Iran Visa and Visa on Arrival; a Complete Guide

The Iranian visa can be issued for the citizens of all countries in the world in different types depending on their desired visa type and nationalities. Iranian visa types include tourist, business, medical, pilgrimage, and transit visas. This article provides a complete guide for getting a tourist visa and its related issues.

Tourist Visa

Iran’s tourist visa is issued for those foreign nationals who want to travel to Iran, either individually or with a group for tourism or family purposes. If the traveller has someone in Iran to write an invitation letter for them, the process of issuing the visa would be faster and easier.

How to Apply for a Tourist Visa?

There are generally two ways to get a visa: applying online or applying for a Visa on Arrival. However, all types of defined Iranian visas can be applied online; citizens of certain countries must apply for visas in person and through the relevant embassy of Iran. Citizens of the U.S., Britain, Canada, Colombia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Somalia need to go through the in-person process at the relevant embassy and may be invited to an interview. Additionally, citizens of the U.S., Britain, and Canada may need to be escorted by an approved guide throughout their visit.

Visa Validity

The tourist visa, or type-B visa, has a 3-month entry validity and 30 days of validity upon entrance. The applicants can generally extend their visa two times and each time for thirty days for a total of 90 days.

Visa Requirements

The Iranian tourist visa can be issued electronically via Evisa Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs website via the Internet, or in one of the 13 Iranian international airports. The first step for applying for the Iranian visa is to electronically submit your application at the website of the E-visa department. (This website is available in Farsi, English, Arabic, and German).

To apply for this visa type, you need electronic copies of the following documents:

  • I.D. photos:
    ✔ Taken within the last six months before the application
    ✔ In a plain white background
    ✔ Neutral face, you must not be smiling in your photo
    ✔ A headcover is not necessary unless for religious purposes, in which case the applicant must make sure their whole face is shown

You can find more information about the I.D. photos under this link.

  • Passport:
    ✔ Applicants must hold a passport valid for at least six months
    ✔ The digital copy must be in colour
    ✔ Only the first page is required

You can find more information about the I.D. photos under this link.

Visa Application

After you complete and submit the application form by answering a few questions, a verification code will be sent to your email address. When you confirm your email address, you will receive a tracking code that you can use later to check the status of your application. If there are any changes to the status of your application, you will receive an email.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Visa?

It can take up to 10 working days to issue your visa. In addition, the waiting time for citizens of the U.S., U.K. and Canada can be between 1 and 3 months. Citizens of these countries will need to provide a full itinerary in addition to the above documents.

Visa-on-Arrival

To promote the tourism industry and simplify the visa process, Iran has made it possible to obtain an Iranian visa on arrival at one of the country’s international airports. It is recommended to apply online in advance as the process can be somewhat time-consuming.

Which Airports Issue a Visa-on-Arrival?
  • There are a total of 13 international airports in Iran where you can apply and obtain a visa on arrival. These include:
  • Imam Khomeini International Airport (Tehran)
  • Shahid Beheshti International Airport (Isfahan)
  • Shahid Dastgheib International Airport (Shiraz)
  • Shahid Hashemi International Airport (Mashhad)
  • Shahid Madani International Airport (Tabriz)
  • Soleimani International Airport (Ahvaz)
  • Larestan International Airport
  • Bandar Abbas International Airport
  • Shahid Bakeri International Airport (Urumia)
  • Kerman, Kish, Qeshm, and Bushehr International Airport.

Additionally, travelers by sea can obtain an on-arrival visa at the port of Shahid Rajaei in southern Iran, Hormozgan.

Application Fee

A fee must be paid for the application, which depends on the applicant’s nationality and can range from 10 to 150 euros. This fee must be paid either when you pick up your visa at an embassy or airport or when you apply for a visa- on- arrival at the airport. The fee is higher if you apply for a visa on arrival at one of the international airports without first applying electronically. Note that this fee is 75 euros for most European countries.

Remember that you can only pay the issuing fee in cash and euros if you want to apply for a VOA, so do not forget to bring the exact money.

What Is the Next Step?

Once you have successfully applied and your documents have been checked, you will receive an authorization code. You can either go to one of Iran’s embassies to collect your visa or pick it up at one of the Iranian international airports.

Travel Insurance

You will also need to have travel medical insurance to enter the country, which you can easily purchase at the airport. Due to the new Corona regulations, travel insurance must also cover Covid.

Visa Extension

As mentioned earlier, the Iranian visa can be extended twice with a total stay of 90 days. This can usually be done within a day at an Immigration and Passport Police Office, which you can find with a simple Google search in any city. Keep in mind that you may need to explain your reasons for extending your stay, which can include the cities you plan to visit during the extended time.

Required Documents for Visa Extention

The required documents are the completed extension form you can obtain from the Immigration Office, your original passport and copies of the pages (two copies of each page are sufficient), two passport photos, and the receipt for payment of the extension fee of 345,000 Iranian Rial. This amount must be paid at the Immigration Office.

How Long Does It Take to Get My Extended Visa?

Depending on the office’s workload on the day, your new visa will be ready between an hour to a day. Try not to postpone your visa extension to the last day, as it may take longer to be prepared in some cases. Therefore, start the process at least one week before your visa expiration date. In addition, please be mindful that Friday is the weekend in Iran which means all offices are closed.

Visa-Exempt Countries
  • To boost the tourism industry, Iran has allowed nationals of the following countries to visit Iran without a visa, but only for a certain period:
  • Armenia, Syria, Oman, and Turkey up to 90 days
  • Georgia up to 45 days
  • Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon, Bolivia up to 30 days
  • China, Hong Kong, and Macao up to 21 days
  • Egypt up to 20 days
  • and Malaysia, and Venezuela up to 15 days.
Iranian Visa for the U.S., the U.K., and Canadian Citizens

As briefly mentioned earlier, American, British and Canadian citizens must apply for their Persian visa in advance and through the relevant embassy. To obtain a visa, they must apply for it as part of an organized group tour with government-approved tour guides and detailed itineraries. This can be done through Iranian travel agencies. The travel agency will inform the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your visit at least 2 weeks before your trip and receive confirmation that a visa will be issued. The travel agency must also provide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a hotel reservation for your stay and itinerary.

Iranian Passport

The Iranian passport, also known as the Persian passport, is currently ranked 104th according to the Guide Passport Ranking Index. With visa-free access to only 8 destinations and visa-on-arrival for 35 countries, the Iranian passport is considered a low mobility score visa.

Iranian Visa during the Pandemic

After a 20-month pause, in October 2021, visitors who are fully vaccinated and have a negative PCR test will be allowed to enter Iran, provided they carry their health certificate or test results. The PCR test must not be older than 96 hours and must be presented by all travellers older than 12 years old.