Visas & Planning
In case of having an Iran visa, you don’t get in the trouble in most of the borders. If you are traveling by bus or train, land borders would take more time. Women should wear proper clothes not scant, tight or short clothes at the time of their arrival in the border. The visa on arrival process is risky for tourists and they may have to be rejected.
Passport-holders of Turkey, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bolivia, Egypt, and Syria can travel to Iran and stay in the country without a visa from between 15 to 90 days.
The people of Turkey, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bolivia, Egypt, and Syria don’t need a visa for traveling to Iran, and they can stay between 15 to 90 days. People from other countries need to get a visa sooner or try to get VOA at an airport which this type of visa not available for passport holders of the USA, Somalia, the UK, Canada, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Citizens of these countries should try other ways to get a visa like pre-arranging a tour or having a specially qualified private guide or being invited by a friend or relative (who will take legal responsibility for them) in Iran. Citizens of Israel and people who have crossed from borders of Israel will not get a visa.
Which Visa? Advantages and Disadvantages
The process of issuing the visa is important. Transit visas have a different procedure, besides that, you must have the approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Tehran. After getting the approval, the MFA contact the consulate and sends an authorization number, and takes your application form, passport photos, and fee in order to issue the visa. Base on your country, you should pay different amounts for a visa, for more information you can visit the embassy website. About the transit visas, you should know that they are cheaper than other visas and they only give you up to seven days permit to stay.
Iran Tourist Visa
For receiving this kind of visa you can follow two procedures. A: Do it yourself. You should go in person to the consulate. The procedure is that you should download and fill out the form from Iran consulate in your home country. Then the forms and your passport, photos, money, and proof of travel insurance must be forwarded to Tehran for approval via the consulate. The process will take several weeks and if things happen according to the plan you will either get the visa in person or receive your passport in a registered mail envelope. In this way, you can save the agency fee, but it takes longer time and things may go wrong. In some cases, this method took just a few days. With so much uncertainty, if you choose this option, give yourself six weeks or longer to be sure.
B. Use an Agency Visa. To receive an authorization number, agencies fee vary from €30 to UK£120. Most of the times, your completed electronic form which includes details of your planned route and where you’d like to receive your visa, and your attached digital copies of photo and passport, will be sent to Tehran by the agency. Based on the MFA’s claim, for most nationalities, it takes between five and ten working days to evaluate the request. If your application fails, there would be no refund, but usually, few applications will be rejected. Once the authorization number is received, it will be forwarded to your nominated Iranian embassy by the agency. Then, you need to go through the application process as a formality, and in most consulates, the visa is issued on the place. For British, Canadian or American citizens, both methods usually take more time and are more costly and more difficult. The Iranian Embassy in London usually interview with the British applicants and requires fingerprints from them.
Tourist Visa on Arrival
People from 65 countries, can get a 30-day tourist visa on arrival. If you need more information, you can check the MFA’s website to know which countries are included. Three countries are absent among those that can get the Iran visa on arrival: Britain, Canada, and the USA.
If you want to get the tourist visa without any trouble, it is recommended to fly into Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, although, visas are available at all international airports. The following documents are necessary in order to receive the visa on arrival: A, a printout of your travel insurance. It is important that the printout specifically mention Iran, otherwise you may be required to pay the insurance fee at the airport; An insurance can be purchased (US$16); it is very notable that before the starting of Iran visa process, your insurance be purchased; B, the name and telephone of a sponsor. For example, it can be a hotel; it is strongly recommended that you have reserved a night at the hotel, and you should carry a printout of an email from the hotel that confirms your booking, though this is not an official requirement to get the visa; C, the requisite fee. For the most Western countries, you must pay €75, but Australians should pay €145. You can also, pay the US dollar equivalent.
Entry Visa (Business Visa)
For issuing the Entry visa by the MFA, an invitation letter from the company or organization you plan to visit is necessary. If you don’t have it, the process is like getting the tourist visa (DIY or using an agency). People that are coming for business or scientific conferences, or want to participate in sporting events should get this kind of visa.
Sponsors & Visa Agencies
Any citizen of Iran can be a sponsor for your application. It means that they should submit the paperwork for an authorization code. Though, usually, it is more comforting to use a travel agency or a specialist Iran visa agency. Note that there are no guarantees even with agencies, and the visa agent will still take their fee regardless of you get the visa or not. The safer way is searching through others experiences that travel before you.
Two recommended visa agencies include:
A Persian Voyages
B Iran Visa Authorization Code
Read more: Visa policy of Iran