Iran visa FAQ

 

Visa Frequently Asked Questions

 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the process of obtaining an Iranian visa.

  1. Who can visit Iran?
  2. Do I need a visa to visit Iran?
  3. What type of visa will I need?
  4. How do I get a visa to visit Iran?
  5. How long does it take to get a visa?
  6. How much does a visa cost?
  7. Do I have to have my itinerary organized before I apply for a visa?
  8. Do I need to book my flights before I can get a visa?
  9. Do I need to book my hotels before I can get a visa?
  10. Can I get a visa at the airport on arrival in Iran?
  11. How can I pick up the visa stamp, if I am resident in the UK and the Iranian Consulate in London is not dealing with visas?
  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 traveling alone?
  15. What are the meanings of terms related to the Visa process like: Letter of invitationIran VisaMFAConsulateEmbassy Fee, and Invitation Fee?

 

 

  1. Who can visit Iran? 
  • All nationalities are welcome to visit Iran. The only exception is citizens of Israel. Due to the current political situation, 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, existing visa stamps in your passport e.g. for Israel or the U.S.A, will not jeopardize your application for an Iranian visa in any way.

 

  1. Do I need a visa to go to Iran?
  • All foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran. Most European passport holders are able to travel independently in Iran and can usually obtain a two week visa on arrival (this cannot be extended).

 

  • Currently USA,  UK and Canadian passport holders are not able to obtain independent travel visas for Iran. To  secure a visa, above mentioned  passport holders need to  travel  as part of an  escorted tour group,  or have an ‘official’  guide  (this means not  Iranian  friends or work  colleagues) during their entire stay in Iran. The itinerary needs to be prearranged, hotels prebooked 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 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, then we can obtain a visa as per below. If you are a British woman, married to an Iranian man, you can only travel on an Iranian passport & we are not able to assist.

 

  1. What type of visa will I need?

The main types of visa issued are:

  • Tourist Visa
  • Entry Visa
  • Press Visa
  • Pilgrimage 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 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 authorized duration of stay is usually up to 30 days.

Press Visa
A press visa is required by foreign journalists who wish to travel to Iran. Applications for press visas must be made to the dedicated Press Section of the embassy.

Pilgrimage Visa
A pilgrimage visa is required by foreign Muslim pilgrims who wish to visit the sacred sights and shrines of Iran.

 

  1. How do I get an Iranian visa?

The visa process is in two distinct parts.

1-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 therefore 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 an Iranian Visa Service to take care of all the details and get your visa for you. Iranian Visa Services can often get you a visa to travel at short notice.

If 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  Iranian Visa Service, a visa authorization number will be issued and  sent via email  to your Iranian Consulate. Please note that this reference number means that your visa has been authorized but is not the visa itself.

2-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.

This process can take anything from one  day to four 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.

If you use an Iranian Visa Service they will take care of all the paperwork and administration involved in the process outlined above. Full English speaking staff handle your application and you can talk to them whenever you like to follow up your application and find out how it is progressing.

 

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

For independent visa applications, the whole process will normally take a minimum of one month. Please note, however, that 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 eight weeks before you intend to travel.
Using an Iranian Visa Service can cut out a lot of the reasons why the MFA might have a concern about your application. Using such a service, therefore, often means a visa can be issued in a much shorter length of time.

 

  1. How much does an Iranian visa cost?

There are two costs involved.

1-First, there is the visa application service fee. If you choose to use an Iranian Visa Service there will be a handling charge for processing and lodging your application with the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

This charge will vary but many people find that the benefits of an efficient and worry-free service are well worth the money. English speaking staffs handle your application and you can talk to them whenever you like to follow up your application and find out how it is progressing.

2-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 €180 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.

 

  1. Do I have to have my itinerary organized before I apply for a visa?

No, not unless you are a US, Canadian or UK citizen. 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 prebooked, 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.

 

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

Not so, for any nationality.

 

  1. 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). Please click here to contact our travel agency

 

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

Some visitors can obtain a tourist visa, valid for 15 days, on arrival at certain Iranian airports.  This cannot then be extended further.

Please note US, Canadian & UK citizens can NOT get a visa at the airport.

Citizens of the following countries can, under certain circumstances, 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.

We would always recommend that visitors obtain a visa before they travel to Iran.
If you have little time left before you intend to travel, we do not recommend that you rely on getting your visa at the airport. Instead, you should consider using an Iranian Visa Service who can arrange normally arrange visas at short notice.

 

  1. How can I pick up the visa stamp, if I am resident in the UK and the Iranian Consulate in London is not dealing with visas?

You can have assistance with getting the visa stamped into your passport, whether you have obtained your visa permit through a visa service provider, or a different source. Currently finger prints are not required for UK passport holders in Germany. This means you do not have to go in person to collect the visa stamp. You can seek a courier service that will arrange for your passport and documents to be taken to the Iranian Consulate in Germany, in order to have the visa stamped in. If you wish to use this service, you will need to send passport, visa application form and photos to the couriers, who will get the visa stamped in on your behalf, at a fixed fee per passport.

This charge is in addition to the visa stamp fees. This process can take 2 – 3 weeks, depending on the efficiency of the Iranian Consulate staff at the time of application. A faster service will be available, if you wish to have the visa stamped in 5 working days. The exact cost will depend on how rapidly you need the visa stamped in and where you live.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Are there any specific requirements for US citizens traveling 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. What are the meanings of terms related to the Visa process like: Letter of invitationIran VisaMFAConsulate,Embassy Fee, and Invitation Fee?

 

Letter of invitation: This is an official letter from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which enables you to collect your visa from your desired Iranian Consulate in your country or elsewhere. This letter will be issued based on your request and our application of the request through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Iran Visa: This is a permit which is attached to your passport at an Iranian Consulate before you travel to Iran, or in an airport of Iran once you arrive in the country.  With this permit you have the necessary permission to enter Iran and stay there for a determined amount of time.

MFA: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Visa Department within the MFA is responsible for issuing letters of invitation for tourists and businesspersons who want to visit Iran.

Consulate: You can choose the Iranian Consulate which is nearest to your home where you can complete the visa process and from which you can collect your Iranian visa.

Embassy Fee: This is the fee which an Iranian Consulate collects from a visa applicant for the processing and provision of a visa.

Invitation Fee: This is a fee which PTA receives from the client for processing of a visa.

 

 

We hope that we have answered all your questions. If not, please feel free to contact us. If you have any comments about our Iran Visa information service we would be delighted to hear from you.

Iran Visa Information Service
Email: info@hospitableiran.com

 

 

Useful Links:

Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Iran Visa Application Form

 

Iran visa application

Iran Visa application form

Iran visa on arrival 

Iran visa extension

Iranian embassies

Iran visa FAQ