Eli Orzessek finds the answers to your travel questions.

I really want to travel to Iran to do a group tour. I travel a lot for work and sometimes have to go to the US. Does Iranian immigration stamp your passport on entry and exit? And, if so, would getting an Iran stamp in my passport cause problems entering the US in future?


New Zealand is a member of the US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), which allows tourist or business stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Generally, all travellers need to do is apply through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (Esta) prior to travel.


Travellers are screened at their port of entry into the United States, and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT programme.

If you travel to Iran, you'll no longer be eligible for this easy entry - and from what I've read, your passport will be stamped. This applies to anyone from a VWP country who has travelled to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and/or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011. This doesn't mean you won't be allowed to enter, but you'll need to apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate before your trip and be interviewed.

There are some case-by-case exceptions for a waiver - say if you travelled as a journalist, for business purposes, or as part of an international organisation.

We have one more question answered by the Travel and Insurance Ombudsman Karen Stevens - thanks Karen for all your great tips over the past few weeks.

We are travelling to Europe in December and have travel insurance as part of our credit card. I have checked the small print and rung the insurance provider and all seems good - besides letting them know we need extra cover for winter sports. Is there anything we need to be aware of with this type of insurance?

The best policy for you will depend on your circumstances; in particular you should ensure you have disclosed all your medical history if you would like cover for anything that could be related to something (even a symptom) that you may have had before you travel.

Winter sports are usually covered, but cover can be limited - for instance in a recent complaint, a consumer was skiing off-piste and the travel insurer said that was excluded because he was not skiing with a guide.

Readers respond:


Brian Thomsen emailed a couple of weeks ago to recommend Columbus Direct for travel insurance. He used them on a trip to Thailand with his partner, after they had trouble finding insurance due to their pre-existing health conditions. He says: "The premiums are quite high but I think a small price to pay for piece of mind." Thanks Brian!

Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz
Eli cannot answer all questions and cannot correspond with readers.