Terminal Drop-Off Charge

A £5 charge now applies to vehicles dropping off passengers at the designated drop-off zones, located directly outside the terminals. Discounts and exemptions will apply. Free drop-off will be available at the Long Stay car parks.

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  • Overview

    Brimming with over 5,000 years of history, Iran is a wonderful destination for culture seekers who enjoy getting off the beaten track. Formerly the heart of the Persian Empire, it was one of the first countries to be occupied by the early Islamic armies that emerged from Arabia in the seventh century and is, thus, also a centre for early Islamic culture and history. Today, Iran's history resides in old ruins, museums and magnificent mosques.

    Some areas are considered unsafe for visitors, but tourism is on the rise in this culturally rich destination, where there is something for everyone by way of quality sightseeing, wonderful shopping, and exciting cuisine. For the more adventurous, Iran offers desert trekking, rock climbing, and a few ski resorts, all at affordable prices.

    The mountains bordering the Caspian Sea are covered in deciduous forest, and the brown forest soils found along the coasts of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf are used extensively for farming, making for a richly diverse landscape. In addition, business travel is increasingly common and the country is extremely rich in mineral resources, especially petroleum and natural gas.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Tehran has a semi-arid, continental climate and the city separates the mountains to the north and desert to the south. Summers in Tehran, from June to August, are hot and dry, with average high temperatures of 93F (34C) and occasional extremes of 104F (40C). During the summer months, Tehran experiences very little rain, and average precipitation levels of 0.1 inches (3mm) per month. However, relative humidity is low and evenings are cool.

    Most of Tehran's rainfall occurs during the spring and autumn. Winters, from December to February, are very cold, with temperatures falling below freezing and rarely peaking above 37F (3C), and with light snow showers a common occurrence. It is important to note that due to the city's large size and the difference in elevation between districts, visitors will find that the weather is often cooler in the northern hills than in the southern lowland areas.

    Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Iran, as the weather is cooler than in June and July, which are scorching. July is the hottest month and temperatures soar to between 95F and 104F (35C and 40C). Autumn starts in September and is usually sunny, turning cold and damp by November.

    Winter lasts from December through March and can include substantial snowfall depending on the region. January and February can be bitterly cold, with temperatures plummeting to 32F to 23F (0C to -5C), though days can be mild in the southern parts of the country.

    Tehran Mehrabad International Airport
    Location: The airport is located five miles (8km) from Tehran's centre.
    Time: GMT +3.5 (GMT +4.5 between March and September)
    Getting to the city: The airport is connected to the city by the metro and buses. Visitors will also find taxis.
    Car Rental: Car rental agencies operate at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Passengers can opt for taxis.
    Facilities: There are lost luggage facilities, as well as shops and a restaurant.
    Parking Long and short-term parking is available.
    Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 31 miles (50km) south of Tehran city centre.
    Time: GMT +3.5 (GMT +4.5 between March and September)
    Getting to the city: There are buses between the airport and the nearest subway station, from where passengers can connect to the city.
    Car Rental: It is possible to rent a car at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available but tend to be costly.
    Facilities: Travellers will find banks and ATM facilities, a tourist information centre in the arrivals hall of the airport, as well as restaurants, prayer rooms, shopping facilities, VIP lounges, postal services and a lost and found service.
    Parking Parking is available at the airport.
    Website: www.ikac.ir
    Money:

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

    Language:

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

    Electricity:

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

    Entry Requirements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

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

    Travel Health:

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

    Tipping:

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

    Safety Information:

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

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

    Local Customs:

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

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

    Business:

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

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

    Communications:

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

    Duty Free:

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

    Iran Embassies:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Foreign Embassies in Iran :

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Iran Emergency Numbers : 115 (Ambulance); 125 (Fire); 110 (Police)
    Iran

    There are plenty of transport options to get around Tehran. The city has a modern metro system connecting various parts of the city, and it serves as the best way to get around for newcomers, as it avoids major traffic congestion. From Tehran's central railway station, visitors can catch a train to other major destinations in Iran.

    The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) serves the buses in Tehran, with inexpensive travel possible to almost anywhere in the city, but it's difficult to determine where and when to disembark without knowledge of Farsi or asking for help from locals. There is also gender segregated seating on trains, buses, and taxis.

    Travelling by taxi is a comfortable way to get around the city but visitors should ask their hotel to book them one with a reputable company. It is also possible for female passengers travelling alone to request a vehicle with a female driver. It is best to negotiate fares upfront and they are also usually more flexible with gender-segregated seating.

    Driving in Tehran will be a challenge for new arrivals, as local driving is sometimes erratic and dangerous. However, visitors who decide to hire a car will have the option to have a local driver accompany them, which is advisable. There's also a bike-share scheme for cycling in Tehran, consisting of docking stations where commuters can pick up or return borrowed bikes throughout the city.