If your travel plans hold Iran on the horizon, Planning and making reservations aside, getting informed about special rules comes first! Respecting these rules requires modesty of course, but as they are derived from Iran’s cultural norms, it means a lot to your host society.
Your concern as a tourist, about Islamic clothing, is understandable. You might have pictured women in Iran in black Chadors, and men in white Dishdasha, but the reality is totally different:
For men: Although there is no strict law about men’s clothing, wearing shorts and sleeveless vests would be somehow improper in Iran. Do you want my opinion? Pants and T-shirts would be the best choice!
For women: There is no confusing rule about women’s clothing. Women supposed to hide body shapes and hair, that’s all! The way Iranian women dress can give you a clue. Of course manteaux and jeans are the most popular style in Iran. Manteau is a long-sleeved blouse that covers the bottom and pants or skirts must cover the legs up to the ankle. By the way, don’t forget to pick a scarf while packing, its necessary to put on in public. In brief, it doesn’t really matter what you wear as long as your clothes are not too short or too tight!
There is no strict rule about Hijab in Iran, that will be okay as long as your dress is not too short or too tight.
According to the Islamic rules, drinking or even carrying alcoholic drinks is illegal all over the country, which means there is no night club or bar in Iran. Be aware that consuming alcohol even in private, can put you in serious trouble.
3-Tricky Visa Process
Receiving Iran visa is not that complex for citizens of many countries. Most tourists can receive the visa on arrival with ease. Among all 10 nationalities are the exceptions and require it in advance including Colombia, Somali, England, Canada, USA, Bangladesh, Jordon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
Canada, England and USA citizens do not have the possibility of receiving a visa in person and must apply through valid travel agencies.
Keep in mind that visa on arrival is only available at the airports.
Receiving Iran visa is not that complex for citizens of many countries.
Unfortunately, Citizens of Israel are totally barred from entry to Iran and the visa request of travelers with any evidence of visiting Israel will surely be rejected.
5-Import and export rules
As all the luggage will be checked with X-ray, you should be careful about carrying the following objects:
– Alcoholic Drinks, Weapons, and drugs are illegal to both import and export
– there are no limits for entering currency to the country, up to 10000 dollars.
– Animals and pets are isolated on arrival.
– only personal health care medicine is allowed, with the prescription which determines the dose.
– Pistachio and other nuts: up to 10 kg
– Saffron up to 100g
– Carpets: up to 20 meters per person.
– The ancient and valued object which is counted as cultural heritage.
– Sharing a hotel room for unmarried Non-Muslims couples will be Ok. the marriage certificate would be required for muslim couples.
– Hotels are usually keeping your passport until you check out.
30 days in a year Muslims do fast, which includes abstaining from eating and drinking from the dawn to the sunset. And then they break the fast with a particular evening meal, named “Iftar”. During these 30 days, even non-Muslims prevent eating and drinking or even smoking in public before sunset. As a sign of respect, most restaurants are closed during Ramadan but buying food and eating in privacy is totally ok.
Travelers can Eat and drink in privacy during Ramadan.
8-The authorization code
The law enforcement force of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the organization that is in charge of protecting tourists during their stay in Iran. In order to this protection, this organization gives out a personal serial number to every single person entering the country. The tourists should have their travel itinerary on the entrance to receive that serial number and maintain it until departure.
Pay attention to where and beside whom you sit in Iran! There is a sex-separation in some entertainment centers such as swimming pools and seashores, mosques and religious sites, and public transportation. Look for “men only” and “women only” signs which determine specific sections in mentioned places. It is ok for women to enter men’s sections sometimes but seems too weird if a man enters the women’s section.
10-Social media limitation
During your stay in Iran, you might need to use VPNs to access Facebook, Couchsurfing, YouTube and maybe a few other applications. In order to faster and easier access to social media, choose applications with no bans on instead; like Instagram, What’s app and Skype.
11-Credit and debit cards
Unfortunately, there is no network Iran for using international cards, but there is a new travel card name “Mah Card”. You can instantly fund your card in any preferred currency and that will be converted to Iranian Rials.
-Not legally forced, but would be wise to follow:
Rules are over, but bearing in mind some tiny tips, shows your cultural respect and will stop you from getting into trouble.
– Showing Displays of affection to the public: Kissing and hugging people from the opposite sex is not accepted in Iran, especially for unmarried couples.
– Blowing nose in public: you can do that in WC if necessary, but not in front of people!
– Wearing shoes indoor: No need to ask! You should take off your shoes in almost every house in Iran!
– Taking photos from people without their permission.
– Handshaking with people from the opposite sex in public.
13-Visiting religious sites
– Women should be wearing their Islamic hijab (wearing Chador it is obligatory in mosques) and men with shorts are not allowed to enter religious places.
– Dancing, singing, shouting and similar behaviors are consumed as disrespect.
You might be curious about different things taking place in Iran and how people feel about it. Even if you start to talk about political issues people are not going to stop you or they might start the conversation themselves, but keep in mind that any kind of criticize can easily offend their strong nationalism inside! I recommend to keep the trip cool and avoid talking politics.
15-Do not trust on Crosswalk and traffic light!
Not as a proud, but Iranian drivers are not really into following international traffic regulations. The crosswalk here is not really your safe zone as a pedestrian. And sometimes the red light is not able to stop hasty drivers. The only way to rescue from crossing the street is to watch carefully the cars and guess the speed.