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Iran is a constitutional Islamic republic with a theocratic system of government where ultimate political authority is vested in a religious scholar, the Supreme Leader.  Shia Islam is the official religion of Iran, and Islamic law is the basis of the authority of the state.  The Iranian Constitution guarantees freedom of worship to Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, though they are sometimes the subject of discrimination and repression.  The workweek in Iran is Saturday through Thursday; however, many government offices and private companies are closed on Thursdays.  Friday is the day of rest when all establishments are closed.  Offices in Iran are generally open to the public during the morning hours only.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Iran for additional information.



Image of Iran
Country Name: Iran
Continent: Asia (Middle East)
Capital City: Tehran
Boundary Countries:

Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

None at this time

Main Cities:

Tehran, Chabahar, Yazd, Bandar, 'Abbas, Mashad, Tabriz, Now Shahr, Qom, Shiraz, Bushehr, Ahvaz

Country Size: 1.648 million sq km
Population: 65,397,521



Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%.

Currency: Iranian Rial (IRR)
Predominant Religions:

Muslim 98% (Shi'a 89%, Sunni 9%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i) 2%

National Holidays: Republic Day, 1 April (1979)
Economic Status:

Iran's economy is marked by a bloated, inefficient state sector, over reliance on the oil sector, and statist policies that create major distortions throughout. Most economic activity is controlled by the state.


Islamic Republic of Iran Regular Forces (Artesh): Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force of the Military of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Niru-ye Hava'i-ye Artesh-e Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran; includes air defense); Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami, IRGC): Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Qods Force (special operations), and Basij Force (Popular Mobilization Army); Law Enforcement Forces

US Presence:

The Embassy of Switzerland serves as the protecting power for US interests in Iran. The US Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy is located at Africa Avenue, West Farzan Street, no 59, Tehran. The local telephone numbers are 021-8878-2964 and 021-8879-2364, fax 021-8877-3265, e-mail: tie.vertretung@eda.admin.ch. The workweek is Sunday through Thursday. Public service hours are 8:00a – noon. The Interests Section does not issue US visas or accept visa applications.

Document Requirements:

Should you decide to travel to Iran despite the current Travel Warning, a passport and visa are required, except for travel to Kish Island where a visa is not required. Travelers should not attempt to enter mainland Iran from Kish without a visa. To obtain a visa, contact the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan located at 2209 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC. 20007; tel. 202-965-4990, 91, 92, 93, 94, 99, fax 202-965-1073, 202-965-4990 (Automated Fax-On-Demand after office hours).

U.S. citizens traveling to Iran are fingerprinted upon entry. The Iranian press has reported that foreign tourists may obtain seven-day tourist visas at the airport in Tehran. However, U.S. citizens are not eligible to receive these visas and have to obtain valid visas from the Iranian Interests Section in Washington. Note: possession of a valid Iranian visa will not guarantee entry into the country. Some American travelers with valid visas have been refused entry at the border without explanation. U.S. citizens do not have to obtain a visa for travel from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Kish Island.

U.S. passports are valid for travel to Iran. However, the Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality and will treat U.S.-Iranian dual nationals solely as Iranian citizens. Thus, U.S. citizens who were born in Iran, who became naturalized citizens of Iran (e.g. through marriage to an Iranian citizen), and children of such persons—even those without Iranian passports who do not consider themselves Iranian—are considered Iranian nationals by Iranian authorities. Therefore, despite the fact that these individuals hold U.S. citizenship, under Iranian law, they must enter and exit Iran on an Iranian passport, unless the Iranian government has recognized a formal renunciation or loss of Iranian citizenship. Dual nationals may be subject to harsher legal treatment than a visitor with only American citizenship. (See section on Special Circumstances below.)

Iranian authorities have prevented a number of American citizen academics, scientists, journalists, and others who traveled to Iran for personal/cultural/business reasons from leaving the country, and in some cases have detained, interrogated and imprisoned them on unknown or various charges, including espionage and being a threat to the regime. Americans of Iranian origin should consider the risk of being targeted by authorities before planning travel to Iran. Iranian authorities may deny dual nationals access to the United States Interests Section in Tehran, because they are considered to be solely Iranian citizens. 

As a precaution, it is advisable for U.S.-Iranian dual nationals to obtain in their Iranian passports the necessary visas for the countries they will transit upon their return to the U.S. so that, if their U.S. passports are confiscated in Iran, they may depart Iran with their Iranian passport. These individuals can then apply for a new U.S. passport in the country they are transiting. 

Dual nationals whose U.S. passports are confiscated may also obtain a “Confirmation of Nationality” from the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland, which is the U.S. protecting power. This statement, addressed to the relevant foreign embassies in Tehran, enables the travelers to apply for third-country visas in Tehran. Dual nationals finding themselves in this situation should note in advance that the Swiss Embassy would issue this statement only after the traveler's U.S. nationality is confirmed and after some processing delay. Dual nationals must enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.

Visa extensions are time-consuming and must be filed at least one week in advance of the expiration date. As of March 21, 2006, a foreign national and anyone accompanying him/her will pay a fine of 300,000 rials or 30,000 tomans per day for each day of unauthorized stay in Iran. 

All Iranian nationals, including U.S.-Iranian dual nationals, must have an exit permit stamped in their Iranian passports in order to depart Iran. The stamp is affixed to the Iranian passport when it is issued and remains valid until the expiration date of the passport. All Iranian nationals residing abroad and in Iran, including U.S.-Iranian dual nationals, are now required to pay an exit tax regardless of the duration of their stay in Iran. More specific information on Iranian passport and exit visa requirements may be obtained from the Iranian Interests Section of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.

Non-Iranian-national women who marry Iranian citizens gain Iranian nationality upon marriage. If the marriage takes place in Iran, the woman’s American passport will be confiscated by Iranian authorities. Women must have the consent of their husbands to leave Iran or, in his absence, must gain the permission of the local prosecutor. Iranian law, combined with the lack of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, means that the U.S. Interests Section in Tehran can provide only very limited assistance if an American woman married to an Iranian man has marital difficulties and/or encounters difficulty in leaving Iran. 

After divorce or death of the husband, a foreign-born woman has the choice to renounce her Iranian citizenship, but any of the couple’s children will automatically be Iranian citizens and their citizenship is irrevocable. They will be required to enter and depart Iran on Iranian passports. For a divorce to be recognized it should be carried out in Iran or, if outside Iran, in accordance with Sharia law. Upon divorce, custody of the children normally goes to the mother until the child reaches age 7, at which point custody is automatically transferred to the father. However, if the courts determine that the father is unsuitable to raise the children, they may grant custody to the paternal grandfather or to the mother, if the mother has not renounced her Iranian citizenship and is normally resident in Iran. If the courts grant custody to the mother, she will need permission from the paternal grandfather or the courts to obtain exit visas for the minor children (under age 18) to leave the country. It should be noted that the term "custody" in the U.S. does not have the same legal meaning in Iran. In Iran a woman is granted "guardianship", and only in very rare cases is actually granted "custody". Even if the woman has "custody/guardianship”, all legal decisions, e.g., application for a passport, permission to exit Iran, etc., would still require the consent of the father. Iran is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Please see the Department of State’s International Parental Child Abduction flyer on Iran for further information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  321, Airports w/paved runways:  129

Tehran – Mehrabad International Airport (THR/OIII)
Tehran Airport, Iran, Head Office Building, Tehran, IRAN
Tel: +98 (0)21 6693 0934
Fax: +98 (0)21 6693 0934
Customs, hours: 24 hours
Tel: +98 (0)21 646 7589
Fax: +98 (0)21 959028

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

US Department of State TRAVEL ADVISORY Updated regularly. The complete TRAVEL ADVISORY is available on the US Dept. of State website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

 April 9, 2019

Do not travel to Iran due to the risk of kidnapping, arrest, detention of U.S. citizens.

There is a very high risk of kidnapping, arrest, and detention of U.S. citizens in Iran, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans. Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Consular access to detained U.S. citizens is often denied.

The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iran.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Iran, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page

If you decide to travel to Iran:

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Review your personal security plan and visit our page on travel to high risk areas.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to the Risk Indicators.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  38.12 deaths/ 1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 70.56 years  (male 69.12/female 72.07)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None
Recommended:  Malaria, Hep A & B, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters:  MMR, DPT, poliovirus

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is reported throughout the area.

Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from this region) include hepatitis B.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Basic medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities, but may not be available in outlying areas. Medical facilities do not meet U.S. standards and sometimes lack medicine and supplies.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 0
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

In 2006, there were reports of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, mostly in the southeastern Sistan va Baluchistan province. See www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs208/en for more information. Iranian authorities have confirmed outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flue) among wild swans in the Anzali Wetlands and in domestic poultry in the northern provinces of Azerbaijan and Gilan. There have been a number of fatalities from avian flu reported in eastern Turkey, 45 kilometers from the Iranian border.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +98
Internet Country Code:  .ir


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