Iran is a beautiful country and has so many things to offer. Before travel to Iran make sure to check out our Iran travel guide to learn more about things to do in Iran; culture, events, cuisine, conferences, exhibitions and etc. This complete Iran travel guide has everything you need when you travel to one of the friendliest countries in the world.

Iran's currency

Iran’s currency guides for tourists

Iran’s currency can be confusing for foreigners. First of all, Iran’s currency is the Rial. It is recommended that you carry Dollar to Iran. You can exchange your dollars to Rial but you may not need to do that. Because Iran is not connected to the western banking system, your first choice is to bring cash with you. But don’t worry there are some other ways to spend money in Iran without any trouble. In this article, we are going to talk about Iran’s currency.

Iran's currency

10.000 Rial / 1.000 Toman

Credit Card

As we said, Iran is not connected to western banks so you cannot use your credit cards here. There are plenty of ATM’s and banks but you cannot withdraw cash with your credit card because there is no connection between Iran banks and foreign banks. Therefore, one way is to bring all your travel money with you on your arrival in Iran. So, you need to calculate how much to bring first. Another way is using Mah Card. recently, some hotels have been adding Master Cards to their payment system.

Mah Card

Mah Card is an Iranian prepaid credit card designed by Mah Card Startup for tourists and foreigners. You can add your funds to this card, from any currency you want and convert it to Iranian Rial. Mah Card is first to provide card services to tourists in Iran. Helping tourists to access electronic payments in Iran.

Shetab is the Iranian digital and electronic payment system. You can use Mah Card anywhere that accepts Shetab Cards. Nowadays almost all hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, entertainment venues, e-commerce websites, and some taxis, accept Shetab Cards. ATMs are very common in Iran and are found everywhere on the streets.

Mah Card Website: https://www.mahcard.com/

Money Exchange

The exchange rate for converting USD or Euro to Rial is volatile. So, at the time you want to travel to Iran search for the “Iranian Rial exchange rate” and visit converting websites for today’s rate.

Money converting in Iran is not that hard. Look for any sign saying “Currency” or “Exchange”. For example, if you are in Esfahan, in Ostandari Street there are numbers of money exchangers on the streets. There are some currency converting offices on that street too and it is recommended that you visit those offices instead of money changers on the street. Google search “money exchange office address in …”. fill in the blank with the name of the city you are at.

Banks for Money Exchange

Banks can exchange foreign currency up to 2000 USD or it’s equivalent to other major currencies for each passport holder and each companion of the passport holder or up to 2000 Euro for the same purpose per transaction.

List of these Banks: Melli Bank, Mellat Bank, Saderat Bank, Sepah Bank, and Tejarat Bank.

Iran's currency
Central Bank of Iran

Rial or Toman?

Here our story gets a little confusing. Rial is Iran’s currency. But what is Toman? Toman, in general, has 1 Zero less than Rial. Iranians use Toman. It is not an official currency but prices and costs are all indicated in Tomans unless told otherwise. But you can’t exchange your money to it because Toman is not coins or banknotes, it is just a name and a way for money. Confused? Well, it is what it is.

Money Loss

If you ran out of money or were robbed or lost your money, you have to seek Melli Bank with your passport and visa and call a friend or family in your country to make a money transfer to that particular branch of Melli Bank using Swift code, your full name and passport details. Melli Bank has branches in London, Hong Kong, Paris, Moscow, Dubai, Hamburg, Baghdad, Muscat, Baku, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Kabul, Bahrain, Ras-Al-Khaimah and Sharjah. Many European, Indian and Japanese banks provide service to Iranian banks including Melli Bank.

How Much Money for Travelling to Iran?

Average Daily Cost (per person): 2.000.000 Rial

Average Cost for One Week (per person): 14.000.000 Rial

Average Cost for One Month (per person): 60.000.000 Rial

Average Cost for One Week (for a couple): 28.000.000 Rial

Average Cost for One Month (for a couple): 120.000.000 Rial

Typical Hotel or Hostel Cost for One Person (per night): 1.500.000 Rial

Typical Hotel or Hostel Cost for a Couple (per night): 3.000.000 Rial

Average Meals Cost for One Day: 1.000.000 Rial

One Bottled Water Cost: 15.000 Rial

Average Taxis, Local Buses and Subways cost (per day): 300.000 Rial

Entrance Tickets for Monuments, Shows Cost: 1.000.000 Rial

Tips and Handouts for Tour Guides or Service Providers: 1.000.000 Rial

Average Cost of Bus Travelling Between Cities: 400.000 Rial

You may find cheaper or more expensive costs so Average costs for one day, one week and one month is not stable.

Banknotes

Rial banknotes come in 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and the 100,000 Rial note, which is too small for substantial purchases.

In recent years a useful method also has been adopted which reduces needs to carry lots of Rial in your pocket. It is called “check pul” and works like a traveler’s check but doesn’t have a name written on it. The most common denominations of chek puls are 500000 and 1000000 Rials.

Iran Visa for Special Nationalities

Iran Visa for Special Nationalities

In an article called How to get a visa for Iran, we talked about the process which you can obtain your Iran Visa and mentioned that for most countries you can have a Visa on Arrival (VOA) and in other cases, you have to get your Iran visa before you travel to Iran. In this article we are going to talk about those other cases and if you need further information read the article mentioned above. By the way, to consider tourist’s concerns, the Iran government won’t stamp on foreigners’ passports so don’t worry about sanctions. Here’s how to get an Iran Visa for Special Nationalities.

Which Countries are Special?

Due to political reasons, these countries nationals cannot obtain a visa on arrival and need to go through a different process:

United States of America, England, Canada, India, Columbia, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka.

Iran Visa for Special Nationalities
Indian people can’t get Iran visa on arrival

In General, What Should I Do?

In general, Canadian, British and American (USA) people can only get a tourist visa if they travel with tours. In addition to that, they must have their tour leader with them the whole time and their tour leader has to be verified by Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Iran Immigrant and Passport Police.

Nationals of Canada, England and the United States of America need to have a complete and detailed traveling plan explaining the exact time of arrival and exit, where they’re staying, landmarks and places they want to visit and selected routes for traveling.

These 3 countries added to those mentioned above have to visit Iran Embassy in their countries in order to get a visa. They can also contact a travel agency that can get their visa process started. Consider that there are just a few agencies that can obtain your visa for you. So, do your research first and be sure of your decision.

Is it Safe for Special Nationalities?

Iran is Absolutely safe. From cities and villages to deserts and jungles, north to south, west to east, I can confirm that you are in no danger by people nor the government and if you follow the laws of visa there will be no problem.

Cost:

This depends on what nationality you are but there are two different prices you have to pay.

  • Iran Visa Services Cost (commonly received by your travel agency)
  • Cost of sticker or stamp on the visa

To make sure of how much the cost is, contact your travel agency.

Time Validation for Iran Visa:

In a special nationality situation, Iran Visa is valid for two weeks (14 days) and you can stay in Iran for 14 days. But if you want to extend your stay you need to submit an extension request to Iran Immigrant and Passport Police at the city you’re staying. Their offices are found on Google Maps or you can ask your travel agency for help.

 

How Long till My Visa is Issued?

Embassy says that it takes 2 to 3 months before your flight to issue a visa for special nationalities. The reason that it takes too long is that every document needs to be checked precisely before publishing your visa. So, collect your documents carefully and be patient. It’s worth the wait.

 

Required Documents:

These documents are official so read them carefully and collect the exact documents. This the most important part.

  • Passport: A passport with a 6-month validity. You need to make a colored, digital and hard copy of all your passport pages.
  • Photo: Official and colored photo to be attached to your visa. Something like your passport photo. Your face must not be covered in a long beard, no hat and no covering your face with a mask.
  • CV: For security reasons, you need to write a resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV). Short CVs are not acceptable.
  • Travel Plan: You need a fully detailed drafted travel plan with the exact arrival and exit time, locations and specifications of where you’re staying, landmarks and places you want to visit and selected routes for traveling. Make sure to leave no details behind.
  • Hotel Reservation Voucher: As a form of a ‘receipt’ the traveler can then claim the service he paid for the reserved hotel.
  • Tour Leader ID Card: Some tour leaders are verified by Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iranian Police and some other officials. Iran Government only accepts those leaders to guide your travel and they must be with you the whole time. Their ID card and letter of recommendation (published by travel agencies) must be submitted when applying for a visa.
  • Translated CV and Travel Plan: You need a translation of your CV and Travel Plan into both English and Persian. Travel agencies will do the translations for you.
  • Personal Information Form: This form is downloadable via the Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. Also travel agencies can get you this form for you to fill out. The second way is recommended. You will write about personal and basic information of yourself in this form.
Iran Visa for Special Nationalities
Iran visa for foreign people

Your Passport Won’t be Stamped in Iran:

In 2015, US Visa Waiver Program (WPM), has issued a new limitation imposed on the citizen of some countries (mostly European countries) who have previously traveled to Iran that those travelers can’t visit the US anymore or they must go through a clarification in order to go back to the US.

To counter this sanction, in 2018, Iran updated its visa policy and started a new stamp-free policy to encourage more foreign visitors to enter Iran. In this new policy, Iran tourists will no longer have an Iranian visa attached to their passport or an arrival or exit stamp on their passport.

So, because there will be no arrival and departure stamp on your passport. you just need to deliver the visa to the officer at the immigration section of the airport at your departure time from Iran.

Therefore, you can come to Iran, visit any place you want and if you are worried about sanctions, your passport will not be stamped. Enjoy your stay and don’t worry!

Contact Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Website: https://en.mfa.ir

Phone: 61151

Public Relations: 66739191

FAX: 61154275

Zip Code: 1136914811

Email: info@mfa.gov.ir

Address: Iran, Tehran, Imam Khomeini Street, Imam Khomeini Square

Office Hours: Saturday to Wednesday (8 till 15)

Dress Code in Exhibitions

You may be in Iran and want to visit exhibitions or art galleries, but don’t know the dress code for such occasions. In this article, I’m going to walk you through this. First I’ll be talking about essentials and hijab, then fashion pieces of advice for women with hijab and then dress codes in exhibitions. By the end, you will know everything about how to dress in Iran and what to pack.

Essentials

You need to pack some essentials to wear for your trip to Iran. Ladies remember that when your airplane lands in Iran, the crew will give you scarves to cover your hair but you need to pack these kinds of stuff too:

  • Underwear and bras. This is optional but advised for Iran.
  • A pair of leggings, jeans or any kind of pants. Sometimes long skirts that cover your ankles work too
  • A shirt or coat or tunic or cardigan that cover your breasts, arms, and stomach

Guys should pack these:

  • Jeans or any kind of pants that cover your ankles
  • Shirts or coats

Hijab

Hijab is for both men and women. For men as long as they cover their legs and upper body they’re ok.

On the other hand, women have to cover their hair, upper body, and legs.

Iran follows Islamic rules and every tourist must have hijab. But don’t worry, the dress code in Iran is more casual than you think.

To summarize it (for both male and female):

  • Hair: Your hair must be covered all the time (Females). But don’t panic if you cover falls of your hair. Just fix it.
  • Legs: Your legs must be covered down to the ankle
  • Arms: Your forearms can be uncovered but cover the shoulders, breasts, and top of arms
  • Feet: Feet can be uncovered

Also if ladies want to wear Iranian hijab dresses you can buy Mantow, Chador and local costumes from clothing stores of Iran.

Fashion tips with Hijab (Females)

  • First of all, dress colorfully. If on some websites you read that you must wear black in Iran, they’re wrong. There’s absolutely no limit on wearing colors. Maybe you like to wear dark and that’s ok too. But if you wear colorful in your country, you can do that in Iran too.
  • Tight jeans are ok. You can wear loose pants or tight jeans. Whichever makes you more comfortable.
  • One other trick to be good looking whilst wearing hijab is to wear long-sleeved tunics or long-sleeved shirts especially if you are traveling in summer. You can wear them with loose pants or tight jeans and either way you will look wonderful.
  • Manteau is a piece of hijab dress made in Iran for covering the upper body and parts of the lower body. They are made in a variety of styles and colors. You can wear them with anything you like. They’re a good choice for a handsomely-dressed-hijab-wearing female tourist.
  • Shawls and Scarves are to cover your hair. Light shawls have been growing in international fashion shows. Although how to wear them in Iran is a bit different but as long as you cover your hair, you can wear them however you like. Shawls and Scarves, like Mantows, are made in colors and various designs. There’s no harm in trying them.
  • Makeup is popular in Iran. Some women overuse them and some wear just the right amount.
  • Nail polish on hands or feet is common in Iran too. So if you’re wearing sandals and you want to use nail polish on your feet or hands it will help you look more stylish. Ignore articles that say Iranians hate nail polish.
  • Skirts are not very common among Iranian women but some wear them so tourists can wear them too. Recently skirts have become more popular. But when it comes to hijab, you should wear leggings or long sucks underneath your skirts. Also, you must wear long skirts that cover your ankles.
  • There’s absolutely no limit for your feet. You can wear high heels, boots, sneakers or sandals.

Dress code in Exhibitions

How do you dress for exhibitions and art galleries in your country? Do that in Iran too. But women must consider hijab.

Women can apply my fashion tips for dressing in exhibitions.

Guys don’t need to wear golden suits and women don’t need to wear Cinderella’s shoes. Just look sharp and comfortable.

If men hate suits, just wear something stylish. In exhibitions, you may find Iranian men wearing T-Shirts with jeans. Just remember it all depends on the kind of event you are going to. If it’s an art gallery, you can dress very casual. If it’s a scientific or technology exhibition you can either wear suits or jeans with shirts. But if you are having a speech in these exhibitions, you better wear suits.

By the way, you are in Iran and people are more easygoing comparing to Europeans. Especially if you are a tourist, nobody expects you to be the best-dressed man or woman in the room. Just be comfortable and stylish.

 

 

How to get a visa for Iran?

Iran Visa is issued for foreigners who want to travel Iran for visiting relatives, working, educating, amusement and fun, special events or any other purposes. Getting Visa may be the most frustrating part of a trip, for some countries obtaining a visa is difficult and for some it is easy. Thankfully, getting Iran Visa is easy as you can obtain a visa on arrival (VOA) for tourism purposes. Of course, that’s the case with most nationalities. Some countries’ nationals require different process due to political reasons.

Though according to a recent bill approved by the Iran government, your passport will not be stamped by the government because most tourists are concerned about the Islamic Republic of Iran stamp on their passport due to US sanctions.
In this article, we’re going to take you through the process, dos and don’ts, cost, required documents, and laws on how to get a visa for Iran.

Your Passport Won’t be Stamped in Iran

Let us put your mind at ease. To counter-sanctions and consider tourists’ concerns, your passports will not be stamped according to a bill that has been approved by the head of Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, Iran Ministry of Industry and Trade, Iranian police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
So, you can easily come to Iran, visit any city you want and if you are worried about sanctions, your passport will not be stamped. So enjoy your stay!

Where Do I Get Iran Visa on arrival?

Here’s a list of Iran International Airports that you can obtain your visa on arrival. Depending on your destination, any of these airports will give you your visa:
• Tehran Mehrabad Airport
• Imam Khomeini Airport
• Shiraz International Airport
• Isfahan International Airport
• Kish International Airport
• Tabriz International Airport
• Mashhad International Airport
• Ahwaz International Airport
• Bandar-Abbas International Airport
• Payam International Airport (Karaj)
• Kerman International Airport

Mehrabad airport and Imam Khomeini airport are located in Tehran, Iran capital. It is recommended that you land in Tehran.
Some visas are not on arrival and you should contact Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs or any trustable travel agency to obtain your visa. These issues are explained below.

Types of Iran Visa

Pilgrimage Visa: issued for visitors of Holy Shrines and other Religious landmarks from any religious belief. Especially for Mashhad and Qom.
Tourism Visa: issued for travelers who want to visit Iran’s landmarks, nature and historical places.
Scientific and Sports Visa: issued for scientists or athletes that want to visit Iran for tech or scientific seminars, sporting events and such. These people may visit two or more times in a year.
Political Visa: issued for politicians invited to political events.
Work Visa: issued for people who want to work in Iran. Some countries’ nationals may have a harder process of getting this visa because of political issues.
Educational Visa: issued for people who want to educate in Iran. Just like a work visa, students from some countries have to consider a different process to get their visas.
Media Visa: issued for interviewers, photographers, and journalists.
Foreigners with Iranian Mothers Visa: issued for people who were born in other countries but have an Iranian mother.
Transit Visa: issued for people who want to visit a third-party country through Iran via any transportation vehicle.
Business Visa: issued for people who want to visit Iran for business purposes and business events.
Family Visa: issued for people who want to marry an Iranian or in Iran.

Visa-Free Nationalities

Because of political relations and international laws between Iran and listed countries, if you are a citizen of these countries you don’t need a visa:
Turkey (90 days)
Syria (90 days)
Lebanon (30 days)
Azerbaijan (30 days)
Armenia (90 days)
Egypt (20 days)
Georgia (45 days)
Venezuela (15 days)
Malaysia (15 days)
Bolivia (30 days)
Serbia (30 days)

Iran Visa fee

The answer to this topic varies from a country to another. So, to make sure of Iran Visa Cost you must visit Iran Embassy in your own country or simply ask the travel agency that can prepare your visa for you. The second part is recommended to save your time and energy to focus on your trip.

Time Validation for Iran Visa

We’ve mentioned visa-free countries’ time validation for the visa but in other cases, Iran visa is valid for 3 months (90 days). People can stay in Iran for 30 days and if they want to stay more, they must request the extension. You better request it from 1 to 3 days before your staying date is over. Go to The Immigrant and Passport Police Office in the city you are staying and make your request. Google Maps or your Travel Agency can address you to these offices.

Visa on Arrival for Iran

So, let’s talk about the big issue. Nationalities from some countries can get a visa on arrival and some must get their visa before their arrival.
These are two general options to get your visa:
A. Contact Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs or visit their website (https://en.mfa.ir) and fill out Iran Visa form. Other contact options are listed at the end of the article.
B. Ask any trusted travel agency or tourism company that can handle this problem in a fast time.

Countries whose nationals Can get Visa on Arrival

Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea. Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

Countries whose nationals Can Not get Visa on Arrival

United States of America, England, Canada, India, Columbia, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka.
These countries’ nationals must get their visas before traveling. So, don’t get up and ‘just go’ to Iran.
I talk about how these nationals can get their visas on Iran Visa for Special Nationalities article.

Required Documents for Iran Visa

These are official required documents for obtaining your visa on arrival. They are fairly easy-to-get documents:
1) Passport with 6 months validity.
2) Visa stamp fee which you can pay at the airport. Cost depends on the tourist’s nationality.
3) An official photo to be attached to Iran Visa. A photo similar to your passport photo works fine.
4) An Invitation Letter. The invitation letter must be sent from an Iranian travel agency to the Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs 48 hours before your flight.
5) Online visa application form with an authorization number.
6) Your return ticket within 30 days timeframe since your arrival to Iran.
7) Travel insurance valid for Iran.

Contact Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Website: https://en.mfa.ir
Phone: +982161151
Public Relations: +982166739191
FAX: +982161154275
Zip Code: 1136914811
Email: info@mfa.gov.ir
Address: Iran, Tehran, Imam Khomeini Street, Imam Khomeini Square
Office Hours: Saturday to Wednesday (8 AM till 15)

6 Essential Apps in Iran

Internet startups and services become more and more popular every day in Iran. people use variable websites and apps to shop online and live more comfortably in a metropolis like Tehran. The Internet is available in all regions of the country and 3G and 4G on phones everywhere. Here are the most useful apps you need while traveling to Iran.

1. Snapp

Snapp is a ride-hailing app like Uber in other countries. It’s a user-friendly interface and always available drivers, rate it atop of the taxi sharing apps in Iran. It’s always cheaper than the other taxis. You can register on the app, via your Google account. Taxis are safe because drivers and trips information will be sent to your email whenever you use the app. You can pay by cash and if you have an Iranian bank account you can pay online too. It’s very easy to use, you must just mark the place you are and where you want to go on the online map. Snapp provides variable services include only for women taxis to bike couriers to transport boxes and passengers too. It’s available at more than 80 small and big cities. Another taxi sharing apps are Tap30 and Carpino useful to be installed in case you can’t find a car in Snapp.

snapp cab

2. WhatsApp Messenger

Its Iranian the most favorite messaging app and if you want to stay in touch with your Iranian friends it’s the best choice. This app is not filtered fortunately and widely used. for video calls WhatsApp and Imo working properly here. After WhatsApp Second place belonged to Telegram, The only matter is you must use a VPN proxy to enter the app because it’s filtered.

whatsapp messenger

3. Snappfood

Snappfood is a delivery service app, for ordering a wide range of food, from traditional Iranian dishes to popular fast food and sushi. It’s a bilingual app and easy to use. After registering, you just need to listen to your inner voice, search the app and order the best one! You can read users’ comments about restaurants and food. if you don’t know Persian, consider the rates given by the users. After choosing you can track your order and see the estimated delivery time. If you don’t have an Iranian credit card, you can pay by cash.

snappfood

4. Foursquare

You can find restaurants, cafés, shopping centers and fun options at this useful app which is popular in Iran too. This app uses visitor’s comments to stay up to date and add new places and destinations. Rely on comments and reviews of the users to find your way and choose properly.

foursquare

5. Tehran Metro

One the fastest and cheapest choices to move in Tehran is using subway due to permanent traffic jam especially at city center during rush hours. very easy access from north to south and west to east. Disregard to hustle and bustle of the locals it’s a good choice to experience local life under the skin of the city! Tehran Metro is a bilingual app that gives you a lot of information to help you find the exact position of the stations, arrival times and nearby facilities in and around the stations.

tehran metro

6. Waze

It’s the most popular navigation app in Iran especially among car drivers due to its fast and accurate pathfinding ability. A multilingual option, voice recognition system, alternative paths, and user-friendly menu put it on the top of the list. Another option is Google Maps which helps you to navigate like a local around the cities and finding your destination as easy as possible.

waze