Moving to Iran

Expats moving to Iran will find a country born out of a rich and tumultuous history. Iran became a unique Islamic republic in 1979 when the monarchy was overthrown by religious clerics. 

Most expats in Iran come from other Middle Eastern states and can be found working as senior management professionals in the abundant state-owned oil and natural gas sectors. Expats tend to be located in Iran’s capital, Tehran, which is also the political, cultural, industrial and commercial centre of the country.  

There are lots of exciting activities for expats living in Iran, from hiking and skiing in the Alborz mountains to relaxing by the Persian Sea or delving into Iran's rich history, culture and architecture. 

While Persian, called Farsi locally, is the official language of Iran, English is commonly spoken in business circles. Expats should always bear in mind that Iran is a culturally strict Islamic country. Women should dress modestly both as a sign of respect to the local culture and to avoid unwanted attention.

Although Iran is much safer than most expats assume, safety and security are concerns for expats travelling to and living in Iran. As a result of strained relations between Iran and the West, as well as regular spates of protest in Tehran, Iran can feel politically volatile for many expats.

The British Foreign Office and the US Department of State warn their citizens against travel to Iran as there have been incidences of foreigners being kidnapped. Expats in Iran are advised to maintain a low profile and to stay well away from any mass gatherings or political protests.

There was once a large number of international schools in Iran to serve expat populations from the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Denmark, France and Japan. However, most of these closed their doors following attacks on the British Embassy in 2011. There are some good private hospitals in Tehran, but the general standard of healthcare in Iran will not meet the standards that most expats are accustomed to, so it's paramount that those moving to Iran have a comprehensive health insurance package.

Ultimately, while expats might be enticed to move to Iran for career progression, it's not a decision to be taken lightly. Considering the volatility in the region and Iran's international standing, expats living in Iran are likely to feel more restricted than they would in their home countries, especially as some of their freedoms will be curbed.