Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

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Spaaider
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Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

Post by Spaaider »

Hi, I'm from Belgium and I want to travel through Iran(Caspian region) with my own car (entry Armenia, exit Turkmenistan) for 1 week in august 2014.

Is it absolutly mandatory to have a guide while visiting Iran?
The rules are a bit vague...
Does anyone have experience with this?

Greetings

Spaaider
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steven
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Re: Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

Post by steven »

I talked to an authority on driving in the region about self-drive in Iran some time ago. Here's what he said:

This is quite a hot topic at present. It seems that such a rule has been in existence for some time, and some visa agents are advertising it as a requirement, largely it seems to cover their own asses. However, the situation seems business as usual from the perspective of entering Iran with personal transport. There are so many different types of police and authorities in Iran, they never know what the other is doing, so there will be a way through.
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jill
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Re: Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

Post by jill »

We travelled through Iran in Aug 2013 and had to have a Carnet, a guide, a fuel card allowance to buy diesel - in the end the truck drivers bought fuel for us and we paid them as we could not get a card.
We opted to do as told in Iran regarding the guide etc, and not try and avoid the system.....
That being said, Steven you are so right: everyone has a different story and so it is hard to know, also what is right today is different tomorrow.
We simply went with the best info we could get.
I have just been enquiring about this again.... Seems the story with a different company , remains the same.
I would be most interested to know what happened with your traveling through Iran now in August?
Look forward to hearing! Jill in South Africa
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eurasiaoverland
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Re: Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

Post by eurasiaoverland »

Bending the rules is an Iranian tradition! Let's respect their culture :D

It is NOT necessary to have a guide to drive around Iran (as long as you are travelling with a passport other than US, UK or Canada - this is a separate issue).

Visa invitation agencies have started to insist on a guide in order to issue a visa authorisation number (which one then takes to the embassy to get a visa). This is, according to an inside contact, not an official rule of the Iranian MFA, but seems to be one coming from the agencies.

The simple way around this is NOT TO TELL the inviting agency that you will be bringing in a vehicle.

If you have a valid visa, you can enter at the border with your vehicle. Think about it - do you think every Turkish, Kazakh, Turkmen, Iraqi etc etc etc truck driver is taking a guide with them across the country??? Nonsense!

I speak from recent experience too. In June 2014 I entered Iran with my car at Pol (from Turkmenistan) and exited 31 days later at Jolfa (to Azerbaijan). No guide and no problems. In October 2014 I entered Iran with my car at Nordooz (from Armenia) and exited 10 days later at Beshmaq (to Iraq), no guide and no problems. Both times I had a carnet de passage.

And another note YOU DO NOT NEED A FUEL CARD FOR PETROL OR DIESEL

Both petrol and diesel are sold freely without a card - ask at the pump 'azad'. You pay a higher price (still cheap of course). I am not sure about petrol prices, but diesel (October 2014) is 500 tomans per litre free price (half that with a card). The pump attendant will produce a card and sell it to you at this price with no fuss. Very occasionally there are petrol stations which do not have their own car, in which case you can either go and find another, or wait for a truck / bus driver to come and let you use his (he may ask for a small consideration).

One further tip.... avoid the main Turkey - Iran border at Gurbulak / Bazargan. There are two other borders which one can use - Razi (from Van) and Sero (from near Hakkari) which are much easier.
Last edited by eurasiaoverland on Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ustrasse
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Re: Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

Post by ustrasse »

When we were there in October 2014 we had absolutely no trouble purchasing petrol at a discounted price. Usually the attendant put his in without us even asking, but the one time they didn't we just pointed at the card and asked. We also had no problem filling up our jerry can at the pump, and were not required to pay anything for it on the way out.

Petrol was 1000 tomans per litre with the card.
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Re: Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

Post by steven »

Great info ustrasse, will add this to the Iran driving article!
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eurasiaoverland
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Re: Is it mandatory to travel in Iran with a guide?

Post by eurasiaoverland »

ustrasse wrote:When we were there in October 2014 we had absolutely no trouble purchasing petrol at a discounted price. Usually the attendant put his in without us even asking, but the one time they didn't we just pointed at the card and asked. We also had no problem filling up our jerry can at the pump, and were not required to pay anything for it on the way out.

Petrol was 1000 tomans per litre with the card.
The card is required to operate the pump, and the attendant enters the code for discounted / free price. 1000 tomans is the free price, not the discounted price.
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