Iran visa requirements
Visitors to Iran must obtain a visa from one of the Iranian diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries or countries eligible for a visa on arrival. All visitors must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months. Admission is refused to women not wearing Islamic head cover, scarf, long sleeves and stockings.
The requirements for Iran visa vary depending on your nationality.
European citizenscan get tourist visa either by applying at the Iranian embassy or consulate of the country of your residence or on arrival upon landing at the international airports of Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz, Tabriz and Esfahan. Both visas should allow 30 days, even though sometimes visa on arrival is issued for only 14 days.
If you want to travel with the Iran visa already glued on your passport, travel agencies offer the service. Fill in an online form and they will send you your authorization code that you need to take to the embassy or
consulate alongside the other required documents.
US, Canadians and UK citizens cannot get Iran tourist visa on arrival and need to apply at the Iranian embassy or consulate (Americans at the Iran section of Pakistan embassy in Washington DC). All these nationalities must have a certified tour guide to be able to apply for Iran visa.
Citizens of Israel are totally banned from entry to Iran. Admission is refused to holders of passports or travel documents containing an Israeli visa or stamp or any data showing that visitor has been to Israel or indication of any connection with the state of Israel during the last 12 months.
Iran plans to start issuing electronic visas in 2017. Furthermore, for increasing tourist entry to Iran, Iranian authorities are exploring a potential visa waiver program under which visa limitations for 60 countries will be lifted as part of Iran's program to attract more tourists.
There are two types of tourist visa for Iran:
1- Standard Tourist Visa: This kind of visa is issued ahead of your travel date and you received it at one of Iran’s embassies, consulates or mailed to you before your plan for departure to Iran. This Visa is good for those who prefer to plan and make sure everything is in order before boarding the airplane.
2- Iran Visa On Arrival (VOA) or Iran airport visa: You apply and get this visa up on arrival. The scope and purpose of the visa is to give a number of nationalities to get their visa at the main entrance gateways of Iran like Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz Kish and Mashahd airport and more recently at a couple southern ports of Iran at the Persian gulf.
It is possible in 7 different Iranian international airports:
- Imam Khomeini (Tehran International Airport, abbreviation IKA)
- Gheshm Island
- Kish Island
The Visa on arrival is a relatively new thing and works great most of the time but not always. Maybe it is perhaps a great option if you like to take the chance and get your visa up on arrival. The Visa on arrival is cheaper because you don’t pay that $60 for the processing fee but you are still going to have to pay for consular fees when you are receiving your visa.
Here is a fee schedule for your reference:
As you can see, the fees are dependent on your nationality. The formula of the fees pretty much is based on reciprocity. it means that you would be charged as much as an Iranian would have been charged to get a visa to your country.
Bring some additional cash with you (20 to 100 euros). Even though there are cameras for taking your picture, it would be better to have a couple passport size pictures with you. Make sure you have a return ticket with you. Your passport needs to have at least 6 months validity. Finally, you have to have travel insurance on you that specifies Iran as your destination or you can buy one at the airport for some 30 euros.
The chances to get visa on arrival entirely depends on how much your documents are in order and your luck of the day!
The advance visa application is perhaps the surest way to have travel to Iran.
Standard Tourist visa to Iran:
Procedure to get a tourist Visa to Iran in advance is as follows:
- You provide some basic information to a travel agency. Iranian Foreign Ministry needs to have these information in order to accept your application. It can be done by filling out Iran visa application form online.
- The travel agency will do the needed paperwork, sponsorship add our vouching/invitation letter to your application and then file it with Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs Visa Department. In effect you will come to Iran as a sponsored guest.
- The Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs Visa Department does its review, checks the records to make sure everything is fine and then usually within 3-14 days they send what is call as Visa Authorization Number to the travel agency. This number is actually a reference number which tells that you got approved and you are accepted and now you can get your actual visa in the next step.
- the travel agency send your Visa Authorization Number to you by email. You print it out and contact the embassy or consulate where you had initially indicated that you want to pick your visa from. You then can either go in person to pick your visa or have them sent it to you by registered mail. The embassy will charge you a consular fee for their work and if you like to have the visa sent to your address, you would need to arrange with them and send your passport with the registered mail to them.
Getting a visa at the airport
By getting Visa at the airports, you will save time taking it on arrival. It is very simple.
Duration of visa: 30 days.
What you need to get your visa in Iran:
• an email showing that you have booked at least your first night in a hotel. Most hotels make a free confirmation for this by email.
• proof of your travel insurance. Attention: the dates must be indicated, as well as the mention Iran on the certificate. Otherwise, you will need to take out local insurance at the airport.
• your return ticket.
• 75 euros at least.
Note: to obtain a visa on arrival in Tehran, passengers must make an application at the Iranian MFA's E-Visa website, and present the submission notification at the airport's visa desk on arrival.
The visa on arrival is issued free of charge for citizens of Lebanon.
Iran plans to increase the length of stay from 1 month to 3 months. In the near future, Visa on arrival will be available at Ahvaz International Airport, Urmia Airport and Shahid Sadooghi Airport
What documents do I need to get my visa?
It is recommended to take photographs of identities (hair hidden by a veil for women) and a certificate of insurance for your trip to Iran.
There is the possibility that none of these documents are requested upon arrival but caution is advised as the process of obtaining the visa at the new airport.
You do not need a letter of invitation and a visa authorization number. You will have to fill out a form when you arrive at the airport.