When tourists intend to visit Iran they need to get a visa according to the existing regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The tourist visa is issued for a maximum stay of 30 days but it can be extended. Some nationalities are eligible for visa free entry like Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, and Venezuela.In case travellers are not from the above mentioned countries, there are two ways of getting a visa to Iran. You may apply for your Iranian Tourist Visa on Arrival or in Advance.
Tourists can receive their visas as soon as they arrive on the entry points. This way, there is no need of going through all the paperwork to get the visa authorization code. However it can be a risky option due to visa rejection. Military personnel and journalists cannot apply to get this kind of visa. Some countries are not eligible to apply for this kind of visa. The list is as follows: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, USA, Uzbekistan,
There are different options to this way of getting visas which are discussed separately.
Option 1- Getting visa authorization number in advance and collecting visa on arrival
Travellers are required to apply for a visa authorization number. This number should not be considered as a visa but the main step before their visa application. This number is provided by Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Travellers will connect travel agencies in Iran to apply for this number and pay some amount of money. Having this authorization number in hand, travelers are able to obtain their visa in the air/land /sea or railway borders of Iran. It is needed to declare the entrance border in visa authorization request form. Here you can find the list of Iranian borders: Tehran International Airport (IKA), Shiraz International Airport (SYZ), Isfahan International Airport (IFN), Mashhad International Airport (MHD), Tabriz International Airport (TBZ), Bazargan Land Border, Razi Railway Border, Anzali sea port on Caspian Sea.
Option 2- Apply for Tourist Visa through an Iranian consulate or embassy:
Travelers need to fill out a visa application form in advance and along with other documents take it to Iran’s Embassy/Consulate in the country they are living in. Travellers can contact the embassy and confirm in case there should be any personal appointments. Some of the necessary documents are as follows: completed visa application form (downloadable from the consulate website), the authorization reference code, original passport, 2 recent passport size photos, travel itinerary, bank statement and resident card (if you are living in a country other than your country of origin). The fee for visa is payable at the embassy/consulate travelers want to collect the visa.
Option 3: Apply for Tourist Visa through a third-party:
This is the best options recommended to all tourists and travellers. The process of getting a visa by the help of travel agencies working in Iran not only takes a shorter time but also saves you the trouble of paperwork. It is worth mentioning that travel agencies only get visa authorization code, and in order to get the actual visa travellers have to go to an Iranian embassy/consulate (the one mentioned in initial visa application form as the place travelers wish to collect their visa).
Some points to remember: