Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 29 November 2018, 15:26 NZDT
  • Still current at: 21 September 2019

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Do not travel

Do not travel within 100km of the border with Afghanistan, within 10km of the Iraqi border or east of the line running from Bam to Jask close to the Pakistan border due to the threat of terrorism and violent crime. 

Exercise increased caution

Elsewhere in Iran exercise increased caution due to the potential for civil unrest and the regional threat of terrorism.

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Civil unrest
Protests and demonstrations occur frequently in Iran, sometimes resulting in deaths and injuries. There were widespread protests in December 2017 and January 2018.  Political developments and tensions both within Iran and the region, and international events and sanctions against Iran all have the potential to trigger demonstrations and result in civil unrest. . Protests frequently occur at some Western and Middle Eastern embassies and UN missions in Iran.

New Zealanders in Iran are advised to avoid all demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as they could turn violent with little warning. Keep a low profile and monitor both local and international media to stay informed of developments that may have the potential to impact on your security. You should leave any areas where police or security forces are deployed as your presence alone could be misinterpreted, leading to your arrest and detention. 

On 22 September 2018 there was an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz in the south-west of Iran. At least 25 people were killed and dozens wounded.

On 7 June 2017, two terrorist attacks targeting the Iranian Parliament building and the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran, killed 17 people and injured 43 others.

A terrorist attack could happen anywhere, at anytime including in places frequented by foreigners. In recent years, there have been a number of small-scale attacks, bombings and kidnappings in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, usually targeting police, security forces and religious sites.

Due to the threat of terrorism, New Zealanders are advised to be security conscious at all times, exercising particular care in public and commercial areas. The situation could deteriorate rapidly and without notice.

Petty theft and street crime such as pickpocketing, burglary and bag snatching occur in Iran. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings. As victims of robbery are often targeted due to their perceived wealth, it is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as electronic devices, cameras and jewellery. Only use pre-booked registered taxis, preferably through your hotel.

Border areas/local travel
The Iranian authorities regard border areas as particularly politically sensitive. The border with Iraq is usually closed. New Zealanders in Iran should be aware of and adhere to any travel restrictions and care should be taken not to cross any borders inadvertently.

Many areas of the Caspian Sea and Gulf are also highly sensitive, in particular the waters around the islands of Abu Musa and Tunbs in the southern Gulf which are militarily patrolled. Foreign nationals have been detained for entering waters near these islands without express permission from Iranian authorities. Piracy remains a threat and mariners are advised to be vigilant and take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau's piracy report.

Travellers who intend on entering neighbouring countries by land should be aware of possible taxes, import charges or levies at these borders. Some countries also have minimum money entry requirements – travellers may need to prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves. You should check requirements with the Embassy or Consulate of the country to plan to visit.  

General travel advice
Travellers often have difficulties accessing funds in Iran. It is very rare for credit cards to be accepted in Iran because of financial sanctions. International bank cards are not accepted anywhere in Iran. There are no ATMs or money transfer services accessible for travellers in Iran. Travellers are advised to carry sufficient hard currency on them, including emergency funds (Euros being the most widely accepted foreign currency in Iran), to meet the needs of their travel for the duration of their stay in Iran. The Ministry cannot assist with the transfer of funds to New Zealanders in Iran, or advance cash to New Zealanders in Iran.

Certain activities such as undertaking study or academic activity, travel beyond well established tourist areas, or having contact with Iranians of national interest, may attract the attention of local authorities.

Do not watch or photograph demonstrations, military and government facilities or security personnel, as this is strictly prohibited and could lead to your detention or arrest. As military and government installations are often difficult to identify, and are commonplace throughout Iran, camera use is best avoided outside well known tourist locations. When in doubt, ask for permission. The use of drones or other unmanned aerial vehicles, while not strictly banned, is very tightly controlled and it is strongly advisable that travellers refrain at all times from using these items for photography or otherwise. Even travelling with these items can cause issues.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Iran to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour. Some religious sites have additional dress requirements.

A non-exhaustive list of illegal activities in Iran includes: close contact between unmarried men and women, homosexual acts, religious proselytising, importing pork or western materials, acting in a way considered to offend or challenge Islam and possession, use or trafficking of alcohol or drugs. Penalties for these activities can be severe.

Dual nationality is not recognised in Iran and for New Zealand/Iranian dual nationals there is a risk of being arbitrarily questioned, arrested and detained. It is highly unlikely the New Zealand Government would be allowed to provide consular assistance to dual national New Zealand/Iranian citizens. 

You should carry a photocopy of your passport identification page and visa at all times. Keep your original passport separate and in a safe place.

Iran lies in an active seismic zone, and is subject to regular and sometimes major earthquakes. Familiarise yourself with general safety procedures in the event of an earthquake.

New Zealanders in Iran should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place, and confirm that the policy covers Iran and includes provision for medical evacuation by air. The restrictions on transferring funds to Iran may make it difficult to pay costs relating to travel insurance claims (such as for emergency medical treatment).

New Zealanders in Iran are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Tehran, Iran

Street Address No 1, Second Park Alley, Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdasiyeh Street, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Telephone (+98 21) 2612 2175 Alternate Telephone 0044 207 6601157 (via London) Fax (+98 21) 2612 1973 and 0044 207 6601158 (via London) Email Web Site Hours Sun-Thurs 0830-1230, 1300-1500. Note Visa enquiries will only be responded to between 1000-1230

See our regional advice for the Middle East

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New Zealand Embassy Iran

Street Address
No 1, Second Park Alley, Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdasiyeh Street, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Telephone: (+98 21) 2612 2175

Alternate Telephone: 0044 207 6601157 (via London)

Fax: (+98 21) 2612 1973 and 0044 207 6601158 (via London)



Hours: Sun-Thurs 0830-1230, 1300-1500.

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