Visit Iran as an American
Can Americans Travel to Iran?
Visit Iran as an American – Are Americans allowed in Iran?
If you’re wondering whether can Americans travel to Iran and how to visit Iran as an American, the answer is yes but not without a host of restrictions. but the Iranian government requires that all American tourists travel with a private guide or group tour.
Your Iranian guide will be specially authorized to guide American citizens and should be aware of any relevant Iranian government regulations.
Infact since the relationship between the U.S. and Iran was restored after hostage crisis in November, 1979, Americans have been able to visit Iran as an American without Visa.
After that although the Americans still could travel to Iran but due to the conflict and propaganda campaigns against Iran it It was impossible in practice.
The Obama administration recently loosened Iran’s sanctions after the nuclear deal, This has been reflected in governments such as the Australian government reducing their travel warnings to Iran and also Americans show more interest in traveling to Iran.
People or Governments?
The Iranian government is highly sensitive for historical and political reasons of any foreign involvement in the political process, in particular this applies to the tourists who wants to visit Iran as an American.
Otherwise, Iranians will be keen to demonstrate their hospitality to US citizens and will offer to host them for lunch or dinner.
Hostility towards particular actions of the US government, doesn’t stop the people of Iran having nothing but the warmest feelings for Americans themselves.
Preparing for Travel to Iran as an American
Visit Iran as an American for tourism purposes are required to have a fully booked itinerary, which meant booking a trip with a tour company and most tour companies will take care of this for you which could come with an average weekly price tag of $2,000 to $3,500 per person.
There is no any direct flight to Iran, so currently, you have to take a transit flight when traveling to Iran, but this will soon change. In June 2016, the U.S. and Iran had a meeting to sign an agreement allowing weekly flights to Iran on U.S. and/or iranian airlines.
Iranian Visa for American passport holders
U.S, Canadian and British passport holders will need to apply for a travel authorization number from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign affair (MFA) before you can apply for a visa. The MFA must approve your itinerary and your tour operator should be able to help you with process.
Iran Exchange Rate
The official Iranian currency is the Iranian rial, exchanging at approximately 35000 rials to the U.S. dollar and 39,000 rials in July 2016.
Apart from the many zeros involved in any transaction, foreign visitors need to be aware that prices are always quoted in rials when written, but are quoted in Tumans in speech.
One tuman is equal to ten rials. The tuman unit has no official standing, but has the obvious practical use of getting rid of one zero.
Visacard and Mastercard in Iran
International credit and debit cards cannot be used in Iran since the US trade embargo on the country. Visitors cannot draw cash on credit or bank cards (such as Cirrus or Maestro).
Iran does have a network of ATMs but these are for use with locally-issued bank cards such as the Mellat Card, Melli Card issued by local Banks in Iran.
Can Americans Travel Solo in Iran?
US citizens must by accompanied by a guide at all times while they are in Iran.
This doesn’t me you need to have an extremely structured itinerary. But you can have a number of “free days” into your itinerary where you can do as you please.
This allows you to have some flexibility and break away from my small group tour.
Currency Exchange Offices (Money Changers in Iran)
There is a currency exchange office at the new Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran as well as several more in the center of Tehran and other big cities.
A network of currency exchange offices operate in Tehran and in major cities under the licence of Iranian National Bank.
Many banks also offer foreign exchange facilities, but not in all branches. Your host and hotel staff should be able to advise you further.
Iran Cell Phone Service and Internet
Another technology concern to prepare for is the use of American cellphones. US companies like Sprint and Verizon doesn’t have roaming services in Iran.
But you can buy a local sim at the Airport for all domestic and international calls and have a normal 3G and 4G internet on your cellphone.
We suggest you to use prepaid MTN IranCell that is the second largest mobile phone network operator of Iran. It is 49% owned by the South Africa-based MTN Group.
Can I travel to Iran as an unmarried couple?
Yes! This is an often more assumed problem than a real one for most travellers. Travelling to Iran will not be a problem. Most hotels, like everyone else, won’t ask or care about your relationship status.
In the case that they do, it is up to individual travellers to decide how they respond but no proof of marriage is required.
In the very worst scenario, you may be required to take separate rooms but this is almost unheard of, particularly for foreign travellers. But remember unmarried Persian couples are not able to get a hotel room.
If you’re married to an Iranian we advise you to carry your marriage certificate with passport as proof of marriage.
Can I drink alcohol and eat pork in Iran?
Drinking alcohol is against the law in Iran and no shops are permitted to sell it. Anyone caught in possession of alcohol faces arrest and in the case of a tourist face deportation.
People in Iran tend to drink tea, Sharbat (a cool, sweet drink known as the world’s first soft drink) or doogh (a savoury yogurt drink). Alcohol free beer is also available. Pork is not available.
When it comes to meat most Iranians tend to eat chicken, beef or lamb, all of which are widely available.
When is the best time to visit Iran?
It depends on what you want to do! In most places in Iran summer is hot and winter is cold, with snow in some places.
During the month of Ramadan it can be difficult for travellers as many food stores are close during the day.
At times around the Iranian New Year which occurs on March 21, more people inside Iran go on holiday, so it can be more difficult to secure accommodation.