How to get a visa to come to Iran
For several years now, an increasing number of tourists has choose Iran to travel, eager to discover its mesmerizing blue mosques and the beauty of its pristine deserts. To make it easier for all types of travelers to visit Iran, authorities have not ceased to simply the procedure to get a visa.
The most common visa type is the Tourist Visa, which is granted for all nationalities (except Israeli passport holders) and allows 30-days of stay in Iran. As the country has a lot to offer, those who want to discover more can pretend to an extension at the end of their trip. The procedure to get a Tourist Visa is quite simple. The only requirements are to possess a passport with six-month validity and no stamp from Israel, an insurance, and pay the visa fees which are between 75 and 150 euros.
Simplifying the visa procedure with the e-visa and VOA
To make the process faster, visitors should apply, first, to an e-visa. This online procedure must be done on the e-visa website of the Islamic Republic (http://evisa.mfa.ir), preferably a few weeks in advance. It simply requires filling an online form, including the contacts of the first-night in Iran, along with a scan of the passport and a digital personal photo. Once the request has been studied by the visa officials, an “authorization number” is sent to the applicant in case of approval. If the request is rejected, which happens regularly, visitors can, however, apply through an authorized agency such as TasteIran, in order to get their authorization number in a few days. You can submit your Iran visa request here.
This authorization code allows the issuance of the visa itself. Tourists can choose to get their visa at the Iranian Embassy of their country, upon appointment, or directly at the airport in Iran. This procedure is called “Iran Visa on Arrival” (VOA) and is possible in nine Iranian airports, among which Imam Khomeini (IKA) in Tehran, Shahid Dastghaib (SYZ) in Shiraz, and Shahid Beheshti (IFN) in Isfahan. Currently, 80 nationalities can pretend to the Visa on Arrival.
Visiting Iran without a visa
Since 2018, travelers who come to Iran no longer have their passport stamped, thus leaving no souvenir of their stay. This measure aims to encourage people to visit Iran, despite the potential restrictions that a third country, such as the United States, could apply. Citizens of some countries can even enter Iran without a visa. It’s the case for the following eleven nationalities: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Egypt, Georgia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Syria, Turkey, and Venezuela. To enter Iran, citizens from these countries simply need a valid passport, not stamped Israel nor exist stamp from Egyptian or Jordanian border-crossing Israel.
It’s also possible for most nationalities in the world to enter without visa one of the seven Free Trade Zone of Iran. Among these specific economic areas are the stunning islands of Kish and Qehsm, the two biggest islands in Iran, located in the Persian Gulf. Both have lots of natural splendors to offer to the visitors, such as pristine beaches and wild canyons. The entrance on these Free Trade Zones is free up to 14 days, with the possibility of extending the stay.
The specificities of Americans, British, and Canadians
Given the complicated history and relationships between Iran and the United States, Great-Britain, and Canada, citizens of these countries are subject to specific rules in order to enter the country. Indeed, there are no diplomatic links between the USA and Canada, which don’t have an embassy in Iran. Yet, it’s absolutely possible for their citizens to travel to Iran.
Citizens of these three countries can’t apply to rapid procedures, such as Visa on Arrival, and are required to be accompanied by a guide for the whole duration of their stay. To request a 10 or 30-day visa, they must go through an official agency such as TasteIran, which can provide travelers with an official guide and Iran tours to travel to Iran. This latter is in charge of requiring the visa on his client’s behalf, providing the authorities with several documents such as a complete itinerary and a resume. Besides that travelers must fulfill the same requirements as others nationalities, namely a passport with 6-months validity and insurance.
The cost of such visas goes between 90 to 140 USD. As the procedure needs specific approval and a closer look from the visa officials, it takes about three months. Once the approval has been received and visitors have their reference code, they must approach the Iranian Embassy in London, or the Pakistan Embassy in Washington for Americans and Canadians, and then have a period of 90 days to enter Iran.
Doing business and working in Iran
The Tourist Visa doesn’t grant permission to work in Iran for foreigners. There exist a specific Work Visit to acquire before coming to Iran to work, which can be obtained only with the support of an Iranian company. This latter must provide a letter of invitation and apply for Work Permit to the Iranian Ministry of Labour, which is issued for a period of one year.
Employees and businesspeople who simply want to attend meetings, conferences, fairs, or interviews with their peers in Iran can apply to a Business Visa. This 14-days visa must also be supported by an Iranian company, which issue the invitation. With this letter, individuals can apply online to an e-visa following a similar procedure to the Tourist Visa. Issuance usually takes 7 to 10 working days, even though it can be fastened to less than 5 days.
Whatever your profile and your nationality, it’s possible to obtain a visa to visit Iran and discover its splendors. Applying to a visa through local companies is the best way to make the procedure smooth and easy.