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Iran Visa

Although a lot of people think getting visa for visit Iran is the difficult work ever, but it’s not as well why approved Iranian travel agents can apply and get visa for all foreign nationals.

Before you read about the way you can get a visa to visit Iran, better to know that there is 5 different Types of visa; Entry, Transit, Business, Tourist and Journalist and its Fee varies according to nationality of applicant, type of’ visa and the existing regulation between countries!

After contacting an Iranian travel agent and receiving your personal data, they apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your visa will be authorized by the MFA and faxed to the Iranian Consulate near you. Your travel agent gives you a visa authorization number which you can refer to the consulate to get your visa. The visa authorization number, however, is valid only in the consulate you have asked them your visa to be issued in. The number they give you is just an “authorization”. This reference number means that your visa has been authorized and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but is not the visa itself.

Depending on your nationality, you may be required to present at the Iranian consulate in your country to have your fingerprints taken. British and American passport holders will be fingerprinted upon arrival.

How your visa issued?

After your travel agent tells you your visa authorization number you should first get a visa application form from the consulate and follow the requirements of the application form (you personally can also go to the consulate to get the application forms or download it from the web site of the Iranian embassy in your country). Then, you should refer to the consulate to lodge your passports and application forms with the visa number they gave you (it can be either a physical presence or by post). Then it might take from 1-5 days for the consulate to issue your visa.

You may also need to provide a letter of recommendation from your embassy if you are applying outside your home country, a photocopy of your air tickets in and out of Iran and any student or press card.

Normally, all tourist visas issued by Iranian consulates have a “3-month” validity. The visa allows you to stay in Iran for up to 30 days, although the duration of your visa is at the discretion of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Visa validity period

Rarely, you may be asked to provide a letter from your employer or proof of fund. Visas are generally valid for 3 months that is you must enter Iran within 3 months of issue.

Depending on your nationality, issuing a visa may take 30 days or more.

Of course Transit visas have a maximum of 10 days.

Transit visas are usually easier to get than tourist visas (usually for one or two weeks) and very useful for people travelling between Europe and South Asia. Various travel agents inside Iran help you obtain visas, often through their home pages.

You can get an extension for your transit visa usually valid for 5 or 10 days, inside Iran easily but once for the same number of days as the original visa.

For foreign drivers carrying cargo to Iran or other countries, it is necessary to co-ordinate in advance with the Diplomatic Missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Tourist visas require a passport, an application form, four passport-sized photos, and a special authorization in the form of a reference number issued by the Foreign Ministry in Tehran.

How extend your visa?

Extending a tourist visa is very easy and can be done in most cities. Places known to extend visas happily in Iran are Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Esfahan, Shiraz, Kerman and Zahedan. The extension process is normally handled at provincial police headquarters.

Some travel guides say not to do this in Tehran as it is very time consuming. This is no longer the case and the process of extending a visa in Tehran can be done in just 1 hour (including tea offerings and being the object of curiosity in the office). Extending a visa for the second time requires the passport to be sent to a department in Tehran (no matter where you extend your visa from) and thus takes longer time than doing this the first time.

Business visas require a passport, an application form, 4 passport-sized photos, a special authorisation in the form of a reference number issued by the Foreign Ministry in Tehran, and a business letter. Business visas are extendable once, sometimes twice up to two weeks each without difficulty. One extension of one month may also be possible in some cases.

Points you should remember

And now you should know some short but important issues:

  • A visa cannot be issued for passports which have a validity of less than 6 months. Exit permits required by all (often included with visa).
  • Visas are only valid for the cities indicated in the visa.
  • Nationals of the following countries do not require a visa to enter Iran: Turkey, Malaysia, Syria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador.
  • Also Visitors from the Persian Gulf States need no visa to enter Iran. These states are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. People from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey can get a three-month tourist visa on arrival. People from Japan can get a three-month tourist visa at an Iranian embassy with no difficulty.
  • The beach resort of Kish Island, easily accessible from Dubai, does not require advance visas for visits of up to 14 days, including Americans.

  • Nationals of the following countries can apply for a visa on arrival: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippine, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak (Rep.), Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
  • Visa On Arrival (VOA) are issued at the Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad airports in Tehran, and also the airports at Mashad, Shiraz, Tabriz and Isfahan. The visa is valid for up to 15 days and costs EUR 60. You will receive the forms on arrival. You are advised to bring passport photos with you. However, in many cases they are not collected.
  • The Iranian Foreign Ministry does not allow US passport holders to travel to Iran independently. US citizens are required to travel on tours, either as part of a tour group, or a tailor made individual tour. An exact itinerary, to which you must adhere, is compulsory but US citizens who were born in Iran, who have become naturalized citizens of Iran, or who were at one time citizens of Iran, and the children of such persons, are considered Iranian nationals by Iranian authorities. Therefore, despite the fact that these individuals possess US citizenship, they must enter and exit Iran bearing an Iranian passport.
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