Important COVID-19 travel guidance
Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including internationally, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. Check the rules that apply to you in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you intend to travel to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.
If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Entry to Iran
Entry is permitted to holders of an Iranian passport or holders of a valid visa. You should check with your local Iranian Embassy or Consulate.
On 21 December, the Iranian government suspended direct flights for two weeks to and from the UK following the emergence of a new strain of COVID-19.
All passengers arriving into Iran by air are required to hold a valid health certificate, issued by the health authorities of the country of departure. This must contain a COVID-19 molecular test performed by an approved centre of the departure country, carried out within 96 hours of entry into Iran. Non-Iranian nationals will not be permitted entry without such a certificate. Iranian nationals without such a certificate will be directed to quarantine locations for 14 days and will incur associated medical and accommodation costs.
Testing/Screening on arrival
You may be tested for COVID-19 on arrival.
People testing positive for COVID-19 may be required to isolate for 14 days.
On arrival, passengers may be asked to fill in a paper form giving their name, contact details and address.
Regular entry requirements
Please see the above section on entry rules in response to COVID-19. British nationals need a visa to travel to Iran. You should make your visa application well in advance of your date of travel. The application process for an Iranian visa can be long and unpredictable. The Iranian Embassy has told the FCDO that to get a visa you must either apply as part of an organised tour, or have a sponsor in Iran. Check with the Iranian embassy for more information and advice.
Check the expiry date of your visa before travelling. If you overstay your visa, you may have to remain in Iran until the situation is resolved. Some British nationals have experienced considerable difficulties trying to get visas from private online visa agencies.
If you’re transiting through Tehran airport, you should check visa requirements with your airline and the Iranian Embassy.
Women, and girls over the age of nine, should wear a headscarf in their visa application photos.
British citizens may enter and stay on Kish Island for 14 days or less by obtaining a visa on arrival. However, you must meet the following conditions, or you may be refused entry:
- you must arrange for a certified escort/guide, through an Iranian travel agent. The travel agent must inform the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about your visit at least 2 weeks in advance of travel, and receive confirmation that a visa will be issued on arrival. Advice and a list of registered travel agents can be obtained from the nearest Iranian Embassy or Consulate.
- you must have a hotel reservation prior to travelling. Your guide must pass a copy of the hotel reservation confirmation to the Immigration Office at Kish Airport at least 48 hours before your arrival, and meet you at the airport upon your arrival.
Some travellers have occasionally been denied entry to Kish without explanation. If you’re denied entry, you should follow the advice of your airline or travel agent.
Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date a visa application for Iran is submitted.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into Iran but are accepted by the local authorities for exit from Iran. If you’ve entered Iran on a British passport which has been lost, stolen or damaged the British Embassy may be able to issue an ETD. Before leaving Iran using an ETD, you’ll need to get an exit visa from the Iranian Bureau of Alien and Foreign Immigrants Affairs.
Previous travel to Israel
If your passport contains an Israeli stamp or stamps from other countries’ border crossing points with Israel, you may be refused entry to Iran.
Under Iranian law, all Iranian nationals must travel to and from Iran using an Iranian passport. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be Iranian, you may be regarded as an Iranian national by the Iranian authorities – e.g., if your father is Iranian, or if you’re married to an Iranian man.
In order to return to the UK you’ll need to demonstrate to the Iranian authorities that you have a right to return. At present, the Iranian authorities are accepting the presentation of a British passport on departure if you don’t have a UK visa in your Iranian passport. However, the Iranian authorities could change their position on this and it’s officially illegal in Iran to hold two nationalities.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Travelling with children
Under Iranian law, a female parent travelling with her children must have the (usually verbal) permission of the father to take them out of Iran. This is assumed to be the case by Iranian immigration authorities unless the father has petitioned the court, and/or the court has ruled to prevent the children travelling. For further information, contact the Iranian Embassy or Consulate nearest you.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 115 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.