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    Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

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http://iranfuntravels/visa

Do I need a visa to travel to Iran

IRAN:
All foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran except citizens of the following countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, Egypt and Turkey. Citizens of these countries can stay for up to 3 months without a visa.
For all other nationalities Iran visas can take from 6-8 weeks to be processed. Please allow sufficient time for this.

Iranian visas are issued in a two-step process:

An authorisation code for your visa must be issued by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A visa for your passport must then be obtained at an Iranian Embassy once the authorisation code has been issued.
For your nearest Iranian Embassy please check the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website: www.mfa.gov.ir. Please note your nearest embassy might be outside your home country.

Authorisation code/Visa Approval number and Iran Invite Number all have the same meaning but can be displayed as different names on different forms.
Please note the Iranian Embassy also now require a letter of authorisation to be submitted with your visa application form. Please speak to your agent to arrange this.

Step 1- How to apply for your authorisation code:

A visa authorisation application form will be sent to you immediately upon booking. Please promptly complete and return this to our sales team.

If you are arriving early or staying on afterwards this needs to be written on your application form. Please note due to government regulations citizens from Britain, Canada, USA, Colombia, India, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan can only stay one day before and/or one day after the trip start date.
As you are technically the responsibility of our Intrepid operator for your entire stay, only Intrepid-booked activities/accommodation are able to be nominated as part of this visa application.
If you do not receive this form at the time of booking please enquire with your agent.

For U.S, Canadian and British passport holders only, all Iran authorisation code applications must be accompanied with a detailed resume.
This must be a document that lists the passenger’s education and employment history – similar to what you would prepare for a job application. Due to heightened security measures, the name of the passengers' father and his employment history is also required.

Return the visa authorisation form together with a scanned copy of the first page of your passport and your confirmed flight details via email to your booking agent immediately. Please ensure all details are correct before sending. Any errors may result in your visa being denied or delayed. It is vital that you provide us with an email contact at the time of booking.

Our local operator in Iran will submit all visa authorisation code applications to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2 months prior to the travel date. Visa authorisation codes generally take up to 3 weeks depending on your nationality (this process can be much longer for Canadian, British and US citizens). Important note: our local operator can only apply for the authorisation code from 2 months prior to departure to ensure that the visa will be valid.
When approved, your visa authorisation code will be faxed to the Iranian embassy processing your visa (nominated on the authorisation form). Your booking agent will notify you of your authorisation code. Once the code is received please apply for your visa directly with the nominated Iranian embassy (see Step 2 for further instructions).

Step 2 - How to obtain your visa stamp:

Once you have received your emailed authorisation code and letter, immediately apply for your visa with your nominated Iranian embassy. You will need to provide a visa application form (usually you can download it from the embassy website), your passport, the visa fee, photos and insurance policy. Some consulates may have different requirements. You must check this before submitting your application. The cost of an Iran visa is approximately US$110 depending on your nationality. Please check with your nominated embassy for visa costs. We recommend all women provide a photo with their hair covered by a headscarf (not a hat). If you wish to personally collect your visa at the designated embassy you must also arrive wearing a headscarf. In order to collect your visa from the consulate, you must carry your travel insurance policy that covers you whilst in Iran. In our experience the turnaround time for your visa to be stamped in your passport and returned to your home address is normally within 3-4 weeks, but can take longer.
Please check with your nominated Iranian embassy for their opening times and processing times for visas (some embassies will say that it takes up to a month). Please note that Iran embassies and consulates worldwide may only open for 3 or 4 days a week and have very limited opening hours. If possible, visiting the embassy personally can speed up the process (even to one day). Visas are valid for three months from the time of issue. We will do our best to secure your authorisation code, however the final decision rests with the government of Iran, therefore we cannot guarantee when and if a visa will be granted.
Please check that the embassy issues you with a tourist visa and not a business visa (the stamp in your passport must state that it is a tourist visa). If you are issued with a business visa, hotels will charge you business traveller rates, which are often far higher than the tourist rates.
While not common, there are occasions where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects a visa application for a variety of reasons (usually unknown to us). Unfortunately we have no control over the success of your application and have little recourse if it is rejected. It is not uncommon for Iran authorisation codes to be submitted very close to the actual time of travel. Obviously this can be an anxious period but again unfortunately we have little authority to speed up the process.

A visa will be flatly refused if your passport contains evidence of travel to Israel. Note: this is not confined to just an Israeli stamp in your passport. You will be refused an Iranian visa if there’s an Egyptian entry or exit stamp from the Egyptian/Israeli border (at Taba or Rafah) or a Jordanian entry or exit stamp from the Jordanian/Israeli border (at Wadi Araba near Aqaba, Sheikh Hussein bridge or King Hussein bridge, otherwise known as the Allenby bridge) in your passport. Even without having an Israeli stamp in your passport, these exit or entry stamps prove that you have visited Israel and entry into Iran will not be allowed.
Upon arrival in Iran, women not wearing an Islamic headscarf, long sleeves, covered shoes and a loose fitting skirt or loose long top and pants may be refused entry into the country. Men must also be conservatively dressed, wearing long trousers upon arrival, or they too may be refused entry.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry usually closes over the Iranian New Year period (approx 12 March to 2 April) and will not receive visa applications over this time. Please have your visa application in well before this date.

Please note that US, British and Canadian passport holders will need to book this trip at least 2 months before departure as this is the length of time it takes to get the visa processed for these nationalities.
In addition, the following travel restriction applies: Passengers of the above nationalities must visit Iran on a guided tour and must pre-book all extra accommodation (up to one night pre accommodation and one night post accommodation only) and airport transfers with the same operator. Additional sightseeing can only be booked through Urban Adventures on either the day before or after the trip start/finish date. Return airport transfers are mandatory and they will only be issued with a visa authorisation code once all services are confirmed and only for the exact time they have booked the relevant services. Passengers of this nationality must also remain the in the trip leaders company at all times whilst in Iran.

Please note that any cancellations after the authorisation code paperwork has been lodged, will incur a $100USD cancellation fee . This is to cover the application lodgement fees.
Additionally, if for whatever reason, passengers need to apply for a second authorisation code, the above fee may also be applicable.

Iran travel FAQs
We are a travel agency. We would like to organize group tours to Iran.

Please consider us your frank business partner in Iran. Don’t hesitate to write to us, or call us (00989128032839) or drop us a line on social networks, particularly on Whatsapp. We will do our best to fit to your requirements and mutually try to get the confidence of our customers.

What are the toilets like in Iran?

Western style toilets are available in all the hotels we have contract with. However, when you are on the way by road you may have to use squat toilets. Before going to the toilets on roads, it is advisable to have your own tissue with you.

Can I use my cell phone while in Iran?

Mobile phones from other parts of the world may not work in Iran, although it's possible to buy a low-cost prepaid SIM card in most of Iran's large cities.

What is the internet access like in Iran?

If you are a travel agency, you can promise fairly acceptable internet access to your customers, almost everywhere in Iran. Besides, most of our vehicles have Wi-Fi on board. You can ask for internet access on board in every tour package.

Is tipping customary in Iran?

Most of inbound tours, that is foreign visitors, pay tips to the service workers, so the answer is Yes, tour guides, waiters, drivers and cleaners expect to receive tips. We have to add that most of the service workers do not directly talk about tips as they feel it is not polite to mention it.

Can I drink tap water in Iran?

Tap water is safe to drink in Iran. However due to the different mineral combination and density it might be preferable to drink bottled mineral water. If you are travelling with us our drivers provide you with mineral water as long as you are on board.

Are credit cards accepted in Iran?

American credit cards do not work in Iran due to the sanctions imposed on Iranian banks by the United States. However, visitors do not have any problem because money exchange offices are available everywhere in Iran. We advise our guests to change their currency right at the airport in Iran.

What is ATM access like in Iran?

As with the question above, ATMs in Iran rarely accept foreign cards, so cash is the main form of currency. Bring US dollars and euros, which can be exchanged into local currency.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before travelling in Iran?

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

What public holidays are celebrated in Iran?

Jan 11 Demise of Prophet Mohammad
Jan 12 Martyrdom of Imam Reza
Jan 24 Birthday of Prophet Mohammad
Feb 10 Victory of Islamic Revolution
Mar 19 Nationalism of Oil Industry Day
Mar 21-23 Nowruz (Persian New year)
May 23 Birthday Imam Ali
Jun 6 Shab-e-Miraj (Night of Ascension)
June 24 Birthday Imam Mahdi
Jul 29 Martyrdom Imam Ali
Aug 8 Eid-e Fitr (Ramadan ends)
Sep 1 Martyrdom imam Jafar sadegh
Oct 15 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
Oct 23 Eid al-Ghadeer
Nov 4 Islamic New Year
Nov 12 Tassoua
Nov 13 Ashura
Dec 24 Arbaeen

Many Islamic holidays and festivals are timed according to lunar phases, so these dates are an estimate only. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Iran/public-holidays

Do Women have clothing limitations?

Women have to cover their body and their hair in public (restaurants and hotel lobbies are public). According to the law, only the face and the hands of women may be visible, therefore it is best to wear a headscarf to cover the hair and a coat to cover the body. The body has to be covered in such a way that the skin of the woman is not visible. The hips, the legs and the feet should not be visible. It is best to wear wide clothing, so that the lines of the body are not recognizable. The headscarf should cover the hair fully. The color of the scarf and the clothing does not matter, and one is free to wear any color.

Do men also have clothing limitations?

Everybody has to obey the Islamic clothing rules in Iran. Not only women have to stick to the rules, also men have certain rules to stick to: the body of the men should be fully covered. Only hands, the neck, and the head may be visible. Short trousers are strictly prohibited. It is recommended to wear shirts with short sleeves rather than T-shirts. It is very important that the buttons of the shirt are not open. It is not forbidden to wear a tie or a bowtie.

Do women have to dress in Chador?

It is not necessary to wear a chador unless one wants to visit a holy mosque or shrine. Wherever the chador is a must, one will be given a chador.

What if women headscarf falls down?

It can happen that the head scarf falls down and does not cover the hair. In those cases most of the people advise one to cover up again. Also the police advise one to cover the hair.

Is it allowed to make up or wear sunglasses?

According to law of the country there is no limitation for making up or wearing sunglasses by women. Excessive use of make-up maybe in not socially acceptable in some Iranian cities.

Can travelers have alcoholic beverages in Iran?

According to Iranian law, serving alcoholic beverages are forbidden. Even if some people offer you to have alcoholic beverages it is wiser not to take them because many of them are fake. However, in Iran many local herbal beverages called SHARBAT are so tasty and interesting to new visitors that one doesn’t feel a lot the lack of beer or wine at the table.

Can a tourist carry his alcoholic beverage to Iran?

The simple answer is NO. It does not have any legal consequences for the traveler, however it will discredit the travel agency in Iran because the local authorities take it as the lack of proper and adequate briefings.

Is it safe to drink the water from the tap?

The water is drinkable, but it may contain too many minerals. It is recommended to have mineral water.

What kind of vegetarian food is available in Iran?

Kashk-o-Bademjan, Halim Bademjan, Adasi, are the most famous vegetarian food and of course they are really delicious. You can eat Kashk-o-Bademjan and Halim Bademjan every day and you still like them. Both these dishes are cooked and prepared with egg-plants. Halim Bademjan has a very small portion of lamb, but Kash-o-Bademjan is purely vegetarian. Mirza-Qasemi is another type of purely vegetarian dish that is cooked with egg-plants, eggs and lot of garlic.

Is there coffee in Iran?

Yes, drinking coffee is getting more and more popular in Iran. On every street in major towns you can find a coffee shop or a tea house that serves coffee. Of course usually the hotels in Iran do not include coffee in the breakfast at the table, while the coffee is available in the coffee shop of these hotels. We usually arrange it with the hotels that we work with to include coffee in the breakfast table.

What kind of bread do the Iranians have?

Modern bakeries produce all types of bread you are used to it and they are available almost all over Iran. There are also some local and traditional bakeries that produce flat types of bread. The tastiest of all is Sangak. Sangak is very popular among Iranians. Sometimes you might see long ques of people waiting to buy Sangak. Most of the times if a foreign tourist goes to any of these traditional bakeries called “Sangaki” the people offer him to not to wait and get his bread ahead of them. 

Other types of traditional bread are Taftoon, Barbari, Mashadi and many more. They are all very tasty when you get them hot.

Is there a lot of garlic in Iranian food?

Not really. Despite the fact that garlic is very popular in Iran, but many local dishes are without garlic. In the most Northern part of Iran near the Caspian Sea, or in the Southern part of Iran along the Persian Gulf coast mostly the local foods are with garlic.

What is the Iranian currency?

The Iranian official currency is Rial. Rials are available in coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 250 Rls.) and notes (100, 200, 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, and 10.000 Rls.). Coins are only marked in Persian script and numerals, but one side of the notes is printed in English.

Where can I exchange money?

Exchange offices are available at your arrival airport and in all the major cities. It is not a worry, we recommend you to exchange some money at your arrival and before you rush to our airport transfer guide.

How to find out about the exchange rates?

Exchange rates might go up or down on daily bases. The money exchange offices and all the local banks are bound to have up to date exchange rate announcement boards. I you don’t trust your guide you can go to one of these offices and exchange your money. In addition to this most of the hotels that we work with have the exchange rate boards.

Is it possible to pay by a credit card in Iran?

Due to the US sanctions on Iranian banks, at least for the time being, credit cards do not work in Iran. However, it is not a head ache, as you can find money exchange offices in every major city. We usually recommend to our guest to exchange some money at their arrival at the airport because there might be a holiday the next day.

Why don't you offer flights?

If you are a travel agency or an individual who wishes to buy the international flight ticket from us, you are welcomed. However, we believe if our guests choose and buy their own international flight tickets, it gives more flexibility and ease of mind.

We are a travel agency, if we begin cooperation, can you use our logo banner and flag all along the tours?

Yes, we have a good experience of working with some Spanish and South American travel agencies and we have been committed to the terms and conditions of our clients’ agreements. In all those cases our guests had felt it is the same travel agency he had been traveling with before.

If I am already in the country at the start of the tour, how do I know where to meet you?

After you have booked your tour, we will email the the detailed itinerary to you with all the departure information. This will include details of the hotel where you will join the tour. In any case you are always welcomed to call our call-center in Iran and get the latest information.

If I arrive in Tehran earlier than the tour, do I still have airport transfer?

The answer is YES. If you are a travel agency whatever is included in our agreement would be there for our guests. And If you are an individual applicant wishing to travel to Iran, the airport transfers are always included in our packages, even if you arrive earlier than the tour.

If I buy some expensive souvenirs, can I carry them on the tour?

Yes, you can. Our drivers are professionally trained for conducting inbound tours. They use ample cautions to take care of the luggage of our guests throughout the tour.

We would like to negotiate for one of your group tours. Can you offer us a discount or a different departure date?

We are trying to establish B2B partnerships with travel agencies around the world. We believe we will talk to professionals who know what they want and what they talk about. Therefor if you are a travel agency, we assure you that we do our best to adjust to the demands of your guests.

We like your tours but we would like to do something different. Do you conduct tailor-made tours?

We consider ourselves as the most flexible company in organizing tailor-made or customized tours. If you have a group who are interested in some form of adventure or solo travel at any part of Iran, or even combination tours with other countries in the region, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will try to suggest exactly what you are looking for.

I'm really interested in one of your packages; But I'm not sure whether I'm fit enough for it or if it's right for me?

Our expertise is organizing customized tours for travel agencies around the world. Even if you don’t like any of our packages or departure dates, you can drop us a line either on info@iranfuntravels.com or on the chat box and we will be available for consultations. We love to talk to our clients. Please feel free to call us.

Why should I buy from you, while there are many other travel agencies out there?

Every professional traveler knows that the  price comparisons does not mean anything when it comes to the quality. Obviously we work fro profit; but good fame and mutual trust is supreme for us. We have to be very considerate to build such a relationship. Honesty is the best policy. It is our moto hear in IranFunTravels.com.

what is a Traditional Hotel? What is different about them?

Generally speaking, “traditional hotels” are some old houses (usually not less than 100 years old) that are converted to small or boutique hotels. For many visitors they are interesting because it can give a sense of living in a house in a very old neighborhood. Most of the traditional hotels are there in Yazd, Kashan, and then Shiraz. Isfahan has started to develop these types of hotels. There are of course some reservations about them that professional travel agencies should be aware of.

I have heard that camels are the main means of transportation in Iran. Is that correct?

Maybe this idea has come from the old stories in Arab lands. We use the latest models of cars, coaches and buses. All of our vehicles are air-conditioned, with wi-fi on board very similar to the ones you might see in European countries. Of course if you are a travel agency, you have to be more cautious, because some cars are only face-lifted but the real car’s model is not new. That is to say you have to be aware of the vehicle’s model according to the owner’s documents.

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