Iran shares borders with Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan & Nakhchivan, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
For an exact location of these and all other border crossings on the Silk Road, see the border crossing map on the overview page.
Iran – Turkey border crossings
Gurbulak – Bazargan: Between Dogubayazit and Tabriz, this is the busiest border crossing. It’s open 24/7, and transport will be likewise available round-the-clock. A bus drives Tabriz-Erzurum once a week (100 lira, 12 hours). Reza (05349641144) drives a private car once a week from Erzurum to Tabriz and back (100 lira, 8 hours).
TR -> IR:Very few Turkish buses go from Erzurum to Dogubeyazit. Check obilet.com or biletall.com. From Dogubeyazit bus station or flagged down from the road, minibuses drive to the border (5 lira). Once past immigration, taxis and minibuses await to take you to Bazargan and onwards to Maku and Tabriz. Money exchangers are available on both sides with similarly bad rates.
Updates welcome in the Gurbulak-Bazargan forum topic.
Esendere – Sero: This border is not 24 hours, but it is open for international travelers. Updates welcome here.
Turkey -> Iran: Buses go from Van to Urmia (Orumiyeh) (13 euro, 6h). Minibuses from Van go as far as Yüksekova near the border, from where you can grab a taxi to the border.
Iran -> Turkey: A taxi from Orumiyeh to the border costs 7 USD. Busy, but foreigners can skip the queue. On the Turkish side a lot of minibuses are waiting to bring people to Esendere. From Esendere, a bus to Van costs 6 USD.
Kapikoy – Razi: 1,5 by car from Van, roads are not in mint condition on either side. Most who cross at Kapikoy are driving their own vehicle. Minibuses run from Van to Kapikoy and from Kapikoy to Razi or even Khoy. On the Iran side, minibuses leave routinely for Razi and places onward. The cost for each stretch should be ~$10. Opening hours: 8 – 6pm (Turkish time). Come on time.
Iran – Iraq border crossings
The Iraqi government says they have 6 official border crossings with Iran, the Kurds have an additional 3 with international status so far with more planned. In theory all should be open, but due to political or security issues closures can occur at any time. We also have a forum topic on Iraq – Turkey crossing reports.
Parviz Khan: Border crossing between Kermanshah and Sulaymaniyah/Baghdad.
Piranshahr – Haji Omran: Connecting Kurdish Iraq (Erbil) with Mahadar.
Iran -> Iraq: There is a bus between Urmia (Orumiyeh) and Erbil. Leaves 9am everyday (January 2017). Costs $12, 4h drive to the border. There is also a bus from Tabriz – contact Nasser Khan at Tabriz Tourism information: +98 411 553 6594 or his whatsapp +98 914 116 0149. His office is near the bazaar. Apparently he speaks 8 languages.
Unofficial money exchange is available at bad rates. Border checks can take 2-3 hours. From the border, it is another 4 hours to Erbil.
On the Iraqi side you can walk to the border from the town center. On the Iranian side, you can take a shared taxi to Piranshahr, from where there are lots of transport options.
Bashmakh – Penjwen: Connecting Suleymanih with Marivan. There could be buses between Sanandaj/Kermanshah and Sulaymaniyah via this crossing. Crossing with your own transport is now also worry-free (before carnets could not always be stamped). Updates welcome here.
Khosravi: Still closed to all travelers?
Mehran: Definitely open for Iranians, but unsure about the status of this border for international travelers.
Chazabeh – Al Shaib: Should be open for foreigners.
Salamcheh: Between Basra and Khorramshahr. Definitely open for Iranians, but unsure about the status of this border for international travelers.
Soomar – Mandali: Reopened in 2014 after more than 30 years.
Iran – Armenia border crossings
Nordooz – Agarak
A beautiful, little-used border crossing with mountains on the Armenian side and stark desert as soon as you cross into/leave Iran. Traffic is very light here.
Experiences point to an easy, quick border crossing, but when entering Iran, there might be a man asking 1$ for insurance. Don’t pay. Updates can be posted here. There is a cafeteria as well as several exchange offices both on the Armenian and Iranian side. On the Iranian side, the rates are better than the official rate but worse than the street rate. No sim cards available at the border.
Armenia -> Iran
Comfortable Iranian VIP buses drive Yerevan – Goris – Tabriz/Tehran (12000 dram, 14 hr / 15000 dram, 24 hr). If your destination is Tabriz, you will be left in the outskirts of the city, where taxis are not readily available if you arrive at night – make arrangements for someone to pick you up if necessary. All travel agents in town can book it for you – just don’t count on the wifi working. Royal Safar Iranian contacts:
- Yerevan: +374 94 070089 / 099929050 / 096929050
- Iran: 09143929050 / 88544952 / +989142419050
Armenian buses ply the route Yerevan – Meghri/Agarak. From Kapan and Karajan finding transport could prove tricky/expensive, while from Meghri you will have to hitch or take a taxi for the remaining 8km to the border. Once on the Iranian side, taxis await to take you to Agarak, and onwards to Julfa (3$), from where public transport is available.
Iran -> Armenia
Royal Safar Iranian buses to Yerevan cost 1 800 000 rials from Tehran and 1 000 000 rials from Tabriz.
Iran – Pakistan border crossings
Traveling in this area comes with some risks, as the area is known for sectarian violence. Tourists have been kidnapped and killed here in the recent past, on both sides of the border. However, there is a steady trickle of tourists hitchhiking, driving, cycling and backpacking across, and we have not heard of stories with an unhappy ending since 2013.
As for passenger trains between Iran and Pakistan, after reading this newspaper report we wouldn’t bet on them resuming anytime soon.
Mirjaveh – Taftan: this border crossing is very long because of the armed escort you need in Baluchistan, so we moved it to a separate page: Zahedan – Quetta border crossing.
Mand – Pishin: We believe this border crossing is closed.
Gabd-Rimdan (BP 250): at the end of the Makran Coastal Highway. There were rumours about this one opening, and both the FIA (page 10) and the IOM (page 62) say it is a valid international border crossing, but is it really already open?
Fact is there was an agreement between Iran and Pakistan. The Iranians have it officially on the books since 2016 and there was some sort of an opening ceremony on their side. There seem to be ongoing problems with lacking infrastructure for import/export business, but people and goods do pass through here.
It’s definitely on the books on both sides and thus a legal crossing point. Now, will they (especially the Pakistanis) actually let a foreigner cross there? We don’t know, please inform us if you find out. There is also a bus between the border and Karachi. We cannot comment on the security situation in the area though.
Iran – Azerbaijan border crossings
These border points have closed repeatedly in the past due to strained relations between the 2 nations. Things are going well at the moment.
Astara – Astara
Updates here. The name of the border towns, Astara, is the same in both countries. Good thing about this border is that you literally walk from one town into the other. No need to find transport to the border, just get to Astara, and walk across to the other Astara.
Open 24/7. On the Iranian side, exchange offices offer much better rates than the money changers hanging around near the border. In Azeri Astara, the local market has money changers with good rates.
Iran -> Azerbaijan
Daily Tehran-Baku buses leave from Tehran’s West Terminal (15$, 24h). You can also easily pick up a taxi to take you to Astara ($40, 8h) – from the ‘stand’ in front of West Terminal, as you walk from the Azadi Metro Station.
There is a brisk trade going on across the border at the moment (due to recent devaluation of Rial, Iranian goods have become ridiculously cheap by almost any standard) and Azeri customs take forever to inspect. There are no exchange offices on the Azeri side.
By car: On the Azerbaijan side, you have to pay 4 AZN for “Customs” before entering the border area; keep the litlle piece of paper they give you, you will need it. The border guards are friendly and helpful, but don’t forget to tell them that you have a Carnet de Passages! Otherwise, they will not stamp it.
Just go to the Customs office or ask someone to bring you there, you need to ask around a little bit, it is in the “truck area” of the border. Be sure that they stamp everything right and take the right part out, be always with your Carnet! Don’t give someone your Carnet, although there might be people around asking for it — they’re scammers and will not give it back until you pay some money.
If you are an Iranian passport holder, do NOT pre-pay your “exit/khorojee” online, only pay for it at this border. Apparently they are not online yet, so you would have to pay again.
Azerbaijan -> Iran
There used to be huge crowds from Azerbaijan to Iran making it an all-day venture to cross. After the Iran Nuclear Deal, it got quiet. Since the Trump Sanctions, it’s hectic once more. Could take hours.
When crossing with your own vehicle, declaration can be quite confusing, but we do not recommend investing in a local “helper” to help you navigate the process. These guys are very tricky so struggling on your own might be a better deal in the end.
Open for international travelers, and seems to be more busy than Astara, with many Azeris crossing over to Iran for medical treatment and supplies.
Nakhchivan border crossings
Jolfa – Julfa: IR -> AZ: Hoards of Azeris cross the border to stock up on cheaper Iranian goods in the free trade zone and there is a strip of shops running along a pedestrianised street to the border. Decent exchange rates at the border.
Minibuses run to the border until 2 or 3pm, after which they stop. Shared taxi into Nakhchivan is 3 manat per person. The border is quite busy in the late afternoon with returning Azeri shoppers so not a problem to split the ride with others. It’s only about 20 minutes from the border into the city.
Poldasht – Shahtakhti: Likely to operate 24/7.
Iran – Turkmenistan border crossings
Sarakhs – Saraghs: Opening hours of the border are 8am to 5pm. Exchange from rials to dollars is available on the Iranian side but the rate is bad. Updates and questions in the Sarakhs forum topic.
IR -> TM: Mashad to Sarakhs is about 3 hours by road or train. The train is pretty empty so no need to book in advance. Taxi driver Rafi Khankhajeh comes recommended (0098 (0) 937 213 76 69 or 933 434 74 88). There‘s a small shop in front of the gate, your last chance to buy cheap cigarettes and change rials to dollars (or maybe even manat). Rate is not good, but not a total ripoff.
No transport goes right across the border, so once through the immigration on the Iranian side get a shuttle (about IR4000) to the Turkmen Immigration post. From there, once immigration formalities are complete, buses and shared taxis (max. 15$/seat) run occasionally to Mary (2 to 4 hours). Transport links are random though, and definitely slow later in the afternoon, so come early.
Gaudan – Bajgiran: Has reopened after closing in summer 2016. Post and read updates here. Open 8am-4pm (7.30 – 15.30 Iranian time). Slow: count 1-3 hours to clear the border. Money changing facilities are available on the Iranian border for a normal rate.
Iran -> TM: By public transport it’s 1,5 hour from Quchan to Bajgiran (every 2h from 6.30am, 8$). From Bajgiran to the border it’s only about a kilometer up the hill and you can walk this, or your taxi might drop you off straight at the border. On the Turkmen side, it’s 3$ to go from the border to Ashgabat by taxi, or 1$ for a bus to the suburbs of Ashgabat. From there you can get a taxi or another bus.
TM -> Iran: Take a taxi from Ashgabat to the pre-border point (~30 manat). There your passports are checked and you are put on a bus for another 30km to the border (10 manat). Once cleared, take a transport from the border to Bajgiran village (2$). From there, there may or may not be a bus to Mashad (20$, 4h, confirmation needed). Most people seem to get shared taxis to Quchan, from where there is a bus to Mashhad. A taxi directly to Mashad costs 30$.
Lotfabad – Artyk: Reports collected in the Lotfabad-Artyk forum thread.
IR -> TM: By car, it’s best not to come on Thursdays and Fridays (Iranian weekend), as the whole border will be half-closed. The process is confusing, and it might take time to get a stamp on your CDP on the Iranian side. “Helpers” charge a lot of money and are known to lie. One scam is saying that your carnet is only good for 5 days in Iran, any extra days will cost you $10 per day.
The latest report indicates no GPS was outfitted in the car on this border.
By public transport: from “Iran khodro taxi stoyanka in Mashad”, a shared taxi to the Artyk border costs 15 manat. Crossing the border involves hopping on a mandatory bus shuttle, 3 manat.
A share taxi from the border/Loftabad to the nearest town of Dargaz should cost 80,000 rial. From Dargaz, there are direct buses to Mashhad taking around 4 hours and costing 120,000 rial.
Gudri-Olum – Incheboron: If you are planning to visit the mausoleum of Gonbad-I Qubus, this is convenient. Reports and questions in the Gudri-Olum forum thread.
There is now a daily train from Gorgan to the border at Incheboron, and once a week Turkmen railways has a train between Etrek and Bereket, from where you could catch another train to either Turkmenbashi or Ashgabat. You have to somehow manage the 20 km from the border to Etrek train station (in Gyzyletrek). Schedule wise this could probably work in a single day, in the other direction as well.
In addition there should be a bus from Etrek to Serdar.
Iran – Afghanistan border crossings
Islam Qala – Taybad: Main Iran – Afghanistan crossing between Mashad and Herat. The security situation in Afghanistan is of course subject to change, but the border crossing is definitely open for foreigners, operating during daylight hours only. It’s busy. The Mashad – Herat road is in good condition.
Shared taxis are the quickest way to get to/from the border to Mashad on the Iranian side (4 hours), with a possible stop-over needed in Torbat-e-Jam. On the Afghani side, it’s about 2 hours driving from the border to Herat, with lots of shared taxis and minibuses willing to take you there. Latest we heard, a shared taxi from Herat to Mashad cost 15$/seat (2018).
Alternatively, there are also buses from Mashad to Taybad, and even to Herat, but not much cheaper than the shared taxis, and definitely slower at the border than walking across and taking another transport. If you would like to take the bus in Mashad, or in the other direction from Herat, get there early in the morning and wait for the bus to fill up, since there is no way of knowing when it will leave (supposedly at 7am).
Updates welcome in the Mashad to Herat border crossing forum topic.
Milak – Zaranj: This is officially a multilateral border crossing open to foreigners. We have no reports of any foreigner crossing. There are direct flights from Zaranj to Kabul.