Another Iran is about travel around Iran. Therefore I feel that logically one of the first blog posts should give some information about how to enter the country. Iran is often missed on a traveler list due to the fact that they have to apply for a visa. This can be a difficult, slow and tedious process but well worth it in the end. Most people do manage to get a visa within two or three weeks. The tourist visa in Iran is issued for up to 30 days and is extendable. You will have to get the visa before coming to Iran and you are valid to enter Iran for 90 days from the date of issue, being the surest option. The key is starting the process early and putting your application in before the Nowruz holiday.
So who needs to apply for a visa? It isn’t just Iranians who don’t have to apply for a visa. You will get a three-month tourist visa on arrival if you hold a passport from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Saudia Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia and Turkey. Americans are more than welcome in Iran but will need to organise a private guide or tour in advance. On the other hand, anyone with an Israeli passport or an Israeli stamp in their passport will not be given a visa.
There are a couple of ways to obtain a tourist visa for Iran. Firstly, you can go through an agency. For the most part, you will include an electronic itinerary online and attach copies of your photograph and passport and this will all be sent to Tehran. This can take between five and ten days to evaluate the application. There can be slow replies using this method but few applications are declined. An authorisation number will be issued and the agency will send this to your chosen Iranian embassy or consulate.
The other option is to complete the application on your own. You can go through a consulate which will take at least three weeks. You complete the application form from the Iranian consulate from your home country and this will need to be taken or sent to the Iranian embassy along with all the appropriate documents – passport, photographs, money and proof of travel insurance. If all goes well you can pick up the visa yourself if you choose to do so, with some embassies requiring women to cover their hair. Give yourself six weeks or so for this method to be on the safe side.
In general, the thought of applying for a visa to visit Iran can indeed be daunting. With some slow replies, durations of time just waiting and not knowing, it can be tiresome and difficult, but don’t give up. This may be biased coming from an Iranian, but I ensure you that it is all worth the wait and hassle in the end. Now go fill out that application, get that copy of your passport and get going – enjoy exploring! After all, Rumi did say “Travel brings power and love back into your life”.
2 thoughts on “Getting A Visa to Visit Iran”
I’ve read all your posts and really enjoyed them. Iran has always been on my travel list of places I would love to visit because of the culture/history. architecture but will probably never visit because I can’t imagine it being safe for a female solo traveler… so may I suggest you do a post on that? i.e. a post on safety for a solo female traveler?
Thank you for reading my blog and for your comment. I am currently writing a post on how I’d say it is safe to travel in Iran as a solo female traveler. Keep checking the blog as it will be uploaded quite soon!