There is no doubt that mysterious Iran is a thrilling travel destination, mainly because the country has been portrayed as a dangerous travel destination for US citizens, as so many people have been detained and jailed on trumpeted-up espionage charges. So, can Americans safely travel to Iran?
Americans can travel to Iran if they apply for visas at the Embassy of Pakistan’s Iranian Interest Section in Washington DC. Their passports must be valid for six months following their exit date, have empty passport pages for entry and exit stamps, and they must submit their travel itinerary and tour guide’s information for approval.
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Can US Citizens Travel To Iran In 2022?
The great news is that American citizens can travel to Iran, one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating civilizations.
Iran is a prime travel destination with 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and ancient ruins that are thousands of years old and date back to the Elamite Kingdoms, the Persian Empire, and the conquests of Alexander the Great.
Home to adorable Persian cats, and a rich melting pot of cultures, this unique country has one of the youngest populations in the world (60% are under 30 years old), and it even has its solar calendar, with weekends taking place on Thursdays and Fridays.
Iran is one of those rare countries where ancient traditions and religious confines have culminated in a region where ultra-conservative and progressive, open-minded young people mingle with ancient nomadic tribes at buzzing spice markets, and families enjoy midnight picnics.
So, Iran is perfect for travelers who are fascinated by history and want to experience the thrill of traveling to a unique country that is not a typical travel destination for most US citizens.
Is It Safe For Americans To Visit Iran?
While most Americans that have traveled to Iran and experienced the country’s warm welcome were pleasantly surprised by their positive experience and will gladly return. There have been isolated incidences that have received a lot of bad press in the western world.
So, it’s no wonder the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs advises its citizens not to travel to Iran, especially US and Iranian dual citizens.
The US government’s travel advisory was issued because there have been wrongful detentions and arrests of academics, journalists, business travelers, and students on spurious charges.
However, the fact remains that 2-9-million foreigners have traveled to Iran, which would not be the case if the region is perceived as incredibly dangerous.
Moreover, the fact that Lonely Planet’s second addition concerning Iran is selling reasonably well is an excellent indicator of a lot of interest in the country.
While there are undoubtedly dangerous areas in Iran, like regions that border Iraq and Afghanistan, including the Balochistan province, most travelers are safe in Iranian touristy areas.
Do Americans Need A Visa For Iran?
US citizens must apply for a visa at the Embassy of Pakistan’s Iranian Interest Section located in Washington DC at least six weeks before departure and submit their itinerary and tour guide information for approval.
Furthermore, US visitors will need a passport that is valid for at least six months following their exit from Iran, with one blank page for an entry stamp and another for an exit stamp.
US citizens may travel from Dubai to Kish Island without a visa. However, they are not permitted entry to Iran’s mainland without a visa.
Although, it is essential to point out that some countries are eligible for 7-day visas upon arrival in Teheran, so it’s a time-saving workaround for Americans with dual citizenship and passports for qualifying countries.
While the Iranian visa application process can be complicated for applicants from any country and especially difficult for Americans, the incredible experience of exploring the fascinating country will make up for all that admin.
Do Iranians Like Americans?
Contrary to the media’s negative and stereotypical portrayal of Iran as a dictatorship where Americans are actively disliked, it’s only fearmongering and sensationalist.
Iranians are incredibly warm and welcoming, to such an extent that Americans and other foreign guests are often invited to their homes for a steaming cup of Persian tea and a chat.
The locals are always interested in which country foreigners, like Americans, come from and learning more about their cultures and what it is like living in that country, mainly because they are so isolated from the western world.
Can You Drink Alcohol In Iranian Hotels?
Consuming alcohol has been prohibited in Iran since 1979, so it’s a “dry country, “although non-alcoholic beers or malt beverages are widely available for those who crave the taste. However, unsurprisingly, some locals source alcohol on the black market.
What Is The Food And Beverages Like In Iran?
While bacon will never be on the menu as pork products are prohibited for religious reasons, and most US food chains are not operational due to economic sanctions, Iran’s imitations of leading Western takeaways are fascinating and fun to observe.
Although most visitors would agree that Iran’s interpretation of western cuisine leaves much to be desired, a knowledgeable tour operator is essential as they know where the best restaurants or fast-food chains are situated.
And coffee lovers might have a relatively hard time in Iran as the country has a strong tea culture, so breakfast coffee is always instant or granulated. However, fortunately, Iran’s tap water is safe to drink, which is always a bonus!
However, Iran is also world-renowned for its delicious Persian cuisine with incredible aromatic spices and culinary delights ranging from local delicacies like mast-o-khiar, torshi, and succulent kebabs to healthy Shirazi salads.
Can I Use My US Credit Card In Iran?
Iran is essentially a cash-based economy due to the lengthy American embargo. With no ATMs accepting foreign credit cards, most visitors have to bring massive amounts of cash into the country and get used to large denominations with lots of zeros!
Although, with the favorable US dollar and Rial exchange rate, American visitors can afford to shop till they drop as Iran is a highly affordable travel destination, and swapping a mere $100 for the local currency will make them feel like instant millionaires!
Most bills are issued by banks and not by the state, meaning that some may be counterfeit. So, a relatively quick way to check that they are the real deal is to rub the bill’s number, and if it disappears for a moment, it is legal tender.
What Can I Wear In Iran?
Although it’s well known that American females need to cover up with headscarves and wear modest clothing in Iran as a mark of respect, male visitors are far less restricted.
So, while men are not allowed to wear shorts, they have far more liberty compared to women. However, interestingly Western-style neckties are also rarely seen in Iran as it denotes a person who is still devoted to the old Shah regime.
Most foreign visitors are also surprised to see that a vast majority of the Iranian population is comprised of young people who avidly follow fashion trends or wear makeup which is in stark contrast to stereotypical images of ultra-conservative Iranian citizens.