truth that political problems between the governments have nothing to do with Iranians’ hospitality toward travelers. Iranians mostly have the warmest feelings for western tourists. Therefore, it is not odd if they invite you to their homes for having dinner or lunch together and exchanging attitudes toward various issues.

Is Iran safe for women travelers?

Iran is safe for women travelers or better to say for solo female travelers. When it comes to traveling alone, safety gets much more important. Some women travelers believe that Iran is the best option in the Middle East for a woman to travel alone; however, as a woman, you need to take more precautions and know some issues before beginning your journey to Iran.

Is Iran safe to travel?

A woman trekking in beautiful Deilamdeh, Iran

In Iran’s most popular cities for tourists such as Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Yazd where one can visit UNESCO heritage sites as well as other cultural or natural attractions, you will see many solo female travelers around and there is no reason to worry about safety. One important issue to consider is the outfit. Women in Iran should wear a long tunic over their regular clothes and are obliged to cover their heads with a scarf. A suitable outfit for women differs from one city to another or even from one district in a city to another district in the same city. In some cities, you can wear colorful tunics while in some conservative cities or villages, it is better to avoid wearing tight and revealing clothes to switch the attention of the surroundings from your appearance. Iranian women know what outfits are suitable for different places not to get harassed; however, as foreigners, you do not have enough time to explore every corner of Iran to discover what to wear. Therefore, our advice to you is to wear long and loose tunics.

Another issue to consider is that public displays of affection between men and women are not allowed in Iran and it is good for you to feel safer. Local people do not tolerate it if you receive inappropriate contact or experience harassment. They would soon react and do their best to help you if you inform them of the problem.

Public transportation within cities is also completely safe for women. Subways have cars at both ends dedicated to women; moreover, men and women are supposed to sit separately on buses. Usually, men are supposed to sit in the front of the bus and women at the back of the bus or vice versa. Moreover, for traveling from one city to another one, a man is not allowed to sit by a woman unless she is willing to. Fortunately, the number of caring men is considerably more than the number of men who are sexually ill; however, the transportation system in Iran pays more attention to women’s safety and comfort.

Is Iran safe to travel? guides and tips about safety in Iran

A traditional bazaar in Qazvin, Iran

In crowded places such as bazaars-unfortunately like anywhere else in the world-, you might experience groping. Then, be more cautious and ask the locals or the police to intervene if you could not manage the situation.

Avoid traveling alone to abandoned places or far villages. Though there are many Iranian women and foreign solo female travelers who have travelled through Iran and have described Iran as one of the safest destinations for women, we prefer to inform you of all possible dangerous situations.

Is crime a serious issue in Iran?

The reality is that crime is everywhere, even in countries that host millions of tourists annually. Iran is not an exception either. However, the good news about Iran is that committing a crime against tourists is rare there and doing anything wrong against them is frowned upon.

According to Lonely Planet, “Violent crime against foreigners is extremely rare and, indeed, if you do your best to fit in with local customs, you are unlikely to be treated with anything but courtesy and friendliness – that applies to Americans, too.”

Is Iran safe to travel? guides and tips about safety in Iran

The vivid bazaar of Masuleh village, Iran

Therefore, if you take the normal precautions, you can safely wander around city attractions, hitchhike across deserts, trek through forests, stay in the homes of strangers, and make the most out of your Iran journey.

In crowded areas such as subway stations or bazaars, keep your valuables in your inside zipper pocket to avoid getting pickpocketed. Though hotels are quite safe in Iran, lock your bags not to worry about anything. Our advice to you is to protect your belongings especially your passport, cellphone, tablet, laptop, camera, and wallet or purse and keep them with you at all times.

Is it safe to travel within the borders of Iran?

The fact is that Iran is a vast country and safety varies from one city to another or even from one district to another district. Generally, it is safe to travel to the majority of cities and villages of Iran without confronting any difficulty. Anyhow, most of the government travel advisory services would advise against traveling within the areas close to the borders between Iran and Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, and so forth. It makes sense to be more cautious about traveling in such areas; however, it is safe to travel within the borders of Iran under some circumstances.

For instance, the province of Sistan and Baluchestan has some of the most astonishing attractions and, more significantly, some of the friendliest people on the earth. You will regret it if you miss the chance to visit such an amazing province in Iran just because it is located close to the borders between Iran and Pakistan. Many Iranians travel to this wonderland and enjoy its amazing attractions. Since you are not well-informed about safety within Sistan and Baluchestan, it is better to avoid traveling alone. Instead, ask reliable tour operators or local tour guides to accompany you and show you the hidden beauties such as Darak beaches, mud volcano, and Tang port in the heart of this wonderful place. For me, traveling to Chabahar was the most amazing travel experience I have ever had in Iran. It is a big miss not to explore this great part of Iran, while it might be the best piece of your Iran travel puzzle.

Is Iran safe to travel?

Beris, a piece of paradise in Chabahar, Iran

Do Iranian police and security forces harass the tourists?

You will find uniformed police everywhere especially in cities such as Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan, and Mashhad. They could be helpful to you as tourism police to make sure you have a safe journey in Iran. Michael says, “no one watched me while I was there, including my guide. I didn’t have anything but positive interactions with police officers (who were always helpful when I asked for directions).” Iranian Police and Security Forces will not harass tourists unless they find them doing something wrong.

Is it safe to travel to Iran with kids and Family?

The answer is yes!
Iran is safe to travel with kids and families. Iran is not a challenging country to travel with children. High hygiene standards, excellent public transport, delicious foods, amazing parks and playgrounds, and more importantly welcoming Iranians make it quite possible to travel to Iran with kids and families.

It might be interesting to know that Iran is very family-oriented. Iranians give high value to their families and it is quite casual to see Iranian families gathering together at the weekends in the parks or at each other’s homes to spend time together, play together, have fun together, and more enjoyably share lunch or dinner together. The fact that Iranians go on the picnic with their kids and families indicates that Iran is a safe country and there is no reason to avoid traveling with kids.

Is Iran safe to travel? guides and tips about safety in Iran

Travel to Iran with kids and families

Kidnapping is not a concerning issue; however, our serious advice is to take care of your kids. Keep an eye on your kids and ask them to stay close to you especially in crowded places such as bazaars or amusement parks. It is even better to hold your child’s hand. Traveling to Iran with children may turn into a great and unforgettable memory for you and your cute kids just as it did for Thomas and Anna.

Is it safe to drive on Iran roads?

To be honest with you, driving on the roads of Iran or crossing the street could be a real problem for tourists and travelers. People usually do not obey driving rules and they pay less attention to the traffic lights. Iranians’ driving is unpredictable on roads; however, traffic rules and regulations have got stricter over recent years to decrease the dangers of driving on roads or crossing streets. If you want to cross the street, wait until the traffic light turns red and the pedestrian light turns green. Keep an eye on the motorbikes because they are careless about traffic lights and they might bring about the difficulty for you when crossing the street.  Moreover, when crossing the street, watch the opposite direction as well. Some motorbikes might drive in the opposite direction of the street. If your taxi driver drives fast and does not pay attention to the rules, ask him/her to slow down. The police control bus drivers regularly; therefore, you will feel more comfortable if you travel by bus. Then, we recommend that you not drive on the roads of Iran. Instead, leave it to someone who knows Iran roads well.

What are the wrong things that attract the police’s attention in Iran?

Photographing the wrong thing or the forbidden place:

Taking photos is forbidden at some places such as embassies of foreign countries, some military buildings, and some governmental buildings. Usually, there are banners or signs to inform you of this issue. Then, avoid taking photos at these places. If you took a photo of something wrong and the police noticed you, let them know you are a tourist and did not know you cannot take a photo, and then delete the photo and avoid arguing in these situations.

On roads, the police take part in drug trafficking control. Therefore, it is normal to see them stop cars and buses, especially near borders to do their job. Carrying or drinking alcohol is also banned in Iran and it is an issue to keep in mind during your travel.

Is Iran safe to travel? guides and tips about safety in Iran

Enjoy hiking in Darakeh, Tehran-Iran

Moreover, you are supposed to carry your passport at all times. Since hotels keep the passengers’ passports for police inspection, you need to have some copies of your passport and visa not to get in trouble. Then, be aware of the rules and regulations in Iran and behave according to them to fully enjoy your travel.

Is Iran safe?

You are the one to determine how safe you will be in Iran as everywhere else in the world. If you respect Iranians’ culture and customs and take the above-mentioned precautions, you will have a fantastic travel experience and, more significantly, you will see your preconceptions disappear. Anthony Bourdain traveled to Iran in 2014. According to him, “the Iran you see from the inside, once you walk the streets of Tehran, once you meet Iranians, is a very different place than the Iran you know from the news.”