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How to get an Iranian Visa in 2020

Updated March 2020, How to get an Iranian Visa was originally written in July 2019

Getting a visa for Iran isn’t that difficult (unless you’re traveling on an American, British or Canadian passport, in which you should click here to find out what you’ll need to do in Jetfarer’s post on traveling Iran as an American).

In this post, I will share the steps I went through to get an Iranian visa on my Italian passport in 2019.


Plan your visit: The Iran itinerary
and pick up a copy of Bradt Iran to help you plan out your visit


How To Get An Iranian Visa For Overland Travelers

If you plan to enter Iran from one of its land borders, you’ll need to apply for a full-blown Iranian visa as visa on arrival is not issued at the borders.

When I visited Iran in April 2019 I did have to get an Iranian visa in advance as I traveled overland from Afghanistan to Iraq.

First, Apply For An Iranian Visa Authorization Code From The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs

You’ll need to head to this website here in order to apply for it.

What You’ll Need For Your Iranian Visa

  • A passport scan
  • A passport photo, women should wear a headscarf, however, I know people that didn’t and had no issues
  • A filled in application
  • Specify which embassy or consulate you plan to apply for the visa at

Filling out the application is super straightforward. Once you submit the application you’ll be sent an email from the Iranian MFA letting you know your application was received. I received an email 5 days later with my visa authorization code.

Carpets, Persian Rugs, Mashhad, Iran, Afghanistan Iran border crossing, carpet wash, carpet washer
Visiting a carpet washer in Mashhad

Next, Apply For Your Iranian Visa

Applying By Mail

For this part, you’ll need to visit the website of the embassy or consulate you had entered on your authorization code application that you’ll be applying at. There should be an application form (usually under the ‘visa’ section).

You’ll need to fill out an application and print it. You will also need to print a copy of your visa authorization form and include both this and the visa application in the envelope along with your passport and fee for the visa.

Finally, you will mail this all into the consulate or embassy you’ve specified you’ll be applying at. Mine was received and processed the next day. Once your visa is approved you’ll receive an email from the Iranian MFA letting you know your visa was approved (or denied).

This is your visa. Iran will no longer place fixed visas in passports so you will need to print your visa and carry it with you. Iran will also not stamp passports, and instead this paper.

Applying In Person At The Embassy/Consulate

This will be much of the same process. If you can, print an application online and arrive with it already filled in just to save time. You’ll hand over your passport and authorization code paper. Some consulates will allow you to pay in cash, others will require you to go to a specified bank and deposit money into an account. Once completed you’ll take a receipt from the bank to the consulate and they’ll begin processing your visa application.

Azadi Tower, Adazi Tower Tehran, Freedom Tower, Freedom Tower Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Azadi Tower, Tehran

Visa On Arrival

Visa on arrival is only available at Iran’s international airports— Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan, Tabriz, Kish Island, and Qeshm Island.

Every nationality is eligible for visa on arrival EXCEPT: US, UK, Canada, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sri Lanka.

You are technically supposed to apply for an authorization code prior to your arrival in Iran. However, many travelers enter Iran through its international airports without an authorization code and have no issues.

What You Need For Visa On Arrival

  • Passport
  • An itinerary booked with a licensed tour agency guide OR evidence of a few nights booked at a hotel in Iran
  • Visa authorization code, if you have it
  • Proof of travel insurance that specifically covers Iran— if you don’t you can purchase it at the airport. I’ve read on other sites the cost is between 14-18€ for 30 days of coverage if you purchase at the airport.

You may or may not be asked for these but it would be smart to have with you:

  • Proof of funds- just bring a print off of a recent bank statement
  • Passport photos
  • Proof of onward travel
  • Once off the plane you’ll follow the signs to the visa window where you’ll be asked a few questions and given an application to fill out and then will need to go to another window to pay your visa fee in USD or Euros. Once again go back to the visa window with your payment receipt and application.

As I’ve not arrived in Iran by air or experienced getting a visa on arrival I am only giving information I had researched in the beginning stages of my trip. For a full rundown of the process go check out Nomadasaurus and Against the Compass for a breakdown of the experience with Iranian visa on arrival.

Hormuz, Hormuz Island, Hormuzgan, Red Beach, Red Beach Hormuz, Red Beach Iran, Iran, Solo female travel Iran
The peculiar island of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf

How Much Does An Iranian Visa Cost?

Typically 75€ for most all nationalities, plus or minus an additional fee. Australians pay 145€.

Important Notes

  • If you have evidence of travel to Israel you will not be allowed into Iran. So that means any stamp, migration cards, etc., some websites say that if the stamp is older than 6 months it’s okay and others say it’s not. Personally, I would err on the side of caution with this and have zero evidence of travel to Israel (though I’ve never actually been to Israel so it has never been a concern in my travels.
  • If you list your profession as anything remotely related to media, press, journalism, military, or photography you’re application will be denied.
  • I personally applied for my Iranian visa in my Italian passport by mail (after receiving a verification code) at the Iranian interests section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC and had no issues.
  • Many websites, social media, and some apps are banned in Iran. To access them you will need to download a VPN (virtual private network) to work around these blocks. VPNs are recommenced for privacy purposes as well, especially when you are using wifi networks at hotels. To learn more about what VPNs are and how they work click here.

Need Travel Insurance for Iran?

Start shopping plans over at 1st Quest.

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