How do I move to Iran?

Ask An Iranian - Katya, a Russian Woman living in Iran -Stranger In Tehran

A question that has likely crossed your mind this week is, whether you should move to Iran or not. Well, you’re not alone. To help those wrestling with this decision we brought in Katya, the woman behind ‘Stranger In Tehran’. For ten years or so, this Russian-born lady has been using her platform to collect her experiences of Iran and to help others learn more about the place. For this episode David, our host, and Katya join forces to answer the question, how do I move to Iran? Listen here to learn more.

Questions we get answers to during this episode

Top 10 things to know before visiting or moving to Iran

If for whatever reason you’re thinking of moving to Iran, there are many things that you should consider. Firstly, consider checking through a great many other resources before you check our list below, such as this guide or the helpful website Living In Tehran. Aside from that, we’ve put a helpful list below, to help prepare you for a big move, or a short visit:

  1. Iran is a predominantly Muslim nation and you must respect the related laws
  2. You will need to follow dress-codes — differs for men and women
  3. English is used in written form around Iran, such as signs and menus
  4. You cannot use international credit cards in Iran, but can get a debit card
  5. The weather in Iran can vary wildly in different places, e.g. it snows in Tehran
  6. Dual nationality is not recognised for Iranians in Iran
  7. Social protocol (“taarof“) is complex, get familiar with it to save face
  8. Iran’s official currency is Rials, but Iranians say Tomans (1 Toman = 10 Rials)
  9. Iran observes its own calendar — the weeks start Saturday and end Friday
  10. Avoid physical interactions with the opposite gender

How to follow Katya — ‘Stranger In Tehran’ — online?

Katya is very active online, helping foreigners see a different side of Iran as well as helping them learn Persian (Farsi). So be sure to follow Katya, or Stranger in Tehran on Instagram here. Be sure to also check out her website,, where you can read her blog, learn Persian and get helpful tips on traveling in Iran.

Translation of Persian (Farsi) words used during the episode

PersianEnglish translations
“Tsk” (clicking sound)“No”
Taarof:The term for Iranian social protocol
Chaaadoor:A style of Islamic dress/cover for woman
Zanet chetoreh?:“How’s your wife?” – yeah, try not to ask this question
Kaaghaz baazi:“Paper play” – a term meaning excessive bureaucracy
Kaart e Melli:“National Card” – essential ID for Iranians
Paarty:Meaning, to have connections
Gorboneat beram:“I’ll sacrifice myself for you”- a term use by an Iranian OG
Chaakerim: “I am your paid servant” – a term use by an Iranian OG
Salaamat bashid“Be in good health” – polite response to being wished well

Picture credit: photography of Katya, by ‘Stranger In Tehran’.

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  1. سلام. می‌خوام کامنت فارسی بذارم چون برام سخته این نظرات رو به انگلیسی ترجمه کنم. :)) فکر می‌کنم کمی مهمون این قسمت رو معذب کردید و خب وقتی می‌خواهید بیشتر خودتون گفت‌وگو کنید پس چرا تمام مدت مهمون دارید؟ می‌تونید یه ربع یا بیست دقیقه بهش فرصت بدید صحبت کنه و خداحافظی کنید و بعد خودتون بشینید به گفت‌وگو. و این هم باید بگم که به عنوان یه خانم واقعاً معذب کننده بود وقتی راجع به چک کردن اون قسمت از بدن آقایون صحبت کردید. ولی در کل «خسته نباشید» و موفق باشید

  2. Hello,

    I would love to move to Iran. I need assistance doing this. Please help me. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • Hi Victor. Thank you for getting in touch. Some details about how non-nationals can move to Iran were mentioned in this episode. Beyond those details, it’s not so easy to go into. We would recommend searching online to find out more. We’re sorry we can’t help you any more at this point.

  3. This is website is insulting to actual Iranians. No useful information is given and all it does is reinforce orientalist stereotypes of the region. Visit this site if you want superficial explanations of a society given to you by western chauvinists.

  4. Malcolmboill

    Hello. And Bye.

  5. Jim Corriere

    The basket of humanities’ beginning, places and people where humans first learned to live communally. Theocracy leaders have destroyed this beautiful country, living only for themselves, the root of narcissism and petulance. Oh so sad…

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