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Old 8 Dec 2011
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Has anyone been with a US register and plated vehicle in Iran?

I'm starting to plan a RTW trip. I live in the US and my bike is register here. I have Spanish and Argentinean citizenships so I think it will be possible to get the Iranian visa but I'm concern about to showing up at the border with my US bike. I know that I can get a custom made plate without the "New Jersey" on it but on the Carnet and on the title they'll see that I'm coming from the US.
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Old 11 Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by Martincito View Post
I'm starting to plan a RTW trip. I live in the US and my bike is register here. I have Spanish and Argentinean citizenships so I think it will be possible to get the Iranian visa but I'm concern about to showing up at the border with my US bike. I know that I can get a custom made plate without the "New Jersey" on it but on the Carnet and on the title they'll see that I'm coming from the US.
[You might get more response if you re-post this query in the "Middle East" sub-forum, rather than this "Southern Asia" sub-forum; most posts re Iran travel are in "Middle East. That said....]

You've posed a question/ situation which (I think) has not come up before on HUBB. I don't have a specific answer--yes or no--but here are some considerations.

1. Yes, you're (more) likely to get an Iran visa on a Spanish or Argentinian passport, than on a USA passport. USA passport holders normally are granted
Iran visas only as part of a "guided" itinerary, accompanied by an on-the-ground Iranian travel agency guide, pre-approved by the Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most non-US passport holders can get Iran visas for individual travel through Iran, but even Euro passport holders have Iran visa applications sometimes turned down for "political" or un-explained bureaucratic reasons.

2. You know that a US-reg bike can get a Carnet issued only by the Canadian Automobile Assn, Carnet de Passages en Douane - Canadian Automobile Association | Association canadienne des automobilistes. Because you must
submit a copy of your passport to CAA when applying for the Carnet, I would suggest you tel/ talk with Suzanne Danis at CAA about your plan/ situation before getting too far down this path; she has a wealth of experience and is very helpful.

3. Even if you manage/ decide to get an Iran visa on a non-US passport, and a separate Carnet on your US-reg bike, I suspect--don't know--that nobody will be able to answer the specific question in advance, that is until you actually get to the Turkey-Iran border crossing, and present those two documents to Iran Customs border officials. And then, I suspect it will depend on the overall political climate at that time, the "mood" of the Iranian border officials on duty that day, and how carefully they choose to examine your bike reg & Carnet. You could get lucky & sail through; you could get hung up/ delayed seriously at the border, or you could get turned away.

4. It somewhat depends also on how "important" Iran is to you as part of a RTW ride: do you want to just transit/ ride through Iran in shortest time, or do you hope to spend more time riding in-country. Iran is a wonderful place to spend time, but if you're riding thru only because it's the easiest transit route, you might want to have a strong backup "Plan B" to be able to continue RTW in event you're turned away at Iran border (even with Visa + Carnet).

5. There may be another option--if Iran is really important to you, and your
budget allows. That is, to apply to an Iranian in-country travel agency, explain your situation, including Visa + vehicle Carnet, ask for their help and to quote you the least possible cost to have them arrange a "guided" itinerary from the Turkish border thru to the Pakistan border. Using an in-country Iranian agency/ guide may ease any Iran border crossing document "ambiguities." (But using an in-country agency wouldn't be cheap.)

There are many in-country Iran travel agencies; one that did a superb job for a group of American riders in 2006, is
Iran Doostan Tour and Travel Agency Tour to Iran Travel to Iran Iran Touring and Tourism Travel Agency Tour Operator in Iran
That situation was different than yours, using USA passports + Turkish-reg rental bikes, but this agency is clearly experienced in working with unusual situations--politics allowing.

Good luck. Iran is great riding/ culture if you can manage it.
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Old 11 Dec 2011
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Many thanks for your detailed answer!

Definitely I'll contact Suzanne Danis. Iran is a country that i really want to visit, not just pass through. If I can't do it I might have to go through Kyrgystan and China. But I prefer to see Iran. If a group of American was able ride on it (in a tour) probably is an indicator that the things are no so bad as I picture. I live in the US but I can always say that I live in Spain and just bought the bike there as a part of my RTW trip.
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