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I came across this page mentioning that Canadian citizens need to be accompanied by a guide when visiting, but then goes on to say it may not be necessary.

Iran visa for Americans, British and Canadians
Since February 2014, the rules for Americans have been extended to include British and Canadian passport holders. Canadians, British and Americans need to be accompanied be a guide while they are in Iran. [...]

It seems that at least for the embassy in Tblisi, Canadians do not need a guide anymore.

The problem is that Canada and Iran don't have diplomatic relations since 2012, so I can't have a reference from an Iranian mission in Canada about this, and I couldn't find anything on the Iranian MFA's website. The Canadian travel advisory doesn't mention that requirement, WikiVoyage mentions the requirement only for US citizens.

What's the official rule, do Canadians need an itinerary and guide when visiting Iran ?

Update: I was speaking to someone and it seems possible to get an independent visa if you know someone there that's prepared to sponsor it, even a regular citizen, in their case it was a friend. Would having a private sponsor satisfy that requirement and if so what are the formalities for that ?

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    I am not an Iranian, but I can tell you that Iranian people are not like their government, you will be fine as long as you respect the culture.. – Nean Der Thal Apr 24 '16 at 21:16
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this is the author of Caravanistan speaking. Outside of my own site, there are quite a lot of references to this rule online. I just googled canadians guide Iran and came up with the following within the first 5:

Funny indeed the Canadian government refuses to mention that you officially need a guide. The info on my site comes from real-world travelers. The 2 options described (Tblisi embassy and shady agency) are the 2 options I know of to get in without a tour, confirmed to me by real people.

Do remember that in Central Asia, and Iran a bit as well, what is true today might no longer be true tomorrow. This especially goes for the Tblisi embassy, in my mind. Also, don't trust Wikivoyage for this type of thing. I would put much more faith into Wikipedia (I know the guy who updates it there and he is very precise).

Hope that helps.

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    Thanks for your input, the lack of any official guidelines on this is what worries me. If this were any other state but a temperamental one like Iran, it wouldn't matter so much – blackbird Apr 26 '16 at 12:50
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I cannot for the life of me find this information online. There is no representation of Iranian interests in Canada. You could try calling the embassy of Canada in Ankara for information, as they are the Canadian representation for those in Iran. Alternatively, you could contact the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the authorative source), or the Iranian diplomatic mission where you intend to obtain the required visa. Good luck!

  • Sorry if this information was more suitable for a comment on the original question, but I felt it was a little long. – jacoman891 Apr 25 '16 at 21:10
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    +1, but next time please consider making a comment for material such as this. This answer lacks concrete options for the OP, try this, try that should be comments. Thanks. – Gayot Fow Apr 25 '16 at 23:23
  • Thanks, I will do in future. I was on the fence, then realised I didn't have enough rep for a comment. – jacoman891 Apr 26 '16 at 18:09

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