Official Global Travel Advisories
- Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice
- Avoid all cruise ship travel outside Canada until further notice
Check requirements for returning to Canada:
Iran Register Travel insurance Destinations
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Latest updates: Thorough review and update of the entire travel advice content
COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
If you must travel, check the risk levels specific to your destination and plan your travel accordingly.
Iran - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Avoid all travel to Iran due to the volatile security situation, the regional threat of terrorism and the possibility of arbitrary detention.
Safety and security
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
In an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, most governments have implemented preventative measures and restrictions.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- the obligation to wear a face-covering or a surgical mask in some circumstances
- the obligation to present proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are in effect.
There is no resident Canadian government office in the country. The ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance is extremely limited.
Canadians in Iran may be closely watched by Iranian authorities. Seemingly innocuous behaviours, such as the use of cameras in public places, travel beyond well-established tourist attractions or casual interactions with Iranian friends, may be misinterpreted and may lead to investigation.
Pakistan and Afghanistan
Bandits in border areas with Afghanistan and Pakistan are usually involved in drug trafficking and use kidnapping to secure the release of group members from prison.
Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan, is regularly affected by ethnic conflicts and is also a known route for smugglers. Foreign nationals have been the target of kidnappings.
Terrorist attacks may also occur in this province.
If you decide to travel overland to Pakistan and Afghanistan despite this warning:
- travel only on main roads
- travel in organized groups
- avoid travel after dark
The province of Khuzestan borders Iraq. It is regularly affected by ethnic conflicts. Foreign nationals have been the target of kidnappings.
Border with Iraq is usually closed. It can be opened on a case-by-case basis to allow the passage of certain foreigners or to give refugees access to containment camps located on the Iranian side of the border.
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan
The borders with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are open only to citizens of those countries.
Foreigners travelling in the vicinity of these sensitive borders often attract the attention of local security forces, which can result in short periods of detention.
There is an increased threat of attacks against Western interests and of terrorist attacks in general. The security situation could worsen rapidly and with little warning.
Attacks have targeted:
- foreign interests
- Iranian military and government establishments
- tourist attractions and popular public places
- nightclubs and entertainment venues
- public transportation
Further attacks may occur, and terrorists may also target:
- crowded places
- places with high pedestrian traffic where foreigners may gather
- commercial establishments
- local government offices
- public transit stations
- busy streets
- places of worship
Exercise a high degree of caution at all times.
Kidnapping for ransom can occur, especially in Baluchistan and in the border areas with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Foreign nationals have also been the target of kidnapping.
Use varied and unpredictable routes and schedules when moving from one place to another.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Violent crime affects both Iranians and foreigners.
Thieves often target four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Plainclothes individuals may pose as police officers and ask to see foreign currency and passports. If you are approached, you should politely decline to cooperate but offer to go to the nearest police station.
- Avoid showing signs of affluence, such as flashy jewellery
- Ensure personal belongings, including your passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Carry a photocopy of your passport’s identification page at all times and leave a photocopy with a relative
- Don’t surrender any documents or cash
- Stay in touch with family and friends, especially if you’re travelling alone
- Avoid walking after dark
Political demonstrations and gatherings occur.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Women may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Gender-based violence is common in Iran.
Some Canadian and Canadian-Iranian women have been stranded in Iran or mistreated by an Iranian husband or a male relative. Local authorities consider domestic violence to be a private matter and rarely discuss it in public.
Women and children require the permission of the husband, or an Iranian male head of household, to obtain a passport or travel document. They also require permission to leave the country.
The dress code is strictly enforced in Iran. Women must wear a headscarf and a long jacket that covers the arms and upper legs while in public.
Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country, and city streets are poorly lit. The highway system is relatively well developed.
Trucks run mostly at night, often without headlights. Motorists are reckless and don’t respect traffic laws. They almost never give way to pedestrians at designated crossing points. Parked cars may obstruct sidewalks on main roads in urban areas. Sidewalks are rare in residential areas.
Expect roadblocks and checkpoints.
- Avoid travelling at night
- Consider hiring a personal driver who’s familiar with local conditions
- If you are involved in an accident, remain at the scene until authorities arrive
Most taxis don’t have meters. Drivers often overcharge foreigners.
- Only hire official taxis from agencies or hotel-based companies
- Take pre-booked official taxis, which are safer than those hailed from the street
- Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter
- Never enter a cab if it already has one or more passengers
- Note the licence plate number and name of the driver when you travel
- Immediately communicate this information to family or friends
Trains are comfortable and punctual, but service is limited and slow.
Iran and the United Arab Emirates both claim sovereignty over the islands in the Persian Gulf and the military patrols the waters. Foreigners navigating Iranian waters have been arrested and detained. In September 2019, Iranian authorities specifically called for the seizure of Canadian assets and vessels.
Exercise caution if travelling by sea, including for recreational purposes, particularly around the disputed islands of Abu Musa and Tunb.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as transit rules are in place in many destinations. This could disrupt your travel.
You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Iranian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Canadians can verify this information with the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.
Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran – Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Iran.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Iran.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Pilgrimage visa: required
Press visa: required
Transit visa: required
Overstaying your visa period may lead to detention, imprisonment and fines. You will be required to remain in Iran until the situation has been resolved.
- E-Visa Portal – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Iran
- Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran – Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.
If you enter Iran with a transit pass issued by an Iranian embassy or consulate abroad, you may have to obtain an Iranian passport to exit the country.
Canadians have been denied entry into Iran because their passports bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - July 7, 2021
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has identified this country as no longer poliovirus-infected but at high risk of an outbreak. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
- In this country, dengue fever may occur sporadically. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Leishmaniasis, cutaneous and mucosal
Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
Cases of locally-acquired Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) have been reported in this country.
MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).Some people infected with MERS-CoV experience no symptoms, while others may experience mild flu-like or more severe pneumonia-like symptoms. Some cases can result in death.
Eat and drink safely, and avoid close contact with animals, especially camels. If you must visit a farm or market, make sure you practise good hygiene and wash your hands before and after contact with animals. There is currently no vaccine to protect against MERS.
Medical services and facilities
COVID-19 - Testing
Contact local health authorities, or the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test.
Good health care is limited in availability. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Iran is under international and Canadian sanctions. While these sanctions don’t prohibit travel to Iran, they could be relevant to your travel.
The Iranian legal system differs from the one in Canada.
You may be held for lengthy periods without access to legal counsel or consular officials if you are suspected of or witness to offences.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs and alcohol are severe. Convicted offenders can expect severe penalties, including the death penalty.
Iran is an Islamic theocratic republic. A conservative interpretation of Islamic practices and beliefs is closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws, and regulations.
Islamic law is strictly enforced. Breach of public morality, non-compliance with dress-code and making disparaging remarks about Islam, the clergy and religious symbols, including on social networks, are considered serious offences. They are punished severely.
Former Muslims who have converted to other religions have been subject to arrest and prosecution.
- Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religion at all times
- Be aware of your actions and behaviour
In 2022, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around April 2.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, refrain from:
Dress and behaviour
Iranian customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to traditional and Islamic practices and beliefs.
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
Shorts are considered inappropriate attire for both men and women. Women should carry a headscarf to cover their head at all times while travelling in Iran.
Intimate and extramarital relations
Public displays of affection between two people of the opposite sex, especially between a non-Muslim man and a Muslim woman, is not well socially accepted.
If you engage in extramarital relationships, you may be subject to severe penalties, including the death penalty.
Canadian women who register their marriage with the Iranian authorities automatically become Iranian citizens. They are treated as such by Iranian law.
Marriage between an Iranian and a foreigner is subject to the rules of conduct and Islamic laws. As such, an Iranian husband may prevent his wife and children from leaving Iran, even if they are of foreign nationality.
Iranian and Canadian family law systems are significantly different.
Iran doesn’t automatically recognize the orders of Canadian courts in matters of family law.
A Canadian divorce certificate is not automatically recognized in Iran.
You must get the Canadian divorce certificate authenticated by a Canadian Embassy prior to have it sanctioned by an Iranian Court for it to be recognized under Iranian law.
If an Iranian court doesn’t sanction your divorce, and you return to Iran as a woman, your ex-husband may request the Iranian authorities to confiscate your passport. As a husband, authorities may not allow you to leave Iran if you have not paid the dowry to your wife after divorce.
Iran isn’t a signatory to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Children of a male Iranian national, including Canadian-Iranian citizens, are in the sole custody of their father. They require their father’s permission to leave Iran.
To avoid any difficulties in Iran, consult a Canadian and an Iranian lawyer before travelling. If you're involved in local legal proceedings such as divorce or custody, seek legal advice regarding your rights and responsibilities.
Iranian law criminalizes sexual acts and relationships between persons of the same sex.
LGBTQ2 travellers could also be discriminated against or detained based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
If you are convicted, you could face corporal punishment, imprisonment or the death penalty.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Iran.
Iran doesn’t legally recognize dual citizenship.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Iran, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
If you're a Canadian-Iranian citizen, you must enter and exit Iran using your Iranian passport. You may also not be able to leave Iran unless you meet certain conditions.
Canadians, particularly dual Canadian-Iranian citizens, are at risk of being arbitrarily questioned, arrested and detained. Canadian-Iranian dual citizens should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Iran.
Mandatory military service
Military service is mandatory for male Iranian citizens aged 18 to 34, unless exempt. This also applies to dual Canadian-Iranian citizens, even those born in Canada.
If you are a Canadian-Iranian citizen older than 17 years, and planning to visit Iran, check your military service obligation prior to your travel. You may not be allowed to leave Iran without first having completed your military service.
It is prohibited to photograph (including with drones);
- government buildings
- security forces, military and police installations and vehicles
- public buildings, including airports, ports, bridges, embassies and power plants
Such sites are not always well identified. In doubt, seek permission, or refrain from taking the photo.
Always ask permission before taking photographs of local residents.
All luggage may be subject to search upon arrival and departure.
Customs officials may screen your electronic device.
Possession of prohibited items is forbidden and may result in detention and or imprisonment. Such items include:
- Magazines and DVDs with sexual or explicit content
- Satellite dishes
- Western CDs and film
It’s prohibited to import and consume pork-based products.
The workweek runs from Sunday to Thursday.
You must carry an international driving permit.
The currency in Iran is the Iranian rial (IRR).
The economy is exclusively cash-based. Credit cards aren’t accepted in Iran. ATMs exist only for local banking, for the use of Iranians. Due to international sanctions, it’s not possible to transfer funds to Iran using commercial banking system or money transfer company.
- Bring sufficient cash, preferably in U.S. dollars or euros
- Note that U.S. banknotes used must be in crisp condition
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Iran is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes occur.
Dust storms and sand storms may occur in some areas.
The rainy season extends from November to March. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges may be damaged.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 110
- medical assistance: 115
- firefighters: 125 / 123
There is no resident Canadian government office in Iran. The Embassy of Canada to Turkey in Ankara has consular responsibility for Iran.
Ankara - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Turkey in Ankara and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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