UPDATE – Due to the current pandemic, the Iranian government has stopped issuing tourist visas but has announced that will reopen to tourists from November 2021. Things are still uncertain because they are not expecting a big crowd in November, so we will see. Here at Chasing The Unexpected, we are keeping an eye on the new regulations and will update as soon as something new comes out.
Forms to fill in, travel insurance, passport photos, visa application is always the least appealing part of travel if you ask me. As Iran has been imposing itself as a major tourist destination, more so after the signing of the historic nuclear agreement, knowing how to apply for Iran visa is becoming quite the issue, and since many readers have been asking me for information on how to proceed, I thought it might be the case for me to finally write a post about it.
How To Apply For Iran Visa – Table of Contents
- Iran Visa on Arrival
- Iran Visa Online
- Iran Visa Through an Agency
- Conditions for a Long-Term Business Visa
- Iran Visa for UK and US Citizens
- Iran Visa for Other Continents
- How to Extend Your Iran Visa
Iran Visa Requirements: All You Need To Know
The Iranian government has been easing the process of visa application for Iran for the citizens of many countries and is looking at engaging in reciprocal visa waiver programs with some 28 nations. These are all new measures in the process of being approved at this very moment so I will update the post if any change takes place in the regulations.
With an Italian (or European) passport like me, there are mainly two ways to enter Iran as a tourist: applying at the Iranian embassy or consulate of your city, either by yourself or through a travel agency, or directly upon arrival.
Depending on your needs, there are different visas you can apply for: Iran visa on arrival, Iran tourist visa online, long-term Iran visa, multiple Iran visas.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to get an Iranian visa, you always need to show your travel insurance when collecting or applying for the visa. The Iranian travel agency 1stQuest provides cheap insurance with less risk of getting rejected. Sometimes travel insurances bought abroad do get rejected at the airport.
Click here to check the price and purchase your insurance for Iran.
How to get Iran visa on arrival
Visa on arrival has been recently extended to 30 days, and if you are applying at the airport you will need:
- filled out Iran visa application form available for download on the embassy website or directly at the airport
- your passport with at least six months validation left
- travel insurance (you can either arrive with the insurance you bought in your country or buy one online or at the airport)
- two passport-size photos
- your return ticket
- copy of your hotel booking
- pay the Iran visa fee of 60 euro in cash at the counter (fee might change depending on nationality)
The countries that can get Iran visa on arrival are: Albania, Germany, Austria, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Spain, Australia, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Ukraine, Italy, Ireland, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Portugal, Peru, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, China, Denmark, Russia, Romania, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Oman, France, Palestine, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Croatia, North Korea, South Korea, Columbia, Cuba, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Poland, Malaysia, Hungary, Mongolia, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Venezuela, Vietnam, Holland, India, Yugoslavia and Greece.
The only European nation not allowed to apply for an Iranian visa on arrival is the United Kingdom.
The airports you can get Iran visa on arrival from are:
- Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA)
- Tehran Mehrabad International Airport (THR)
- Shiraz International Airport (SYZ)
- Isfahan International Airport (IFN)
- Mashhad International Airport (MHD)
- Kish International Airport (KIH)
How to get Iran visa online
If you want to travel with the visa already glued on your passport even if you are not joining an organized tour, you can apply for an Iran visa online. Iranian travel agency 1st Quest offers the online visa service pretty affordable and easy to do.
Why apply for Iran visa with 1stQuest?
- It’s cheaper than visa on arrival
- You can choose where to collect your visa
- You skip the line at the airport if you chose to collect there your visa
- No stress of getting rejected on arrival or at the embassy (even though it barely happens)
- It’s a pretty quick and easy process
What you need to do to apply for Iran visa online with 1stQuest:
- Fill in an online application form
- Upload a copy of your passport
- Upload a passport-size photo
- Pay 1stQuest fee, starting from 19 euro
When applying for Iranian visa online with 1stQuest, you will have the chance to choose where you want to collect your visa from, either the Iran embassy or consulate in your country or the international airport where you land.
Within 2 working days, you will receive the authorization code that you need to show to the consulate or the airport of your choice.
Applying for Iranian visa through a tour agency
An Iranian tour agency produces an invitation letter and sends it to the Visa section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When the MFA approves the letter, they will give the agency the authorization number. You need to take this number to the Embassy of Iran in your country and then will receive your Iran tourist visa.
If you are applying to Iran visa with a tourist agency or a tour guide and wish to get it stamped at the local embassy or consulate, you will need to provide the following documents:
- filled-out the application form available for download from the embassy website
- your passport with at least six months validation left
- travel insurance
- invitation letter from an Iranian tour guide
- two passport-size photos
- pay 50 euro of visa fee either at the bank indicated on the website or directly at the embassy (fee might change depending on your nationality)
- leave your fingerprints when you are submitting your application (this can be done only once, they will keep it in case you wish to apply for a tourist visa to Iran again).
Note: for the agency to get your authorization/reference number it takes around 7-10 days unless it’s an emergency visa request under circumstances which then it takes only 3-4 days.
These are the requirements for a normal tourist visa, but if you need to visit Iran for other purposes such as business, transit, family reunion or study, you will need to inquire on the specific procedure.
If you are a guest at some friends’ house, they send you the invitation letter, or you can ask a certified Iranian travel agency for the letter, which is better because getting the visa through them can take less time.
Conditions to obtain a long-term Iran business visa?
To receive a 3-month Iran visa you should already have three monthly visas on your passport.
To receive a 6-month Iranian visa you should already have two 3-month visas on your passport.
To receive a 1-year Iran visa you should already have two 6-month visas on your passport.
These are only business visa, for the procedure and necessary documents you need to inquire at the Iran embassy in your country.
There are many aspects that Iranian government takes under consideration. The nationality of the passport holder, the number of previous visas, the request of the company you are working with etc.
Iran visa for UK and US citizens
An exception to the rule must be acknowledged for British and North American citizens because they need to apply in advance and must have an authorized local tour leader to guide them during their trip.
Due to the interruption of the relations between Iran and the US and UK, and the resulting absence of reciprocal embassies, British and American citizens applying for Iranian visa need to do it at a vicarial embassy or in another country: British citizens need to go to Ireland while Americans can do it at the Pakistani embassy (I think, but you better double-check).
Iran and the United Kingdom have recently restored diplomatic relations and embassies in both countries have been reopened, but as far as I know, the visa process still goes through the Iranian embassy in Ireland. Very likely it is just a matter of time before they will do it in the UK.
Iranian Visa for Other Continents
Among the other Continents, Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Canada, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, and Pakistan can’t be granted a visa at the airport and need to apply at the Iranian embassy in their country.
On the other hand, they can travel to Iran and stay between 15 to 90 days without a visa the citizens of Lebanon, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bolivia, Egypt, and Syria.
Syrians don’t need Iran visa in the first 90 days, Georgians for the first 45 days, Bolivians the first 30 days, Egyptians 20 days, while the citizens of Lebanon and Azerbaijan don’t need a visa for the first 15 days. If they stay longer, they can apply for the visa anywhere in Iran at foreign ministry offices.
How to extend your Iran visa
It’s possible to extend your Iran visa once you are in the country. We advise you to talk to a travel agency in advance if you need to extend Iran tourist visa as they can direct you to an office of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in police departments.
To extend your Iran visa you need:
– A valid passport and visa
– An application form for a visa extension which can be found in the police department, the consular section where you need to go to request the visa extension
– To give a reason for the extension
– Always carry passport size pictures with you.
You can extend your Iran visa only in big cities of Iran such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Mashhad.
READ MORE: Travelling to Iran? Check out our tips to plan a perfect Iran trip.
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