Last updated: 19 Jan 2022



Iran is located in the Middle East, bounded by Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, Iraq and Turkey. The centre and east of the country is largely barren desert with mountainous regions in the west. Tehran, the capital, is essentially a busy and modern city, but the best of the old has been preserved.

See a magic carpet at the Rassam Cultural and Art Foundation of Carpets in Tehran, which includes a carpet weaving school, and the Carpet Museum of Iran, whose oldest carpet is 450 years old.

Tehran is the country's capital and main hub. Mashhad is one of the holiest cities in the world, as it's the site of the Imam Reza Shrine. Isfahan is another major city and its Naghsh-e Jahan Square has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

See the several stunning mosques and the ruined citadel in the city of Kerman, in the southern desert region.
Official Name: Islamic Republic of Iran
Local Name: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran
Historial/Former Name: Persia
Capital:  Tehran (IKA & THR)
Currency:  Iranian Rial (IRR). Prices are sometimes quoted in Toman. One Toman is equal to ten Rials.
Language:  Persian (Farsi). Turkic, Kurdish and Arabic are also spoken. English may be understood.
Dialling code from SA:  + 98
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +3½ (1½ hours ahead of South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From 22 March to 22 September: UTC / GMT +4½ (2½ hours ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2022: 

Jan 6; Feb 11, 15; Mar 19-24; Apr 1-2, 23; May 3-4, 27; Jul 10, 18; Aug 7-8; Sep 17, 25; Oct 2, 13

Side of the Road: Right
Best time to go:  March to May and September to November
Best For: Archaeological Sites, Architecture 
Plugs:  230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are of the round two-pin type.
Drinking Water: Mains water is chlorinated, but visitors may prefer bottled water. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities in the cities, but less so in the rural areas. Visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs: As a predominately Islamic country, dress should always be conservative: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms, legs and head covered and wear loose fitting clothing.  Women should also avoid looking into men’s eyes directly.  Couples walking together should be married, and non-married couples should be cautious. The Revolutionary Guard will stop pedestrians and couples to ensure that Islamic law is being upheld. During Ramadan, smoking, eating and drinking in public are prohibited between sunrise and sunset.
Local Offences / Laws: Homosexuality and adultery are illegal, and are punishable by flogging and death. Military and government installations should not be photographed. It is always best to avoid behaviour which could be construed as suspicious and to ask permission before doing something which could be deemed offensive, as these can be considered crimes. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Check the local political situation before travelling. There is an anti-Western sentiment, and visitors are advised to avoid political demonstrations.  Avoid the areas around the Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan borders.  Credit cards may be accepted, but should not be relied upon. Cards issued in the US may not be usable. ATM’s do not accept international cards.
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Iran without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
Importing alcohol is illegal.
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited items include alcoholic drinks, narcotics, gambling devices, weapons and ammunition, explosives, counterfeit goods, anti-Islamic publications, and publications, photos and films considered to be against the religious and national dignity of Iran. Restricted items include animals, fish, plants, medicines (other than those prescribed for personal use), and telecommunications equipment. 
Prohibited Exports: All prohibited imports are also banned from export, along with antiquities and cultural artefacts. The export of gold is restricted to 150g and the export of silver is restricted to 3kg.

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 09/09/2021

Iran is open for travel from some countries, with various health measures in place. Passengers may be subject to further testing on arrival.

Flight restrictions

  • Flights from India and Pakistan are currently suspended. This includes transit flights through these countries.

Entry restrictions

  • Passengers travelling from or who have been to Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini, India, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia, or Zimbabwe in the past 14 days for more than 4 hours are not permitted to enter Iran.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Diplomats and staff of international organisations, provided they hold a permit letter issued by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
    • Iranian pilots on duty for simulator training, provided they hold a confirmation letter issued by the relevant airline.

Form requirements

  • Passengers must hold a completed Covid-19 Self-Declaration Form prior to travel.
  • Passengers must also complete a commitment letter accepting Covid-19 screening, testing, self-isolation and the costs occurred, and submit it at the airport on arrival in Iran.

Test requirements

  • Passengers aged 9 years and older must hold a negative PCR test certificate issued within 96 hours prior to arrival. The certificate must be in English, or approved by the Iranian embassy in the departure country.
    • This does not apply to passengers travelling from or transiting through European countries, provided holding proof they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 15 days prior to arrival.

Quarantine and testing on arrival

  • Passengers will be subject to a health screening on arrival.
  • Passengers aged 8 years or older who have spent more than 4 hours in the following countries or are symptomatic may be subject to further testing, and must remain in quarantine until they receive a negative result. Passengers who test positive must quarantine for 14 days at home (provided that the passenger signs a self-pledge confirming this) or in accommodation provided by the Iranian authorities: Argentina, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Namibia, Paraguay, Peru, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, or Tunisia.
    • This does not apply to passengers travelling from Lithuania who hold proof that they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 15 days prior to arrival.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
245 Melk S, Middel Str, Muckleneuk,Brooklyn, Pretoria 0181
PO BOX 12546 Hatfield 0028
Tel: 012 001 0555
O/hrs: Mon-Fri 0900 – 1200 (Submissions & Collections)

Visa Requirements

Visas are required by SA and all other passport holders.

Before applying, the supporting documents are to be prepared. All the necessary documents for the application will need to be provided.

1. Apply online at;  - Visa Grant Notice page with visa barcode (Authorization number) will be issued within 5-10 working days. See below with regards to documents required for online application and how to complete the online application. 

  • Passport
  • Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements.
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae - You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.
  • Digital personal photo in accordance with the requirements announced
  • Digital image of your passport in accordance with the requirements announced
  • Other Information - Some applicants, depending on the intended visa types, will be asked to provide additional information when completing online visa application.

How to complete the application: To complete the visa application, please pay deep attention to the following:

1. When you are ready, click on the button labeled “Start a Visa Application” below. Please make sure to have your passport, information about other IRAN visas you have had, if any, and any other documents relevant to your intended travel to the IRAN ready. You will need information in those documents as you fill out the application.
2. Follow the instructions on each page. Make sure you answer all the questions—if you do not, your application may not be accepted.
3. Your answers must be in English and must use the English alphabet. That means you cannot use letters like ñ, é, ü, or ç. For example, instead of writing “São Paulo,” write “Sao Paulo.”
4. When you are finished answering all the questions, the program will let you check your answers to make sure they are correct. Please re-read them carefully so you do not make mistakes.
5. Once you have checked your answers, you can submit your application. When you do, you will see an email verification page on your screen where you should enter a verification code. If you did not receive an email containing the verification code, resend verification code. Please pay attention to your email address. 
6. By completing email address verification process, you will see a confirmation page on your screen with a barcode. Please print this page by clicking on print button and write down the Tracking Code displayed on the page. To check your application status, you will need this Tracking Code to continue your application.
7. Electronically submitting your online application is the FIRST STEP in the visa application process. Some visa applicants will need to attend a visa interview, though some applicants may qualify for a visa without interview. You should wait your application pass all required process within 10 business days. By changing your application status, a Status email will be send to your email address. You also can check the application status by accessing the Check Application Status page.

NOTE:If you do not complete the email verification process within 3 days, your application will expire and you will have to start over.

2. After submitting all documents online, the following needs to be send to the Embassy:
a) The original passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond intended stay.
b) The original passport should have at least 2 opposite blank pages
c) Copy of online application form.
d). The original proof of payment according to the correct visa fee (Subject to change by currency rates).
e). Valid Travel insurance from or
f)The ORIGINAL Pathologist Test results; report for HIV, TB, Hepatitis B Test as  well as Hepatitis C Test, these tests should not be older than one (1) month. (Please ask the Pathologist to email the results to 
g) Visa Grant Notice page with visa barcode (Authorization number).

Warning: Travelers with passports issued by occupied Palestine regime will not be granted entry into Iran.

Visa Processing Time

Approximately 7-10 working days (SA p/port holders)

Visa Cost

COST:(Visa fees are non-refundable)
Transit visa R480
Tourist visa R640
Price of visas issued on other passports may be obtained from the Embassy. Confirm visa costs with embassy before depositing funds, as they may fluctuate depending on exhange rates.
Payment for ALL visas should be made by means of a direct deposit into the Embassy’s Bank Account. (Applicants should be sure about the authorization number before making any payments) 

ACCOUNT NAME: Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
BANK: Standard Bank
BRANCH: Hatfield Branch, Pretoria
ACCOUNT NO: 414 336 976
ACCOUNT TYPE: Saving Account

NB: Payment for the visas of SA passport holders must be done AFTER confirmation and authorization number has been received.
Fees are non-refundable.

SA Representative

SA Embassy
No 5 Yekta Street, Vali-E-Asr Avenue,
Tajrish, Tehran
Tel: (0098-21) 2270 2866/7/8/9
Fax: (0098-21) 271 9516

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever (Dependant on Country of Origin/Stopover)
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio
  Malaria Risk