One of our most frequently asked questions for visitors to Iran is the dress code. We've put together this handy guide for women and men to know before you travel to Iran.
Men always have it easier!
As it so often is, the dress code for men is simple as can be. You could sum it up in just a few words: everyday street wear. Leave your shorts and flip flops at home and you’re basically good to go. We found long-sleeved, cotton or linen shirts to be the perfect attire for men. You can roll up the sleeves on hot days and it makes you look relatively classy. Iranian men dress sharp and take good care of their appearances, you’ll fit right in.
The Iranian attitude to dress code is more casual than you might expect, but there are definitely rules you need to follow. These rules are not observed very strictly, especially for tourists and foreigners. Don’t worry about maintaining your hijab too much, since in times you have forgotten about it, the maximum penalty will be a request (usually in a kind way) to make it correct. There are some minimum requirements for foreign women dress-code in public places.
Color: It’s a completely false belief that wearing must be dark in Iran. There is no limitation in this respect and we recommend you make sure of using light colors in summer.
The key rule for the Western visitor is the headscarf. These need to be worn at all times, but we find people get used to wearing them pretty quickly.
You can have your hair showing with no problems – you’ll see many locals with headscarves perched far back and held in place with a pair of sunglasses on the head, so it doesn’t need to be right up to your forehead
Manteau – The jacket
On the streets of Iran, most of the women prefer to wear a manteau which can be long, short, tight, or loose, and in different colors. Therefore a knee-long coat or top over your jeans or trousers will be fine. Tunics are an incredible choice for summer trips to Iran. In case you do not have a tunic, you can choose a long tank top that is layered up with a light cardigan. You may even have a dress that can be paired with skinny jeans. Many female visitors walk around in their jeans and encounter no problems at all.
For formal conference attire during the day, trouser suites coupled with a scarf is perfectly fine. You can change your trouser suit to a long dress suit or long skirt suit for evening wear.
Citizens coming from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Serbia, and Syria (if departure is from Damascus) are visa exempt. Citizens of Malaysia and Lebanon can travel to Iran without filing in any forms and obtain an entry visa at any of our airports or borders.
Citizens coming from America, England, Canada, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Somalia, Columbia, Bangladesh, Jordan and Iraq need to apply and attain a visa before visiting Iran.
Citizens coming from other parts of the world not mentioned above can come to Iran and obtain a visa upon arrival.
Whether you are coming from a country needing an issuance of Visa beforehand or from a country that can apply for a Visa upon arrival you will need to fill in the required forms obtainable from Mr. Amir Hossein Tootian at Tootiyan.firstname.lastname@example.org to be sent to Iran’s Ministry of foreign affairs before your departure.
Please do no submit the forms for a grant of electronic visa by yourself, instead email it to our colleague Mr. Amir Hossein Tootian at Tootiyan.email@example.com so he can submit it to the MOFA.
For individuals who apply for electronic Visas, and will arrive at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) or Shiraz International Airport these Visas will be given as a separate document and no stamps or signage will be made on your Passports.
Please note that citizens who need to have in hand their visa before departure should visit any of the Iranian embassies, consulates or Iranian Interest Sections before departure to receive a hard copy of their visa.
Visa on arrival will only be issued if you have received a reference number from the MOFA from our colleague, so please do not forget to fill in your forms and the documents that are asked from you.
What type of cash is acceptable? It is not important; USA dollars and Euro are accepted in Iran. You should change your money in a money exchange shop and they are all over Iran so you will have no problem finding one. Take note however that you need to have bank notes in very good conditions without anything being written or stamped on them.
Even common, major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are not accepted in Iran, so bring cash.
It is easily possible to get a type of Iranian debit card (prepaid) which can be used all around the country. You can ask your tour agent or your host to get you one. Almost all banks issue these cards in different amounts and against payment. But you cannot top them up and you will need to get a new one once you have spent all the money in them. You can get more than one from the very beginning (for instance, 3 cards of 1 million Rials each instead of a single card containing 3 million Rials) so that if you happen to lose one of them, you can use the other ones.
Please note that shopping in Iran is relatively cheap. On average your daily expenses will range from 120 to 150 Euros including accommodation costs. This is partly because the exchange rate of Euro/USD into Iranian Rials is high. So if you want to bring cash with you, calculating based on the suggested amount would suffice you during your stay here.