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Iran: Information on the procedures to leave Iran by boat to either Dubai or the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 July 1996
Citation / Document Symbol IRN24390.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iran: Information on the procedures to leave Iran by boat to either Dubai or the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1 July 1996, IRN24390.E, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


The following information was provided during a 18 July 1996 telephone interview with a representative of the Valfajre-8 Shipping Company in Iran. In Farsi the company name Sherkat-é Kashtirani-yé Valfajr Hasht.

Valfajre-8 is the only Iranian company providing transportation in the Persian Gulf. The source added that although it is possible to cross the Gulf in a small privately owned boat, it would be a dangerous journey. There are departures for Dubai and the UAE from Bandar-é Abbas, Bandar-é Lengé and Bandar-é Horamchar. A ticket for either destination costs 20,000 rial (around US$50).

The source stated that Iranian citizens must have the following documents to cross to Dubai or the UAE by boat: an Iranian passport, a visa for Dubai or any other sheikhdom of the UAE, and a ticket. Visas for Dubai or the UAE are very difficult to obtain in Iran. People requesting visas for these destinations must have a sponsor or relatives in these countries.

Without all of these documents passengers cannot board the boat. Before boarding the boat, all of these documents, including the ticket, are throughly checked by members of the Iranian security forces. People who cross to Dubai or the UAE on a privately owned boat also must have a visa and a passport. Without both of these documents they will be considered illegal immigrants to Dubai or the UAE.

The Vafajre-8 Shipping Company provides ferry services for passengers and vehicules via catamarans and Ro-Ro vessels. Ro-Ro vessels weigh 50 tonnes. Additional information on the physical aspect of these boats is currently unavailable to the DIRB.

For information on illegal immigration to Dubai from Iran and on seizures of Iranian boats by the UAE costal guard, please refer to the attached newspaper articles.

According to Iran: A Travel Survival Kit, Valfajre-8 Shipping Company boats leave six times a week in the afternoon on overnight sailings to the United Arab Emirates (1992, 96). There are three classes of accommodation: while first and second classes provide a cabin, third class provides only a seat (ibid.). According to the source, it is unlikely one could travel as a passenger on one of the many cargo ships circulating in the Persian Gulf (especially through Bandar-é Abbas) (ibid.).

For information on maritime trade and transportation between Iran and Dubai (one of the sheikhdoms of the UAE), please refer to the attached report from the 31 May 1995 issue of The Guardian.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Valfajre-8 Shipping Company, Iran. 18 July 1996. Telephone interview with a representative.

Iran : A Travel Survival Kit. 1992. Hawthorn, Aust.: Lonely Planet Publications.


Agence France Press (AFP). 16 July 1996. « UAE in Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants. » (Nexis)

_____. 12 November 1995. Nadim Kawash. « UAE alarmed by Increasing Asian Illegal Immigrants. » (Nexis)

_____. 17 June 1995. Nadim Kawash. UAE Tightens Grip on Fishing to Curb Crime, Save Environment. » (Nexis)

_____. 21 July 1994. Nadim Kawash. « UAE Restricts Shipping to Curb Illegal Asian Immigrants. » (Nexis)

The Guardian. 31 May 1995. Robin Wright. «Dubai's Wooden Hulls Sunder the Blockade. » (Nexis)

The Independent. 8 April 1995. Michael Sheridan. « Iranians Landing Gulf Infiltrators. » (Nexis)

Moneyclips. 27 February 1993. « Embassy Denies Report on Deportation of Iranians from UAE. » (Nexis)

_____. 6 July 1994. « UAE Coastal Guards Seize Iranian Boat . » (Nexis)

The United Press International (UPI). 4 July 1994. BC Cycle. « Iran Says UAE Seized Iranian Boat. » (Nexis)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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