Sunday 08 December 2019

Obtaining visas to visit Tehran

First, it’s important to understand the process. Except with transit visas, all visa applicants must be ‘approved’ by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Tehran. This includes those seeking a visa on arrival, who can be approved either in advance or, with a longer wait, on arrival.

If you’re approved, the MFA sends an authorization number to the consulate, which takes your application form, passport photos and fee and issues the visa. Fees vary depending on your country of origin; see the Iran embassy website.

Transit visas are only fractionally cheaper than tourist visas and, while they don’t require authorization from Tehran, only give you up to seven days. The choice, then, is whether to get a tourist visa in advance or on arrival.

Tourist visa Issued for up to 30 days and extendable. Must be obtained before coming to Iran and valid to enter for 90 days from the issue date. This is the surest option.

Tourist visa on arrival (VOA) Issued for 30 days on arrival at any Iranian international airport.

Transit visa Issued for five to seven days, this is the last resort. You must enter and exit via different countries, and have a visa or a ticket to an onward country. Transit visas are not available to US passport holders. To most other nationalities, the visas can be obtained in one or two days and no authorization number is required.