How To Get An Iran Visa On Arrival (Tourist Visa Guide)
By DAN FORTEZA
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I visited Iran in September 2019 and managed to get my Iran visa on arrival with no issues at Imam Khomeini International Airport (in Tehran). The beautiful and hospitable Middle Eastern country has been growing in popularity for tourists, and the government is now making it simpler for people to visit. Here is my guide on how to get a visa on arrival for Iran.
Read also my Tehran itinerary and travel guide.
WHO ARE ELIGIBLE OF IRAN VISA ON ARRIVAL:
Holders of normal passports traveling as tourists can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days (extendable) at the following airports, as of January 2018.
- Bandar Abbas International Airport (Bandar Abbas)
- Isfahan International Airport (Isfahan)
- Kish International Airport (Kish Island)
- Mashhad International Airport (Mashad)
- Qeshm international Airport (Qeshm Island)
- Shiraz International Airport (Shiraz)
- Tabriz International Airport (Tabriz)
- Imam Khomeini International Airport (Tehran)
- Mehrabad International Airport (Tehran)
- Urmia Airport (Urmia)
- Ahvaz International Airport (Ahvaz)
- Kerman Airport (Kerman)
- Larestan International Airport
Visa on arrival is NOT applicable to nationals of the following countries who must obtain a visa in advance.
- United Kingdom
- United States
- UK, Canadian and US citizens are required to be escorted by a government-approved guide at all times. Independent travel for these citizens has been banned due to the closure of Iranian foreign missions in these countries.
- Citizens of Israel are totally banned from entry to Iran =(
- Admission is refused to holders of passports or travel documents containing an Israeli visa or stamp (less than 365 days) or any data showing that visitor has been to Israel or indication of any connection with the state of Israel. And while Israel DOESN’T stamp passports anymore, you also can’t have any evidence of entry in Israel. For example, an Egyptian stamp at the border city of Taba could result in denied entry.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET AN IRAN VISA ON ARRIVAL (IN TEHRAN)
There are a few things you need to have pre-organized in order to successfully apply for a visa on arrival in Iran. Have them printed as much as possible, not just saved on your phone.
Onwards transport. I have my flight booked ready from Tehran, Iran to Tbilisi, Georgia.
- Was this asked by the visa officer? Actually no, she just asked me how many days I will stay in Iran and I said 9 days. BUT… before I checked in to my flight to Tehran, I was asked at the Oman Air check-in counter to show my onward ticket…so make sure you have this ready!
Confirmed hotel booking, or at the very least your first-night booking at a licensed hotel. I have only booked my first-night stay in the hostel I found on HostelWorld: it’s Tehran Heritage Hostel. I enjoyed my stay there, aside from it’s cheap they also have FREE breakfast!
- Was this asked by the visa officer? Actually no, BUT…you will need this information to fill-up the form of where you’ll be staying. So make sure you have it!
- Onwards transport. I have my flight booked ready from Tehran, Iran to Tbilisi, Georgia.
NOTE: I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com but looks like Tehran’s hostels/hotels are not available in Booking.com neither in Agoda, so I used HostelWorld. Just like Booking.com, they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
- Medical/travel insurance for Iran. I don’t have this but you can purchase it at the airport’s visa section in Iran so don’t stress yourself if you forgot this.
NOTE: Check with your travel insurance to see if Iran is covered. If you have WorldNomads, it is usually refused based on government advisories and thus you will be forced to buy a travel insurance at the visa section counter.
- Passport photos (Optional). I was reading other blogs mentioning that a passport photo might be required BUT this is no longer the case since Visa Sticker with photo is NO longer attached on the passport.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Iran no longer affixes visas to passports nor stamps them on entry as a response to the US sanctions on persons who have visited Iran after 2011. In November 2018, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), announced that the country will no longer stamp or put stickers to passports of foreign tourists in a bid to ease their concerns about travelling to other countries after leaving Iran. In June 2019 President of Iran ordered the Interior Ministry to implement the decision on not stamping passports of foreigners.
You can check out related news HERE.
THE E-VISA FOR IRAN
Supposedly, if you already have your e-visa it can speed up the process, so it doesn’t hurt completing the form – but don’t stress if you haven’t done this before flying to Iran.
Click here to go to the Iran e-visa application website. It takes at least 48 hours to be approved, and then you print off the form and show this to the visa officer.
I did not do my e-visa, and had no problems. The officer did ask if I already had it, and when I said no she just asked further questions like where I’m from or whether I have already travel insurance or not.
GET YOUR IRAN VISA ON ARRIVAL IN 5 EASY STEPS
STEP 1: GO TO THE VISA SECTION
Once you get off the flight you will walk down the hallway and come across the visa section office directly in front of you in the main hall, it is on the left side. On the right side, you will notice masses of people lining up for immigration or passport control so make sure you process your visa first before lining up there.
NOTE: If you’re a woman, a headscarf is required in Iran. So make sure you put your scarf on once you get off the plane. Regardless of gender, wearing long pants is preferred.
STEP 2: BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE AT THE COUNTER
Walk up to the officer (there was one sitting on the desk) and ask for the visa on the arrival. You will be asked where you’re from and whether you have already a travel insurance or not. I have none so I was asked to purchase a travel insurance at the counter.
- COST: 14 euros
STEP 3: FILL UP THE FORM
After you present your travel insurance, you will be handed a small form to complete basic information (names, passport number, address in Iran, contact number in Iran, occupation etc).
NOTE: Journalists and reporters on a mission cannot get Iran visa on arrival. If you’re a blogger like me, it’s a gray area. I put ‘mechanical engineer’ as my occupation since I am also one.
STEP 4: PAY THE VISA FEE AT THE COUNTER
Once you have this the form filled up, just give it to the visa officer together with your passport and your travel insurance in order for your visa to be processed. While waiting, you will be asked to pay your visa fee at the cashier counter (it’s actually a bank).
Wait in line. Once your turn, you’ll be asked where you’re from as this will determine how much fee you’ll be paying. The fees are quoted in Euros (55 Euro for me) but I paid in USD. I paid a total of 65 USD including 3 USD for bank’s commission. Pay your visa fee in cash (Euros or USD only). Then get your receipt.
IMPORTANT NOTE: MasterCard, Visa Cards and the likes are not accepted in any of Iran’s ATM so make sure you have cash with you in either Euros or USD before coming to Iran. You can just easily exchange them to Iranian Rials once you’re in the city downtown.
STEP 5: WAIT FOR YOUR PASSPORT
Then you’ll have to sit and wait for about 20-30 minutes. Once your name is called, you’ll need to show your visa fee receipt and pick up your passport. Then, you can now proceed and line in to the immigration.
NOTE: Again, Visa Sticker is NO longer attached on the passport. Even when you head to the immigration, the officer will no longer stamp your passport. Thus, there’s no indication of Iran visa that I could show you in this blog.
ARE YOU LEGIBLE FOR A US VISA WAIVER PROGRAM?
I am from the Philippines and thus I am not legible for a US Visa Waiver Program (I actually have a US visa already). But in case you are legible: this means after visiting Iran, you’ll have to apply in person for a tourist visa next time you want to visit the United States. I know… Donald Trump sucks! haha.
- Visa Type: Tourist Visa
- Visa Validity: 30 Days
- Visa Fee: USD 65.00
- Travel Insurance Fee: 18 Euro
Now you’re ready to go to Iran. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did! If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to post your comment below!
- Hotel / Hostel
- Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com but looks like Tehran’s hostels/hotels are not available in Booking.com neither in Agoda, so I used HostelWorld. Just like Booking.com, they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
- KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.