Iranians buying UK Property & Transferring Money from Iran to the UK

Oliver Fisher has served the Iranian community in Kensington & Chelsea London for over 60 years. Whether you are looking to buy or sell property for business or personal reasons we can help you.

Buying Property in the UK as an Iranian

When looking to buy property in the UK it is common that you are required to produce evidence of funds before an estate agent’s seller can even seriously consider accepting an offer. This could be inheritance from a relative or even the sale of property or land in Iran. Both of course would be documented as to the source of funds and would be genuine reasons for receiving the exchange value of money from Iran. 

For Iranians, there is (1) the erroneous perception of sanctions violation / potential money laundering stigma, (2) the absence of any direct banking relationship and (3) (the final nail in the coffin) the extreme currency fluctuation.  Therefore, sellers usually cannot treat Iranian buyers seriously. As a result, Iranian buyers are in a sense inadvertently discriminated against and often find themselves gazumped / losing a property to another buyer of a different nationality with perhaps even a lower offer.  The next problem for Iranians is finding a firm of solicitors who understand the situation and carry out their due diligence correctly rather than simply refusing to deal with a transaction because the source of funds is from Iran. Sadly, this is the reality facing many Iranians in the UK’s Iranian community.

So how do I transfer money from Iran to the UK?

Transferring the value of money from Iran to the UK has never been illegal or prohibited. You must use an FCA regulated money exchange provide (1) proof of source of the IRR funds from Iran and (2) the GBP funds in the UK that are sent to your bank account. The reason is to ensure that the source of funds have not come from the proceeds of crime (Money Laundering).

To discuss proof of funds evidence, please contact us on 0203 2190145 or internationally on 00442032190145. Alternatively, you can email us at advice@oliverfisher.co.uk.

Bank account Restrictions and Closures 

It is not unusual for a bank to block funds, close an account and even terminate the banking relationship altogether. However, if you think that a bank has discriminated then (through  legal proceedings) we may be able to reinstate your bank account, collect compensation on your behalf for injury to feelings and legal costs. In the majority of cases, these are achieved before issuing a claim as most banks do not want the publicity of being involved in a race discrimination claim.

The background on EU / UK Sanctions on Iran

Even Prior to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) that resulted in the lifting of sanctions in 2016, the transfer of funds between the UK and Iran was never illegal but required pre-authorisation from HM Treasury. So long as the reason for the transfer and its value were genuine then individuals were not unreasonably denied authorisation / approval.

It is US secondary sanctions that remain in place and because of their extraterritorial jurisdiction (the ability of a government to exercise authority beyond its borders) banks, businesses and individuals with any connection to the US are still at risk of prosecution by the Department of Justice if they have a ‘US element’ such as a ‘US person’ or ‘US dollar’. As a consequence, several major banks have been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for violating the US sanction regime in Iran. As a result, EU and British banks refuse to deal with Iran even when the transaction is completed legally in their territories.

While we understand why British banks are avoiding any dealing with Iran / Iranian, we believe this practice is discriminatory to a whole class of British society. Many Iranians whether student or otherwise have had their UK bank accounts closed or blocked even though their actions are wholly legal.

We have regularly received calls from Iranians who have received funds in cash or from multiple individuals or businesses and have ended up with the funds being frozen and their bank account closed.

Helpful Guidance:

  • Always use a UK-based FCA approved Money Exchange and ensure that any payments you receive are from that exchange only.
  • Always notify your bank in writing in advance of any unexpected / unusual transactions. A bank knows your usual activity and a review of an account can be triggered when a large sum / unusual amount is received or transferred whether regularly or not.
  • Contact us immediately if a bank questions your transfer of money.


Please note that the above only provides general information and guidance. The above does not constitute legal advice as every case has different circumstances. If you have faced account restrictions or closure, then you should consult a solicitor to best understand and protect your rights. The above information is correct as of the date it is published.

Oliver Fisher has for over 60 years served the Iranian community in Kensington & Chelsea London. Contact us on 0203 2190145 or internationally on 00442032190145. Alternatively, you can email us at advice@oliverfisher.co.uk.