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How to get an Iranian Viza

Tourists must have a tourist visa to travel to Iran. For citizens of many countries, visas can be issued at Iranian airports (and at Ba Honar port in Bandar Abbas) upon arrival in Iran(Visa on Arrival) , but for some countries it is not possible to apply for an airport visa and you must first obtain visa from the embassy or consulate of Iran in your own country.

To obtain a tourist visa to travel to Iran, first refer to the E- Visa electronic system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran. In this website by completing an e-form they send you a visa grant notice along with a Visa Authorization Code for you. (This system is designed in Persian, English, Arabic, French and German languages).Then you must print this letter. Upon arrival in Iran submit this printed page to the passport office  located at the airport so that your visa can be issued. You should note that there must be at least six months left from the validity period of your passport. (see here for further details)

Iranian tourist visa

important points:

1- Citizens of some countries do not need a visa to travel to Iran for tourism. At present these countries are: Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bolivia and Venezuela and some other countries. In the case of citizens of these countries, it is sufficient that their passport is valid for at least six months. However, for information on up-to-date visa issuance conditions, it is necessary to refer to the electronic visa issuance system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran.

2- E-visa Iran’s electronic visa system is able to provide different types of visas, but due to some political considerations and relations, it will be possible to provide some types of visas for citizens of some countries only through the consulates of the Islamic Republic of Iran in person. These countries are: the United States, Britain, Canada, as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Colombia, Bangladesh, Somalia (For information on up-to-date visa requirements, you need to refer to the e-visa system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran).

3 – Citizens of all countries with a valid passport, can travel to free trade zones of Iran, such as Kish, Qeshm and Chabahar. If you arrive first to this regions, then you do not need an Iranian visa and it is enough to obtain a 14-day presence permit at the entry points of these areas. (Refer for updated information to Iran’s electronic visa system). Foreign nationals who intend to travel to other parts of the country after entering the free trade zones must go to the Foreign Ministry office in the same zone to obtain an Iran visa. This law applies to all free trade zones of Iran (including Aras, Mako, Anzali, etc. free trade zones).

4. Citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada can only obtain an Iranian tourist visa if they travel to Iran on a tour and their travel plan is clear.

5. The issuance of visas to citizens of all countries (except Israel) is unrestricted by regulations.

6- The best time to apply for an Iranian tourist visa (airport visa) is 1 to 2 weeks before the flight. But to receive a visa through the Iranian embassy and consulate , you must apply one to three months before leaving for Iran. The validity of the Iranian visa is 3 months and during this period, tourists are usually allowed to stay in Iran for up to 30 days. If foreign nationals want to stay in Iran for more than the specified period, they must apply for an extension of the Iranian visa, otherwise staying longer than the specified period is against the laws of the Islamic Republic. To extend your Iranian visa, you mast go to the police offices of Iranian foreigners in big cities or to the +10 police offices that are open in all cities of Iran, 1 to 3 days before the end of the visa period. The visa extension process usually does not take more than a day. The visa extension period is equal to the initial visa period. You can extend your Iran visa twice, of course not exceeded total of 90 days. The cost of visa extension is less than five euros each time.

7- The cost of issuing an Iranian visa is different for citizens of different countries. It costs from about 10 to 150 euros. For information on the cost of Iranian visas for different countries, see here.

8- As some countries could be sensitive about Iran stamps on passports, your passport will not be stamped. The authorities at the airport will give you the stamp and sticker on a separate document to prevent potential problems in the future.

9- If you don’t have a travel insurance that COVER Iran, It is necessary to obtain an Iranian health travel insurance at the points of entry into Iran (Iranian airports). The cost of this insurance policy is usually about 12 euros (see here), which must be paid in cash (using a credit card is not possible in Iran. Keep this in mind also when paying for a visa fee at the airport)

10- Visa on Arrival (VOA) is only available for airports and Ba Honar port in Bandar Abbas, so getting a visa at the land borders is not possible. If you are planning to travel to Iran overland, you need to apply for an Iran visa online in advance. 

11- Journalists and reporters may face some difficulties in getting a visa on arrival.

12 – E-Visa is the most secure way to get a visa for Iran. You get your authorization code before starting your trip, and there is no chance of getting rejected after you arrive. The visa process will be much faster as you wouldn’t have to stand in lines at airports.

13-Citizens of the UK, US, and Canada can visit Kish and Qeshm Islands visa-free, but they must have a registered tour guide waiting for them at the airport.

14- If you have an entry or exit stamp of Israel in your passport, you will not have a permit to enter Iran.

E-Viza, Iran tourist visa
How to obtain an Iranian visa for different countries (photo by Wikipedia)

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Hadi Ansari

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