Russia Travel Advisory
August 15, 2022

Do Not Travel and Leave Immediately

International Travel

English

Country Information

Iran

Iran
Islamic Republic of Iran
Last Update: Reissued with updates to wrongful detention information.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to wrongful detention information.

Do not travel to Iran due to the risk of kidnapping and the arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.  Exercise increased caution due to wrongful detentions.  

Country Summary: U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Iran have been kidnapped, arrested, and detained on spurious charges.  The Department has determined that at least one U.S. national is  wrongfully detained by the Iranian government.

Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. nationals, particularly dual national U.S.-Iranian nationals--including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics--on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Iranian authorities routinely delay consular access to detained U.S. nationals and consistently deny consular access to dual U.S.-Iranian nationals.

The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iran.

Due to the risks of operating civilian aircraft within or in the vicinity of Iran, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Iran.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Iran has a low level of COVID-19.  Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

If you are currently in Iran:

  • Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, and read the COVID-19 page for the U.S. Virtual Embassy in Iran for country-specific COVID-19 information.    
  • Consider the risks involved in possessing dual U.S. Iranian nationality.
  •  Review your personal security plan and visit our website for Travel to High Risk Areas.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Have a plan for departing Iran that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
... [READ MORE]

Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes, except for Kish Island

VACCINATIONS:


Yes. Varies occasionally according to port of entry. Please see https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


Over €10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Over €5,000

Embassies and Consulates

Embassy of Switzerland – Foreign Interests Section

Pasdaran, Shahid Mousavi St. (Golestan 5th)
Corner of Paydarfard St., No. 55, Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran
Telephone: (98) (21) 2254-2178 and (98) (21) 2256-5273
Emergency Telephone: (41) (58) 465-3333
Fax: (98) (21) 2258-0432
Email:  tehran.fi@eda.admin.ch
Website: www.eda.admin.ch/tehranfi
Virtual Embassy Tehran

All consular services require prior appointments which can be made by phone. The Foreign Interests Section can be reached by phone Sunday through Thursday between 7:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The Interests Section does not issue U.S. visas or accept visa applications. The Foreign Interests Section provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens in Tehran including:

  • Registering U.S. citizens
  • Responding to inquiries concerning the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Iran
  • Rendering assistance in times of distress or physical danger
  • Providing U.S. citizens with passport and Social Security card applications and other citizenship forms for processing at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland
  • Performing notarial services
  • Taking provisional custody of the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens
  • Providing SSA assistance to retired U.S citizens residing in Iran

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

For more information on how COVID 19 effects entry and exit requirement to Iran, visit our COVID-19 page at the U.S. Virtual Embassy to Iran.

Before traveling to Iran, please consider the current Travel Advisory.

U.S. passports are valid for travel to Iran. However, the Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality and will treat U.S.-Iranian dual nationals solely as Iranian citizens. Iranian authorities may consider some U.S. citizens – even those without Iranian passports who do not consider themselves to be Iranian – to be Iranian nationals. U.S.-Iranian dual nationals must enter and exit Iran on Iranian passports.

Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Iranian authorities have also prevented the departure of U.S. citizens who traveled to Iran. U.S. citizens of Iranian origin should consider the risk of being targeted by authorities before planning travel to Iran. Iranian authorities routinely deny dual nationals access to the Foreign Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran because they consider dual nationals to be solely Iranian citizens.

U.S. government employees, including contractors, are strictly prohibited from traveling to Iran without prior authorization from the Department of State.

U.S.-Iranian dual nationals should obtain, in their Iranian passports, the necessary visas for the countries they will transit on their return trip to the United States so that if the U.S. passports are confiscated in Iran, they may depart Iran with their Iranian passports. These individuals can then apply for new U.S. passports in the country they are transiting. Dual nationals must enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports and enter and depart Iran on Iranian passports.

Dual nationals whose U.S. passports are confiscated may also obtain a “Recommendation Letter” from the Foreign Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland, the U.S. protecting power. This statement enables travelers to apply for third-country visas in Tehran. The Swiss Embassy can issue this statement once the traveler's U.S. nationality is confirmed.

U.S. citizens who stay in Iran longer than one year, and who reside outside Iran, need to obtain an exit permit to leave the country. U.S. citizens residing in Iran on permanent resident visas must obtain an exit permit each time they depart Iran, regardless of the period of stay. All Iranian passport holders are required to pay an exit tax. More specific information on Iranian passport and exit permit requirements may be obtained from the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.

The Iranian civil code states that  women who marry Iranian men acquire Iranian nationality. If the marriage takes place in Iran, the woman’s U.S. passport may be confiscated by Iranian authorities. A woman must have the consent of her husband to leave Iran or, in his absence, consent from another suitable authority. The Foreign Interests Section in Tehran can provide only limited assistance if a U.S. citizen woman married to an Iranian man encounters difficulty in leaving Iran. In addition, if marriage to an Iranian citizen is not officially recognized by the Iranian government, the couple will be committing the crime of adultery if they travel together the maximum penalty for which is death.

Please contact the Swiss Embassy or appropriate Iranian authorities for special circumstances cases involving divorce and custody rights in Iran.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to Iran. If you intend to reside in Iran, you must submit to a blood test, which may include an HIV test, in order to apply for a residency permit. Permits will be refused if the HIV test is positive.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

As noted in Iran’s Travel Advisory, U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Iran face a significant threat of kidnapping or arrest and detention on spurious charges.

U.S. citizens who travel to Iran despite the Travel Advisory should exercise caution throughout the country, but especially in the southeastern region where Westerners have been victims of criminal gangs. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to areas within 100 kilometers of the border with Afghanistan, near the Iraq border, and generally anywhere east of the line from Bam and Bandar Abbas toward the Pakistani border.

Crime: Foreigners occasionally become victims of petty street crime, including robberies and bag-snatchings, in Iran. There have been reports of robberies by police impersonators, usually in civilian clothing. Insist on seeing the officer’s identity card and request the presence of a uniformed officer/marked patrol car. Travelers should take the following precautions:

  • Do not surrender any documents or cash.
  • Make a copy of your U.S. passport (biographical data page and the page with your Iranian visa) and keep it separate from your original passport.
  • Do not carry large amounts of hard currency while on the streets.
  • Keep important documents such as passports and valuables in hotel safes or other secure locations.
  • Take pre-booked taxis, which are safer than those hailed from the street.
  • Check with your hotel or tour guide for information on local scams.
  • Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, purchasing them may also violate local law.

Demonstrations occur sporadically. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

Iranian security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, computers, fax machines, and other electronics may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. The Iranian authorities may also confiscate cell phones, computers, and other devices. U.S. citizens should consider not taking electronic devices to Iran or deleting personal information from them beforehand.

Iran is prone to earthquakes, many of them severe. To learn more about the seismic regions of Iran, including the most recent earthquakes, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey website.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 110 and contact the Swiss Foreign Interests Section at (98) (21) 2254-2178. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Iran is: 115 for ambulance service, 125 for fire, and 110 for police. English speakers, however, are generally unavailable. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

The Department of State, through the Foreign Interests Section, can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Swiss Foreign Interests Section for assistance. U.S. citizens should note that the Foreign Interests Section may be able to provide limited assistance only and that Iranian law does not prohibit domestic violence.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Long prison terms and solitary confinement are common as are punishments including execution, amputation, flogging, blinding, stoning, and fines.  Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Examples of local laws that you may be unfamiliar with include:

  • Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, as well as persons who encourage Muslims to convert, are subject to arrest and possible execution.
  • Drinking, possession of alcoholic beverages, and drugs are illegal. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Iran are severe and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Iran executes many people each year on drug-related charges. Penalties for the possession, use, or smuggling of alcoholic beverages may include fines, jail time, or flogging.
  • Men and women must adhere to the government-sanctioned dress code; this includes covered hair, arms, and legs for women. The government considers the failure to adhere to its dress code and public displays of affection to be crimes.
  • Relations between non-Muslim men and Muslim women are illegal, as are adultery and sex outside of marriage, which are punishable by the death penalty.
  • DVDs depicting sexual relations and magazines showing unveiled women are forbidden.
  • Photography near military and other government installations is strictly prohibited and could result in serious criminal charges, including espionage, which carries the death penalty.
  • Importation of pork products is banned.
  • Insulting the government or Muslim faith is strictly forbidden, including on social media. Such violations of Iranian law may result in imprisonment.

Carry a copy of your U.S. passport (biodata page and page with Iranian visa) and some other form of identification with you at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of U.S. citizenship is readily available.

If you are arrested while in Iran, request that the police and prison officials notify the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran immediately to ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances. Under Iranian law, detainees may also request legal representation, although the authorities sometimes fail to allow timely access to attorneys.

Some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal: The Iranian government reportedly has the names of all individuals who filed claims against Iran at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague pursuant to the 1981 Algerian Accords. In addition, the Iranian government reportedly has compiled a list of the claimants who were awarded compensation in the Iran Claims Program administered by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. The Iranian government has allegedly been targeting award-holders who travel to Iran. Some former claimants' have reported being questioned by Iranian authorities upon their entry into Iran as to the status of payment of their respective awards with a view to recouping the award money. The Iranian government has also reportedly threatened to prevent U.S. claimants who visit Iran from departing the country until they repay their award.

Dual Nationality: U.S. citizens who also possess Iranian citizenship are subject to laws that impose special obligations on citizens of Iran, such as military service or taxes. Iranian-citizen males aged 18-34 are required to perform military service, unless exempt. Young men who have turned 17 years of age will not be allowed to leave Iran without completing their military service.

Money: Non-Iranian credit cards and bank cards cannot be used in Iran. You will not be able to access U.S. or foreign bank accounts using ATMs in Iran. You can exchange U.S. dollars for rials, either at banks or with certified money changers. There is no Western Union or similar institution, and bank transfers are not possible. Due to economic sanctions on Iran, financial institutions have been known to block or freeze accounts accessed via the Internet from Iran.

Communication: Pre-paid overseas calling cards are available at most newsagents. The Internet is widely used in Iran. There are Internet cafes in most hotels; however, usage may be monitored. The Iranian government blocks access to many social media sites.

·         Sanctions: U.S. government economic sanctions prohibit most economic activity between U.S. citizens and Iran. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has posted to its website frequently asked questions (FAQs) that provide guidance on U.S. sanctions related to Iran. For further information, consult OFAC’s Iran sanctions resource page or contact OFAC’s Compliance Programs Division at 202-622-2490, or obtain information via fax at 202-622-0077.

For information concerning licensing of imports or exports, contact OFAC’s Licensing Division at by phone at 202-622-2480 or fax at 202-622-1657.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Travelers: See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

For more information on COVID-19, visit our dedicated page at the U.S. Virtual Embassy to Iran.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Basic medical care and medicine are available in the principal cities but may not be available in rural areas in Iran. Medical facilities do not meet U.S. standards and sometimes lack medicine and supplies.

Air Quality

  • Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Iran particularly in Ahvaz, Tehran, and Zabol. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
  • People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
  • Infants, children, and teens
  • People over 65 years of age
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • People with heart disease or diabetes
  • People who work or are active outdoors

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with local authorities to ensure the medication is legal in Iran.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While in Iran, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Travelers in possession of International Driver’s Permits may drive in Iran, though the Foreign Interests Section in Iran does not recommend that tourists do so. Iran has a very high rate of traffic accidents, the second highest cause of mortality in the country. Drivers throughout Iran tend to ignore traffic lights, traffic signs, and lane markers. Urban streets are not well lit; it is therefore particularly dangerous to drive at night. Sidewalks in urban areas exist only on main roads and are usually obstructed by parked cars. In residential areas, few sidewalks exist. Drivers almost never yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. If you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor, do not leave the scene; wait until the police arrive to file a report.

Traffic Laws: Iranian authorities sometimes set up informal roadblocks, both in cities and on highways, often manned by young, inexperienced officers who are suspicious of foreigners. Carry identification with you and avoid getting into disputes.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Iran, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Iran should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry WebPortal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.

Fact Sheet

Please see Fact Sheet for this country/area.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Iran. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Iran. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: August 4, 2022

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Embassy of Switzerland
Pasdaran, Shahid Mousavi St.(Golestan 5th)
Corner of Paydarfard St., No. 55
Tehran, Iran
Telephone
(98) (21) 2254-2178
(98) (21) 2256-5273
Emergency
(41) (58) 465-3333
Fax
(98) (21) 2258-0432

Iran Map