The Iran Visa on Arrival information contained here is based on my experience in February 2017. If you have any questions about this process contact me on Facebook or in the comments below.
I applied for a visa on arrival at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport. A friend of mine applied at the international airport in Shiraz instead, the process was identical. Once you disembark from your plane, you should immediately look for signs pointing you towards the visa area. The airport is small so it is not hard to find this area, just look for the signs. The visa process is as follows:
- Visa on Arrival Application Process
- Do You Need Proof of Onward Travel?
- If You Have Valid Travel Insurance. Bring Proof!
- Bring Email Confirmation For Your First Accomodation
- Do I Need to Bring Passport Photos?
- Which Countries are Eligible for a Visa On Arrival?
- How much does the Visa on Arrival cost?
Visa on Arrival Application Process
1. Purchase or Verify Your Travel Insurance
The first step in the visa process is to sort out your travel insurance. To do this, you will need to head to the travel insurance cashier/desk. Please note that even if you already have travel insurance that is valid for Iran, you still need to have this verified at the insurance desk. If you already have insurance valid in Iran, make sure you have printed your policy certificate and show this at the insurance desk. Make sure to point out where on your certificate that it says ‘Iran’. I travel with World Nomads insurance and specifically made sure that Iran was included. The insurance certificate issued to me by World Nomads explicitly stated that it was valid for Iran. If you have travel insurance but your printed policy does not clearly state that it is valid for Iran, you may be forced to buy a separate policy.
If you are forced to buy insurance at this counter, you will need to pay about 14€ for 30 days of coverage. Coverage for other lengths of time are also available with the cost going up and down proportionally.
2. Fill in Visa Application Form
After purchasing or validating your travel insurance, head over to the visa desk itself and get a small (A5) white visa application form. This small form is quick and easy to fill out and requires your passport details, home address, father’s name, job and a few other details. The form also asks for the location and contact details of the place you will be staying at while in Iran. In this section I included the name, address and phone number for my hostel in Tehran. I did not include the details of all my accommodation in Iran, just the place I was staying at first.
There were no questions on the form about previous travel to Israel. I should note that I had previously been to Israel, however my passport contained no evidence of this. I was relieved to find the form did not ask me if I had been to Israel because really I don’t like lying on visa applications.
3. Pay For Your Visa
After filling out the A5 sized visa application form, return to the visa desk and give the attendant the completed form, your passport as well as your proof of travel insurance. He will respond by scribbling a figure in Euro on a small white piece of paper and will instruct you to pay this at the cashier’s counter located next to the visa desk. For me this figure read 145€. A cost schedule by country for the visa on arrival can be found here. It appears to be an accurate list, but I have not verified it 100% and the list is not complete. New Zealand is not on this list, however after speaking to a few Kiwis while in Iran, I can confirm that the cost is 150€ for NZ passport holders.
Once you have paid the correct price at the cashier you will be handed a receipt. Do not lose the receipt, you will need it!
4. Wait For Your Application to be Processed
The final step is to simply wait. You do not need to go back and speak to the visa desk attendant yet, you just need to wait. Once your application has been processed the attendant will call out your name (or maybe just your country’s name). You will then need to hand over the receipt you received from the cashier and in return you will be handed your passport complete with Iranian visa inside it.
If you made any mistakes on the white A5 visa application form, it will be pointed out to you at this stage. I saw one person in particular fail to include a phone number for his accommodation and so they called out his name and made him correct it. He then he had to wait further. Make sure you completed the form described in step 2 above to avoid any delays at this step.
5. Clear Immigration and Collect Luggage
With your passport in your hand, complete with a brand spanking new visa, you can now head to passport control. This step is very quick and you should not be asked any additional questions. Once you have cleared passport control you can collect your bags. If your application process took a while (as mine did) your luggage will probably not be on the luggage carousel but sitting on the ground somewhere nearby.
Do You Need Proof of Onward Travel?
I did have an onward flight booked and I had a printout of the booking details. However at no stage was I required to show this. From my experience, an onward flight is not required to gain entry to Iran. However, as is often the case, you may be required to show proof of onward travel during the check-in for your flight to Iran.
If You Have Valid Travel Insurance. Bring Proof!
An insurance policy certificate clearly stating that it is valid for Iran. If you do not have this you will need to buy insurance at the airport for about 14€/30 days.
Bring Email Confirmation For Your First Accomodation
An email printout with your first accommodation booking details might be needed. You may not need to actually show this to anyone, but you will need the information on it to fill out your forms. At the very least make sure you have an email containing your accommodation booking details, an address and contact information. Contact details for a hostel are accepted, there is no need to book an expensive hotel.
Only accommodation details for your first stop in Iran appears to be required. I do not believe that the authorities called my accommodation to check if I was actually staying their, however have heard that in other cases they will check.
Do I Need to Bring Passport Photos?
The Visa process as it stands does not require you to bring any passport photos. They will take a copy of your photo contained in your regular passport instead.
Which Countries are Eligible for a Visa On Arrival?
A detailed list of countries eligible for a Visa on Arrival is available the following links.
How much does the Visa on Arrival cost?
The cost of a visa on arrival varies depending on your country of origin. However the most common price is 75€ which is the price for most European countries. Australians and New Zealanders on the other hand pay 145€ and 150€ respectively. A complete list for VoA costs can be found at the link below.
(Header image taken by Ellen from https://travellingtheworldsolo.com/)