How to get Iran tourist Visa.

Indian passport holders can enjoy visa-free travel to less than 60 countries(2020). Some of them offer E-Visa, and very few offer Visa on arrival. This becomes the biggest hindrance for Indian backpackers and flashpackers. While the Iran tourist visa is one of the toughest to get for American, British and Canadian tourists, it is one of the easiest Visas for Indian citizens. Moteshakeram ( Meaning -thankful in Persian)

HEADS UP –If there is proof of entry to Israel in your passport, you cannot travel to Iran. UK, US, and Canadian citizens cannot travel to Iran without a guide.

So here is your complete guide to getting our most beloved nation-Iran’s tourist Visa.

Is it easy to get Iran visa?

It isn’t as easy as getting Thailand tourist Visa, but definitely not a hassle. Iran began to offer visa-on-arrival (VoA) to Indians at its airports in 2018. As we always prefer to have Visa in hand before departure, we got E-Visa a month before the date of departure.

Is Iran visa Free for Indians?

Nope. Indians are eligible for Iran E-Visa & Visa on arrival. But we have to pay Visa fees.

Beautiful detailed ceiling or Iran's mosque

The easy Visa process makes us the happiest – The picture above is of the roof of a historic house in Kashan.

How much is the Iran visa fee?

While getting our actual Visa at Iran Airport, we paid 45 Euros per person. This fee varies with the nationality of the visitors. And you must pay it in cash – Either Euros or Rials.

Why do Iran visa applications get rejected?

Your Visa applied through Iran’s official E-Visa portal will be rejected very likely as it happened to us & many other travellers. To get Iran Visa, you should have an Iran cell phone number & authorization code, which most of us won’t have as non-Iran residents. If you have an invitation letter or a relative living there, you can get either of them.

So you must apply through any reliable travel agencies in Iran to get your Visa as we did through 1stquest. They are super-efficient and helped us in a few other Iran travel things too. All you have to do is fill the required fields and attach your photo and passport cover photo. We got our E-Visa grant in three working days!

Is travel insurance mandatory for Iran?

Wall mural showing persian artists weaving carpets

 Iran MFA is particular about Travel insurance Companies. Not all company’s insurances are valid. You can buy insurance at the airport while getting your Visa process done. Officers will guide you, but it is a waste of time at the airport. You have to do a bit of running around from kiosk to kiosk. So we opted for purchasing insurance from a company called Saman Insurance.

What do you need to travel to Iran?

LIST OF DOCUMENTS REQUIRED – If you apply through their Iran official MFA website with your Iran cellphone number & authorization code, click here for a list of documents.

Suppose you are Applying through 1STquest as we and which we recommend, your valid passport copy, photograph with white background, and Travel insurance will be asked for.

Should women wear HIjab in the photo used for Iran Visa?

Beautiful photo of Indian woman traveller wearing hijab and a gown infront of highly articulated wall of stucco art work at Kashan in Iran

No. Your regular photo abiding by the size and background requirement is good enough. You will need it only if you want to get your Visa extended later while in Iran at smaller towns like Yazd and Shiraz.

How long does it take to get a visa to Iran?

When we first applied through Iran’s official E-Visa portal which doesn’t ask you to pay Visa fees, we got our rejection message after a week. We got our Iran Tourist Visa three days after applying through an Iranian travel agency.

What are Iran visas and Visa grants?

Iran tourist Visa grant with tourist detail and elaborately drawn Islamic geometric pattern as a symbol

I bet that Visa grant is the most beautiful Visa grant you will ever receive – Iran is artsy even in their Visa grant.

When you apply through E-Visa, you receive a Visa grant, not the actual Visa. The MFA says they still can reject your Visa, even after getting your Visa grant, if the officers at the airport find your documents wrongful or suspicious.

Glazed tile creating vivid pattern on the cieling of Golestan palace at Iran

Iran Visa grant and its architecture – Full of intricate geometrical patterns and vivid colours. The picture above is from Golestan Palace, Tehran.

Is it easy to clear the immigration process at Tehran Airport?

All officers were kind and helpful. We finished the Visa process in 10 Minutes and moved toward the Immigration check. You have to carry hard copies of the Visa grant and travel insurance while getting the Visa at airports. Otherwise, you have to buy the insurance at the airport. Apart from these two documents, the officers didn’t ask for anything else. Learn little phrases of Farsi. Iranians love when we approach them for help talking in their language. Plus, Airport officials speak decent English.

Tehran airport is the biggest of all in Iran, hence it is easier here. In 2020 Shiraz international airport was functioning though it was half-built. Since we were exiting Iran from Shiraz, there were no procedures to follow. But if you decide to enter Iran at other airports or cross land borders from Armenia or other countries, do extensive research beforehand as the process may not be as smooth as it is in Tehran. You may not be able to buy insurance at the land borders and smaller borders.

I have read that the Visa extension process is harder in the countryside Police station. The image above is of an isolated village in Isfahan Province.

How long is Iran visa valid?

Usually for 15, 30 or 45 days. You can get it extended once you are in Iran if need be. Many long-time travellers end up spending time more than they thought they would – Indeed, Iran is that beautiful.

To get your Iran tourist Visa extended, visit any Alien and Foreign Immigrant Office (in police stations) in major cities like Tehran, Isfahan, and Yazd and ask for a visa extension. They will help you through the process. The general opinion is Yazd or Shiraz are better cities for this process.

Does Iran stamp your passport?

The beautiful and clean streets of Tehran

YOUR PASSPORT WILL NOT BE STAMPED IN IRAN AT ALL! To avoid travellers’ struggles of getting other country Visas in the future, Iran stamps a foreigner’s passport neither while entering nor while exiting.

Did this help you to get your Iran tourist Visa? Let us know in the comment section below.

Heads up, we are very honest and keep it no secret.
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