There are a couple of things that make travelling to Iran a bit harder. I was wondering if the following now has changed because of the end of sanctions:

  • using bank cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)
  • online hotel reservations (which are really, really hard)

I did not find any information yet about these. I am interested in knowing if there is already, or when will be a change (or not).

(I am planning to visit Iran early this year).

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    I presume you've heard about recent changes to the US visa waiver program affecting those who have traveled to Iran. – phoog Feb 4 '16 at 15:37
  • Thanks for the link (others will find it useful), I have heard and unfortunately effected by this short-sighted paranoid bullsh. What next? I will be forced back from a business trip to the States because I visited the Pyramids? These people have lost their minds. – atoth Feb 4 '16 at 15:45
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    Well, you won't necessarily be forced back from a business trip to the US; you'll be forced to spend USD 160 for a visa application before you can go. Although I wonder about the acceptance rate for visa applications from otherwise-VWP-eligible travelers who are ineligible because of these changes. – phoog Feb 4 '16 at 15:54

Me think it will take some times before all the banking and tourist/hotel infrastructure gets up to par with the rest of the world.

  1. Banks/Credit cards/ATM/Debit cards: I assume they will need to get some sort of international accreditation to allow PLUS/Cirrus/Maestro networking and other basic international banking service to be common in Iran.

  2. Hotels: Most (all?) large hotel chains are absent in Iran, so they do not have the online/offline booking services that we have elsewhere. Once big hotel chains see there is money to be made in Iran, then you will see more and more online booking available, not only from big chains, but also from small independent hotels.

For now, and the next couple of months (years?) I imagine nothing will change for regular travelers.

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    These are my guesses as well, but I need some hard data. I am pretty sure that people living in Iran are eager to get these basic things as well - so they might know a lot more. – atoth Feb 4 '16 at 16:08

To give a counter voice to Max' answer, I actually think that online booking will be available very quickly. Not for large hotel chains, but for services like AirBNB and Hostelworld. Plenty of Iranians have accounts abroad but now, American law no longer prevents American businesses from doing business with Iran.

I'm not sure if the link will hold, but some properties seem to already be bookable online. Here's one.

As far as international banking is concerned, I'm reasonably sure that the Iranian banking system has been connected to the rest of the world for years. The connection could just not be used because of sanctions. So, here, too, I think things will changes reasonably quickly. Credit card payments within Iran might take a bit longer to get off the ground, but using ATMs with foreign cards will be available sooner.

My estimate is that, before the end of the year, some ATMs in Iran will work with international cards and most big cities will offer competitive accommodation that will be bookable online.

  • Thanks for your suggestions. I think airbnb is illegal in many conservative countries and what I think about Iran is that it won't be welcome by the authorities. (Though I do hope I will be wrong :)). – atoth Feb 4 '16 at 19:29
  • Interesting in that airbnb is illegal in many conservative countries. I just checked UAE, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Indonesia and found hosts in all of them. In which countries is airbnb illegal according to local law? – MastaBaba Feb 4 '16 at 22:42
  • Mmm, I guess that happens when you are not checking rumors. I don't recall where I heard that, that people doing it but illegal, so you should stick to hotels... Maybe it was just rumors. Sorry! – atoth Feb 4 '16 at 23:23

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