We try to apply for a visa online, but Kirstin as a German and myself as a Dutch where rejected. We then applied via Tap Persia and allthough we got warned that it could take for our countries up to 2 weeks our e-visa document arrived within 4 days via email. The fee for Tap Persia was euro 50,- + 5,- per application. Be aware, this is NOT for your visa but for the service they provided.
We choose to pick up our visa at the Iran embassy in Tbilisi in Georgia. This embassy is only open till 14 hours. After 1 hour of waiting the officer send us away with a form. With this form we had to go to a bank where we had to pay euro 70,- per visa for a 81 day Visa. The counting of the days starts at arrival in Iran.
After we did this and showed our proof of payment we received our visa within 10 minutes.
Carnet de Passage
The carnet worked fine. Because the officer was unclear what to do exactly I pulled of the bottom part and handed this out to the officer. Then I told what had to be filled out and where I want the necessary stamps.
Crossing Agardak / Norduz
The crossing went very smooth. Their where almost only trucks and their drivers, no tourist and no civilians. To leave Armenia was easy, we just had to show the letter of declaration about the truck which we received at arrival in Armenie.
After this we crossed the bridge. The little office was full with people and finally they accepted my carnet.
The carnet took an hour, but the personal passport control was only minutes. A stamp on the visa and we were ready to go.
No checking the truck, no questions asked about cameras or the drone. Nothing but a warm: Welcome to Iran
Paying cash is very unusual here. Even at the smallest of shops. We exchanged € or $ to Rial but everybody is using a card to pay.
MAH card (via Tappersia) or Daricpay offer a debitcard but they charge an extra fee and an exchange rate which might be 7% off. So they are not the best deal, but they will make your life a lot easier in Iran.
Daricpay sends a card to any address in Iran and after picking up the card they activate it. Do not be shocked if a shop owner asks for your pin. This is very common!
1000.000 Rial is 100.000 Toman. Same note
The rate charge website used the most is Bonbast.
You can not exchange money at the bank. The only place to exchange money is the blackmarket on the street. We felt the best at the gold bazar. Every big city has one.
The third party insurance we could not find online so we went to Iran Insurance (government owned) in Khoy and bought a 7 weeks insurance for 1.790.000,- rial (€38,-) .
Our Dutch insurance does not cover Iran since it is a red flagged country. so we applied for an online medical insurance via TAPpersia.
To get a sim card for 2 months is easy. In every city there is a MTN or Irancell store. With our passport we could get a sim with 15Gb with an extra 20Gb for € 4,-
With this you have a useless sim. All the usual sites and apps are banned and our normal VPN is not working here.
The second problem is the phone registration. When you bring your own phone and you insert a sim and it registers in the network your phone will only work for 30 days. After this it will be blocked. Changing cards etc will not help!
Be aware: even after replacing my own Dutch sim card after 30 days the phone is not registrating anymore. So even calling emergency numbers (112) won’t work!!! And ee bought iPhone 14’s because of its satellite emergency system, but this also is not working in Iran.
A phone with 2 sim slots gives you 2x 30 days.
A portable local bought router cost € 30,- and with a router, even if you bring it from outside Iran, you can stay connected even after this 30 day period. Our build in Router Teltonika RUT X11 still works after 6 weeks.
I tried several VPN’s but did not get them to work. Erfan helped us and the VPN installed for us for € 5,- works for a month.
Diesel, the biggest problem
Get filled up before entering Iran!
Our biggest concern is diesel. Petrol and CGN is easy to get, but diesel is only available with a special pas. Because diesel is so cheap, the government is afraid diesel is exported illegally.
So we have to ask truck drivers to share their card. But if they get got, which might be via the cameras at the fueling stations, their card will withdrawn. The same for the station owners.
So diesel can cost via such a middleman around 5.000 rial/liter (€ 0,12) but even then you get only 20-50 liters. With our truck this is only good for 60-150 km!!
Diesel is often euro 4 or less
On some freeways there is a toll system. Signs are warning for an automatic etol system from www.aaniro.ir. We heard that foreigners do not have to pay. So we did not.
No western pincards, ATM withdrawals or creditcards will work in Iran.
So bring € or us$ which can be exchanged in all of the big cities.
There are cards we can use like Daricpay or MAH card. You can buy these online and they will be delivered to the major cities on your arrival. Charging is possible via Paypal or cash. We did not use them.
Lots of help from Erfan
Erfan is a student living in Khoy, close tot the Armenian and Turkey’s borders. He likes to help tourists and he helped us with all the above issues. it saved us a lot of time and mistakes. We thank him for that and wish Erfan all the best at the University abroad.
When leaving to Turkey you have to pay diesel tax so we heard. In the computer system is you tank volume and at leaving Iran customs will charge you around euro 1,-/liter.
We heard this would be also the case for petrol.
Our travel experiences in Iran
We wrote a “first impression about Iran” in our blog.