Iran Travel and Tours for UK Citizens

Travel Guide to Iran for the UK Citizens

If you’re wondering whether can UK Citizens travel to Iran and how to visit Iran as an UK Citizens, 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.

If you have time to read through the history, you’ll see that the relation of Iran and Great Britain has always been on the edge. Not long ago it used to be fairly easy for the British to visit Iran, but that has changed a bit. Not as strict as for Americans, citizens of Britain need to consider some important matters to ensure a joyful and worry-free trip to Iran.

How UK Citizens Can Apply for Iran Tourist Visa

Visa is the first and foremost thing you might worry about. If the nationality written on your passport is the United Kingdom, you need to reserve a tour and get a visa authorization code in order to get a visa to Iran. Visa application process takes between one and two months for citizens of the UK, US and Canada. Passengers of these three nationalities must provide a CV along with their visa application.

Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of visa application. Visa photo requirements are similar to regular passport photo with a high quality, yet keep in mind that women don't have to wear a headscarf in their visa application photos.

When you reserve an organized tour with us, we will apply for the visa authorization code on your behalf. The visa code is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the cost of application is 100 euros for UK nationals. With the visa code, you can go to the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and receive your visa. The visa fee is different from visa code application fee. This should be paid at the time of visa collection.

If you are outside the UK at the time of visa application, there is no need to worry. You can collect your visa at any Iranian embassy abroad, as long as you have indicated that location at the time of your visa code application.

Can UK citizen Travel Solo in Iran?

Unfortunately not. You can only obtain a visa if you have reserved a tour, however, the rules are not as strict as for U.S. citizens, Chances of being denied a visa is much lower. You can only stay in the country as long as your tour takes, regardless of a longer visa period. Our staff will gladly assist you with any questions and concerns.

Flying to Iran

Few direct flights are operating between London and Tehran by British Airways and Iran Air. Other airlines that have only connecting flights are Lufthansa, Austrian airways, Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air, Aeroflot, Qatar Airlines, Emirates and Pegasus.

Money and exchange

In Iran, we have two money units. Rial is the official currency, and most of the written transactions are in rials. The other unit of money that is used by Iranians every day is toman. They use the same rial notes, but omit one zero on the banknote to have toman. Sounds confusing? It is! But, people in Iran use this second unit to buy and sell things! It is easier for them.

To make things even more confusing for the foreigners, we have two exchange rates for foreign currencies: Government rate and Free Market rate. Both are legal, but there is a huge difference between them. The government rate is the subsidized price of dollar or euro, which is used for importing goods and medications (if you exchange in a bank at the airport, it will be the government rate, much lower than the free market rate). Free Market rate is what you can exchange your money to in legal currency exchange stores. There are many currency exchange stores in Tehran and other major cities. As the government policy is changing about foreign currencies, it is wise to ask our staff about the situation and get advice.

For more information please check Iranian Currency and Exchange.

Women Dress Code in Iran. What’s the deal?

Not as strict as it used to be in the past, but Islamic dress codes are still enforced in Iran. Women should dress modestly, wearing a long-sleeved tunic or coat along with long skirt or trousers. They should wear a headscarf to cover most of their hair. This rule also applies on girls age 9 and above. For a better picture of the dress code please check our expansive article, The Dress Code in Iran

Staying connected

You can purchase a SIM card at the airport and start using it immediately if you have an unlocked phone. All hotels have free wifi service, and all of our tour vehicles are equipped with wifi internet, yet keep in mind that the reception in some areas, especially on remote roads, is not reliable.

The best time to visit

It actually depends on what you want to do. Summers in Iran are hot, winters are cold and even there is snow in some regions. Norouz, the Iranian New Year is when domestic travel is at its peak and finding accommodation in a short notice can be difficult, let alone over crowded sites. Also religious observations are challenging. For example during the month of Ramadan many restaurants are closed during the day and are open only after sunset. Or in Muharram in most cities, religious ceremonies are performed which may affect the opening hours of many sites and services, depending on the region. Consult with our staff before planning your tour.

Don’t miss..

World Heritage Sites

Do not miss the chance of visiting Iran’s glorious World Heritage Sites. Not just the majestic Persepolis and unforgettable Naqsh-e Jahan square, but we invite you to walk into the magnificent Takht-e Soleyman, be amazed at the incredibly carved cave dwellings of Meymand Village, and feel the impression of ancient civilizations at Tchogha Zanbil. Iran has 23 World Heritage Sites, two of which, Qanats and Persian Gardens, are serial inscriptions on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. So anywhere you go, there is a great chance of visiting a World Heritage Site.

Food

Iran offers a very diverse collection of delicious foods and refreshing drinks. From mouthwatering kebabs to exotic vegetarian dishes, there are so many choices to try. Check out our articles on food and drinks in Iran.

Souvenirs

One thing you need to know is that the handicrafts of each province in Iran are unique to that province and different from the others. Even when you decide to purchase a Persian Carpet, you should know that the design and elaboration of carpets from Tabriz, Kerman, Kashan, Naein, and Khorasan are all different.

Stay out of trouble!

Alcohol is forbidden in Iran and the consequences of getting caught are not predictable!

Pay attention to what you are taking a picture of. Many government buildings or military establishments do have a sign to show that photography near these areas is forbidden.

At the end we have a friendly advice for you. If you speak a few words of Persian, please do not use it while you are still at the airport. There have been misjudgments and troubles that occurred after tourists of sensitive nationalities tried to show off their language skills. Unfortunately, not all the staff at the airports, even at Imam Khomeini international airport, speak English and resolving the misunderstanding can waste your time and cause too much stress.

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What People Say About Us

Salam Dr Mehdi Eshraghi,

I was one of the four ladies together with Prof Dr Rohany Nasir who went to Iran for the first time using your tour company. We had a good time throughout our holiday and wished we could have stayed longer. We were made welcomed by Prof Rohany's former students in Isfahan who invited us to their homes and showered us with Persian hospitality.

Thank you for giving us Maryam Hodaeian as a guide. She was very professional, efficient and at the same time receptive to the needs of four elderly ladies!! By the end of the holiday we became good friends and treat her like a daughter. We also had a good time with our driver Mohammad who drove us safely throughout the long journey and we were sad to say goodbye to him in Shiraz when we flew back to Tehran.

We love all the places we visited and especially your food!! Compared to Turkey and Morocco I love Persian food the most as there are so many varieties!! InsyaAllah we will go back to visit other parts of Iran. Next time can you include a portion of Azerbaijan as well? I will definitely recommend your tour company to friends and families who are going to Iran.

Sincerely,

Tengku Fauziah Hazizah Tg Othman

Malaysia

Tengku FauziahVisited September 2016Email

Iran is a rich country in history, culture, flowers, fruits and nuts. People are very warm and friendly. Plenty of trees in city and town that provide shades. We had an inspiring time in Iran.

We are very pleased with Surfiran as the tour agent. They responded fast in all email communication. Sufficient information is provided timely. Our guide Mr Mustafa is professional and caring. We are grateful to his help when one of our members has to shorten the trip due to family matters.

One thing for Surfiran to take note is explain more clearly to us about the visa. We thought what is sent to us is the visa. It ended up just a notice and we have to pay for visa fee at the airport with that notice. We could have save some time if we knew about it beforehand.

Overall, we are pleased with this trip. Thank you, Surfiran.

Tan Bell from Singapore

Tan BellVisited April 2017TripAdvisor

Marvellous and unforgettable experience

Do yourself a favour and visit Iran. And if you would like a smooth, inclusive and carefree experience contact SurfIran.
Everything has been great, Sarah helped us from day 1, there were a couple of small misunderstanding/miscommunication on behalf of the Australian operator, and Sarah went above and beyond to sort them out.

The guides were fantastic, we spent a day with Sarjat in Tehran, followed by the rest of the tour with Arya. I will always treasure the memories I’ve made with these people and all the knowledge they’ve shared with us. Sarah called everyday to check that everything was good. I was very impressed by the level of attention.
Hotels were great, clean, comfortable and top quality service.

Definitely an excellent experience.

Laura BesioVisited June 2018TripAdvisor

Fantastic honeymoon experience thanks to SURFIRAN

We had a great experience with Surfiran who helped us plan a customised honeymoon package that took us from Tehran to Kashan, Esfahan, the Central Desert, Yazd, Persepolis and Shiraz in 13 days.

Everything went smoothly thanks to Sarah who was extremely prompt over email and Whatsapp and kept in touch with our guides the whole trip to make sure things were on track. The guides – Hosein, Kian, Ali and Sajad – were all professional, attentive and spoke fluent English, each with their own distinctive personalities and all passionate to show us Iran from a local perspective.

I’ll admit we were rather cautious about going to Iran at first but the experience with Surfiran really changed our perspective. The level of service was comparable to what we were used to in Singapore and on trips to Europe and the hospitality and warmth far exceeding what we would have got from a mass tour.

Kudos to the team and we hope to be back!

Feng-Yuan
Singapore

Feng YuanVisited June 2018TripAdvisor

My husband and I just returned from our tour a few days ago so every experience we had is still fresh in our minds.

SURFIRAN arranged the tour just for the two of us. Though we had an itinerary, there was flexibility. From the day we stepped into Iran to the day we left, we were given very personalised service. Sarah, Sajad and Alireza are people we will long remember.

Never have we ever been to a country (and we gave been to more than a hundred) where we were greeted with warmth almost everywhere we went! People on the streets, in the museums, on the trains, at the airport; everywhere. The traffic in Tehran may seemed chaotic but it is somehow it flowed smoothly.

Out of bustling Tehran there's so much to feast the eyes. The ancient sights, the old buildings, the bazaars, the museums, the traditional accomodations, the desert and not forgetting the food! With two days extention on our own, we had 11 wonderful days in Iran!

Irene OngVisited February 2017Email

I visited Iran on September 2016 with SURFIRAN. Iran is an amazing country with much to see and do for everyone, and it is made even more enjoyable by the friendly & knowledgeable tour guides & locals.

Matthew ChanVisited September 2016Email

My colleague and I are in tea business. We are working on a book about the stories of people behind your cup of tea. We were looking for someone to help us getting introduced to the tea industry and show us around in Gilan. SURFIRAN arranged everything for us: the contacts, the meetings, the cultural activities and the logistics.

We were overwhelmed by the friendliness, the hospitality and the professional approach of both the team of SURFIRAN in Teheran and the guides they work with.

It was business, but it never felt like that. It felt like coming home. We are already planning a next tour with a group!

DeirdreVisited August 2017TripAdvisor
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