Foreign travel advice
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.
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 Foreign and Commonwealth Office 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.
Women, and girls over the age of nine, should wear a headscarf in their visa application photos.
Iranian visas aren’t required for entry to Kish Island where you can stay for 14 days without a visa.
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 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 – eg, 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.