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How to get visa On Arrival for Iran at the airport (2017)

It is well known that for a couple of years it is possible to get the 30-day Iranian visa on the same border or when entering the country by different airports, for most of the countries of the world. But I’ll confess something: every time I have to get a Visa On Arrival I think the worst imagining that they will not be granted it for any reason and there I will stay, left with the desire of discovering that new country. Traveling to Iran, with the hermetic and strict reputation it has, it could not be less obviously. And the nerves went further at the beginning of this year when I saw that Trump applied hard restrictions to several countries, among them Iran, thinking that perhaps we could have some new problem for being western.

But the truth is that it couldn’t be any easier.


    Countries that can apply for a Visa On Arrival or do not need it

If you have a passport from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Egypt, Georgia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Syria, Turkey or Venezuela, take it with you and stop reading this post because you will not need a visa!

If you have a passport from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom or the United States, stop reading also as you will have to go through an embassy to do the visa before going to the country.

If, finally, you have a passport from one of the more than 180 countries remaining, you will be able to do the Visa On Arrival, so keep on reading that you will find this article so useful.


    Required information

Just after getting off the plane at Imam Khomeini International Airport, after entering a large room we found a stand with a “VISAS HERE” signboard and a large stack of forms to fill.

To get started, they ask your basic data such as name, surname, passport number, date of birth, name of your father, nationality and occupation.

Then they ask you to write the name, telephone and address of your sponsor in Iran, which I do not understand why, but in this case they use it to refer to who is hosting you. In other words, the accommodation you have booked for the first night. As for the occupation, as we were told, unless you write that you are a journalist, they will not care too much. Finally, they ask for the flight and the date you arrived and the flight and the date of your departure flight.

Ah! And although we always carry several passport photos for our On Arrival visas, in this case they did not ask any photo.


    Important: The insurance

One of the reasons we were scared was also because of the insurance. Other travelers had told us that no matter how well worldwide covered you could be, if they did not read the word “Iran” somewhere in English, they would make us pay the one that they sell.

So I asked to my insurance company to write me a document in English explaining that my insurance also covered me there. But I did not even have to show it! We were asked for the insurance and while I took mine from the backpack, Eugenia showed her (in Italian and without making any direct reference to Iran) and the guard looked at it for a couple of seconds and said that it was useful. I then gave him my insurance and he told me that there was no need, that would be okay.

So I do not know if it is that we got a very permissive worker or he had a low desire to work, but he did not give us any problems.


    The price and the payment

Once they validate your insurance, it is when you must go to the cash to pay the visa.

The same guy gave us a paper with a 75€x2 and pointed out the place where we should pay. We had read online that Italians used to pay 75€ for the visa but what I knew so far was that Spanish people paid 50€, so I asked him a couple of times and he said that no, that I had to pay 75€.

The first thing I thought was that they wanted to overcharge me, but after the experience when I got a CANCELED stamp on my passport entering Laos for discussing with the border police, I had learned the lesson a little so I preferred to wait and see. Even more thinking that if I was denied the visa here, they would get me on a flight back to Barcelona.

So we went to pay and they gave me the bill as it was the cost of the expedition of our two visas, so I just think that they have raised the price of the visa for Spanish recently.

You will also see a sign that says that when making any payment, there is a €3 commission, so if you are going to issue two or more visas at once, pay them together, so you will distribute the payment of that commission.

The payment can be easily made in euros or dollars. They have change of all the different bills and if they have to return a smaller amount, they will do it in Rials.


    Neither proving where we sleep nor when we leave

Something that also frightened us a lot was the obligation to show the flight back and the first night of accommodation. Being that we like to go with a one-way ticket, we had to fix it by reserving (but not paying) the flight out of the country.

Eugenia searched and found a hostel in Tehran, which even being Nowruz, was only 10USD a night, so we booked that first night there.

Finally, neither they looked at one thing nor the other. They made us write it on the paper and that’s it. They made us wait half an hour, as there were quite a few people there issuing the visa, and when it was ready they called us.


    Latest notes

To start you should know that if you have evidence in your passport to have been in Israel, they will not let you pass, so change your passport or ask for a duplicate.

In principle, having entered the country with the visa issued on arrival, it can be extended 15 days, but only once. However, I have met travelers who have extended it twice, having 30 more days in each of them.

If you are from the large group of countries that can do the visa on arrival, you will not need a visa to stay for up to 14 days on the islands of Kish and Qeshm.

To finish, just say that, as you could read, it was really easy and quick to get the visa at the airport. Luckily, all the scare we had was left behind and we ended up having the visas stamped in our passports that would let us explore this new country for the following 30 days.


    Preparing a visit to the wonderful country that is Iran?
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