Iran Visa FAQ

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  1. Who can visit Iran?
  2. Do I need a visa to visit Iran?
  3. What type of visa will I need?
  4. Can i get Iran Visa on arrival?
  5. How do I get a visa to visit Iran?
  6. How long does it take to get a visa?
  7. How much does a visa cost?
  8. Do I have to have my itinerary organised before I apply for a visa?
  9. Do I need to book my flights before I can get a visa?
  10. Do I need to book my hotels before I can get a visa?
  11. Can I get a visa at the airport on arrival in Iran?
  12. Once I am in Iran, can I get my visa extended so that I can stay longer?
  13. Are there any specific requirements for US citizens?
  14. Are there any specific requirements for females travelling alone?

 

1. Who can visit Iran?

All nationalities are welcome to visit Iran. The only exception is citizens of Israel. Due to the current political climate, Israeli citizens will be refused entry under all circumstances.

If you have a Israeli or USA visa stamp in your passport – Contrary to popular belief, this will not in anyway  affect  your application for an Iranian visa.

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2. Do I need a visa to go to Iran?

All foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran.

All European Union  passport holders can  travel independently in Iran and can get a  30  day visa on arrival (this cannot be extended).

UK & USA  passport holders are not able to obtain independent travel visas for Iran.  To  secure a visa, they need to  travel  as part of an  escorted group  or private tour, with  have an ‘official’  guide  (this means not  Iranian  friends) during their entire stay in Iran. The itinerary needs to be pre-arranged, hotels pre-booked and paid for in advance.

There are two exceptions for UK passport holders:

1.  If the individual is not of ‘English’  origin  for example Iraqi,  Indian or Afghan born, you  can still  obtain  an independent travel visa  with  no  restrictions,  as long as you  are able to  provide details  of a host in Iran. In this case, the procedure and details below still apply.

2.  If you are a British  man  married to  an  Iranian  woman,  and able to  provide a marriage certificate (preferably Islamic marriage, but a civil marriage certificate is also  acceptable),  then  we can obtain  a visa as per below.

3. If you are an  British  woman,  married to  an Iranian  man,  you can  only travel  on an Iranian  passport  & we are not able to  assist.

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3. What type of visa will I need?
The main types of visa issued are:

  • Tourist Visa
  • Entry/work Visa

Tourist Visa (single or double entry)

A tourist visa is required by foreign nationals who wish to travel to Iran for sightseeing purposes or to visit their friends and family. The maximum duration of stay for a tourist visa is 30 days.

Entry /work Visa (single, double entry)

An ‘entry’ visa is effectively a ‘business’ visa. It is required by foreign nationals who wish to travel to Iran for economic, commercial, cultural or industrial purposes. It is also required by those attending economic or cultural conferences or those participating in sporting events. The authorised duration of stay is usually up to 30 days.

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4. Can I get Iran Visa on arrival?
UK &  US citizens currently can NOT get a visa on arrival at the airport.
EU  and some other nationalities can obtain a tourist visa, valid for up  to  30 days, on arrival at the airport:

Citizens of the following countries can get a visa on arrival at the airport: Albania, Armenia Australia Austria Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, China, Columbia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arabic Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yugoslavia.

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5. How do I get an Iranian visa?

The visa process is in two distinct parts.

First you have to obtain the visa permit, which can only be issued by the Foreign Ministry (FM) in Iran. You cannot lodge an application with the Iranian FM directly, nor can you currently lodge an application through an Iranian Consulate.

You  have two ways of obtaining an Iranian visa permit:

  •  You can ask your Iranian friends or relatives to apply for a visa on your behalf in Iran, by lodging an application in person, at the Foreign Ministry in Tehran.  They will need to undertake the responsibility of acting as your host for the duration of your stay in Iran.
  • Alternatively,  you can use our Iranian Visa Service to take care of all the details and get your visa for you.

Should you wish to contact the Iranian Embassy nearest to where you live, to get an update of the visa status and ask for/download a visa application form. Click here for a list of Iranian Embassies.

Once your visa permit has been issued by FM, either with the assistance of your contacts in Iran, or through our Iranian Visa Service, a visa authorisation number will be issued and  sent via email  to your Iranian Consulate. Please note that this reference number means that your visa has been authorised but is not the visa itself.

The second part of the process is to get the actual visa stamped  in your passport.  To do  this,  you need to fill out a visa application form which you can obtain/download from the Iranian Consulate website. You will then need to take the visa authorization number to the Iranian Consulate specified in your application,  together with your passport, two  standard passport photos,  a completed Visa Application form and the visa stamp fees, in order to have the visa stamped in.

If you hold a UK passport, your finger prints required for the first visa stamp. After that,  a record of your finger prints  is retained and  it will  not be necessary to  provide them  for subsequent visits –  within one year.

This process can take anything from one  day to two weeks,  depending on whether you attend in person or send someone else on your behalf, on  public holidays, or on the particular consulate you attend, as they have different response times depending on how busy or how large they are.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months from your date of entry into Iran, and must have at least two blank pages.

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6. How long will it take to get an Iranian visa?

For tourist  visa applications, the process will normally take around two weeks. Please note the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the sole decision making authority as to whether or not to issue your visa. If they have any concerns about your application, this could hold up the application process. It is advisable, therefore, to allow at least four weeks before you intend to travel.

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7. How much does an Iranian visa cost?

There are two costs involved. First, there is the visa application service fee. If you use an Iranian Visa Service there will be a handling charge for processing and lodging your application with the Iranian Foreign  Ministry.

Second cost involved is the visa stamp fees (payable to the Iranian Consulate). You have to pay the visa stamp fee in order to get the visa stamped into your passport.  The Iranian Consulate charge British passport holders around £170 for a tourist visa stamp and £80 for an EU passport holder. Fees vary for other nationalities and can  change without notice  – please contact the Consulate directly to find out the precise amount. Payment must usually be in cash.

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8. Do I have to have my itinerary organised before I apply for a visa?

No, not unless you are a UK, Canadian or US citizen –  however you will  need to provide name and address of an Iranian host, or a hotel  contact details.

Visas for above mentioned passport holders are subject to particular regulations. At present the Iranian Foreign Ministry will only issue visas for the above citizens to travel to Iran as part of a pre-booked, guided tour. By guided tour we mean that you must travel either as part of a bigger tour group, or on a tailor-made individual tour designed to your own requirements. You must submit your itinerary in advance and adhere to it exactly. Due to these requirements we recommend that you make your travel arrangements at least 10 weeks in advance of your planned travel date. Please click here if you would like further information about guided tours to Iran.

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9. Do I need to book my flights before I can get a visa?

Not so, for any nationality.

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10. Do I need to book my hotels before I can get an Iranian visa?

No, not unless you are a UK, Canadian or US citizen (see above).

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11. Can I get a visa at the airport on arrival in Iran?

Please note UK, Canadian & US citizens can NOT get a visa at the airport.
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12. Once I am in Iran, can I get my visa extended so that I can stay longer?

Yes, you can. It is normally quite straightforward to get an extension to tourist & entry visas. To get an extension you need to go the nearest police station or the Department of Alien Affairs in Tehran, a few days before your visa expires. You will be asked for the reasons for your request for an extension. Extensions are normally granted for up to 30 days and are free of charge.

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13. Are there any specific requirements for US citizens travelling to Iran?

Visas for US passport holders are subject to particular regulations. At present the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) does not allow US passport holders to travel to Iran independently.  Americans are required to travel on escorted tours; either as part of a tour group, or on a tailor-made individual tour. An exact itinerary, to which you must adhere, must be submitted in advance.

Due to these requirements we recommend that you make your travel arrangements at least 10 weeks in advance of your planned travel date. Please click here if you would like further information about Iran Travel and tours

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14. Are there any specific requirements for female travelers to Iran?

It is very safe for female travelers in Iran.  Females should always wear a headscarf in their visa application photographs.  

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