If you are planning to visit probably the most welcoming and hospitable country in the world – Iran, you may wonder how to obtain the Iran Visa. Immigration procedures seem to be a little complicated, but in this article we will show you the easiest way you can deal with it and enter this wonderful country without too much hassle. Keep reading to find out how to get Iran Visa on Arrival in just 6 quick steps!
Traditional way of applying for a visa in the embassy or consulate usually requires to visit the office at least two times. Firstly, to apply for the visa and then to collect the document. Definitely it’s not a good option for those who live far from the capital cities or are simply too busy to spend the time for that. Applying for an Iranian electronic visa may be a good alternative. However they are reports on the internet that the system often denied visa forms for no reason. Evisa system in Iran was created recently, so probably it will take some time until they correct all errors and it will start working properly.
In our opinion the best way to obtain the Iranian visa is to apply for Visa On Arrival after landing at the airport in Tehran. Almost all foreigners, who travel to Iran, enter the country through Imam Khomeini International Airport in the capital city. We had no problems to get our visas through this way and want to share with you our experience about dealing with all the formalities concerning Iranian VOA.
*Unfortunately Visa On Arrival method doesn’t work for a few nationalities including Americans, British or Canadians. Citizens of these countries may face bigger problems to visit Iran, like attending in organized tours only.
1. Get health insurance
You need to have a health insurance for the whole period of your stay in Iran. Your policy will be checked at the airport in the first place at the insurance counter. All other visa formalities will be done at another counter when you will have your insurance checked. Btw, total amount of the insurance doesn’t matter.
Important ⇒ On your insurance document you must have a clear statement that your policy covers the territory of Islamic Republic of Iran. Any words like
world, everywhere, all countries or anything like that don’t count! The easiest way to get such a note is to buy a standard, cheap travel insurance, which covers the whole world. Then write to your insurance company and ask them to send to you by email a scan of the confirmation. It needs to have a required note about its validity in Iran and their stamp on it. Next just print it and bring it with you at the airport. This method provides you a document that with a high degree of certainty should be accepted by the officials.
If you didn’t buy your insurance in advance or if the official didn’t accept your document you can always buy the local one at the airport. They charge €15/person for it.
However your own insurance would be generally cheaper than this one. We paid €7 (approx. $8) for two of us for an insurance covering the whole world.
2. Pay a fee
Paying a visa fee is the second step during your application process. Prices of the Iranian visa depend on your nationality. For example, European Union citizens pay €75, while Australians are charged much more. The official price of the visa is always stated in Euros, but you can pay in US dollars as well using the current exchange rate. Change is given.
3. Book a hotel
You need to have a printed hotel reservation for at least your first night in Iran. Sometimes the officials may call the hotel to check if you really have the reservation there. Note that the popular hotel search engines (like
Booking.com, Trivago, etc.) don’t work for lodging in Iran due to international sanctions put on this country. That’s why it’s not so easy to get the confirmed reservation. As a result, you will need to make a reservation via e-mail. Some hotels in Tehran quickly reply to e-mails and are willing to send you a booking confirmation with your data, which is required for your Iran Visa on Arrival application. If you need a few hotels in Iran, whose owners do that, send us a message on e-mail or social media accounts. We will gladly text you back with a couple of tested addresses ;)
4. Fill the departure card
You will be given a standard departure card to fill in with your basic personal data. Generally, there’s no problem with that apart from one catch:
There’s a column in a card called OCCUPATION. If you are a journalist, TV reporter and other media worker, freelance writer or even blogger you mustn’t write anything about it there. Remember that in Iran officials are extremely sensitive about any kind of foreign journalism. You have to get special permits to do that and they are very hard to obtain. Even if you are a journalist and visit Iran just for a holiday, don’t risk to be considered as someone who may want to do some secret, illegal reporting. Tell the officials that you want to visit this country for touristic reasons and just write something more neutral. In our case we wrote “STUDENT” in the job column and it was completely fine. Some reporters were denied to enter Iran when their trying to get tourist visas.
5. Have a return flight ticket and one passport photo
Nobody check that and it seems to be a dead letter, but it’s still formally required. Better to be safe than sorry.
6. Wait patiently
They check all documents and produce your visa very very slowly, so it takes at least 45min-1h to get everything done. When there are queues it may take even longer. After that you can enjoy your Iran Visa on Arrival in your passport!
* There’s a common myth spread on the internet that you won’t be allowed to enter Iran when you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. It’s not true as the only condition you must meet in this case is that the evidence of your visit in Israel must be at least 12 months old. However expect additional questions from the officials about your visit in Israel, like the reasons of your staying there.
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