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How to apply for an Iran visa on the road

How to apply for an Iran Visa on the road

Ever wondered how to apply for an Iran Visa on the road? Most people I’ve met on the road so far applied for the Iran Visa in their home country. Some of us don’t have that luxury – especially if you’ve already been on the road 3 months or longer.

It’s very possible and quite a simple process, all an Iran visa requires is a little planning. Once the inital process is complete, you’ll be on your way to see an incredible country and some very kind people – the kindest bunch I’ve met so far.

The article below will explain how to apply for an Iran visa on the road and is targeted more at overlanders, but can be used as a guide by most types of travellers.

People overlanding from the US, UK and Canada, this process will apply to you HOWEVER you’ll need a tour if you decide to go about your visa this way. On that note, check with your chosen consul to see if they still issue Iran visas. As of October 2016, IF you are from the US, UK and Canada, read more about your visa situation here and also check out the Caravanistan forum. Everyone else read on!

First things first – MFA authorisation code…

Before you even apply for your Iran visa, you will need a visa authorisation code. You get this code from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). It takes between 7-10 working days for you to get your authorisation code, I recieved mine after 7 working days. With this code you will also receive the LOI (Letter of invitation).

The good news is that you can do it online. The website I used to get my authorisation code was Key2Persia. You can either send them an email or go ahead and follow the instructions on the link attached to their visa page. They are very responsive and will give you clear instructions on how to complete the application for a code.

If their link to the visa application form doesn’t work (there seems to be an issue with android) you should fill out this visa application form on their site. It is the exact same application form on the website, just a different link. You don’t have to use Key2persia though, there is many tour operators in Iran that render this service

Persian Voyages www.persianvoyages.com

Pasargad Tours www.pasargad-tours.com

Touran Zamin www.touranzamin.com

DO NOT MENTION YOU ARE DRIVING BY CAR OR RIDING MOTORCYCLE TO THEM – they will want you to purchase a tour. Never, ever, volunteer information when regarding visas. Big no-no.

Given times of recieving the authorisation code are around 10 working days – I recieved mine in 7 working  days. Authorisation code is only valid for a month, so make sure you get to a consulate within that time frame. The Iran Visa (different to your MFA authoristaion code) will be valid for 3 months right after the date of issue. The code application fee was €27 at my time of application (August 2016). You can pay this with your Paypal account. They will supply all the information that you will need via email.

How to apply for an Iran visa – what you need

So, it’s been 10 days and you’ve recieved your MFA authorisation code in your email! Yes! That’s the first part done, what next?

Here’s what you need

– 1 x Passport (2 empty pages)

– 2 x passport size photographs, white background

– 1 x copy of your MFA authorisation code (you will recieve this code in your email from Key2Persia or other Iran tour operator)

– 1 x LOI

– 1 x visa application form (these can only be picked up from your selected consul) and whatever you do DON’T MENTION YOU ARE DRIVING OR RIDING A MOTORCYCLE. Just don’t. Big no-no remember?

– copies of hotel bookings (consulate dependant, Istanbuls Iran consul did not require these)

– Money to pay for the visa (you can do same day, next day or 3 day processing at the Iran consul in Istanbul)

Please note that women may or may not have to wear a scarf or hijab when applying for the Iran visa. Check your selected consuls website.

The application form

The most annoying question on the form is listing your places of accomodation and contacts. Just have some bookings with you so you can fill out the form then and there. You may need faux bookings via Booking.com which you can cancel (free of charge) once you’ve recieved your visa. You can use the hotels also as the contacts on your application – just jot down the telephone numbers and names of two hotels and hey presto, hard part over.

DO NOT MENTION YOU ARE DRIVING OR RIDING A MOTORCYCLE INTO IRAN. I hope you haven’t missed this point yet.

How to apply for an Iran visa – Istanbul

Go to your chosen consul (here’s the Iran MFA listings) fill out the application paper and hand it in with your passport and picture. Depending on which consul you go to, you will pay the amount in the consul, or at a close by bank. They may ask for US or local currency. Check with your consul.

For most people coming from europe, a logical place to pick up the visa is the Istanbul consul as it’s on a direct route to Iran. This is where I picked up my visa. Here’s the location. Before you go to the Iran consul, give them a call and check your MFA has arrived. You can also email them fo find out, which I did. They speak good english at the Istanbul consul.

Tell them you are applying for a visa and how fast you want the visa processed. Once they look up your mfa code, they will give you an application form and a deposit receipt for the Ziraat bank around the corner to accept payment. After paying at the bank, go back and submit your application with the receipt the bank gave you.

Go back and recieve your visa inside your passport on the selected day. That’s it. Incredibly simple really isn’t it?

How to apply for an Iran visa – In summary

Visa process is long but simple

1 – apply for an MFA authorisation code through Key2Persia or

Persian Voyages www.persianvoyages.com

Pasargad Tours www.pasargad-tours.com

Touran Zamin www.touranzamin.com

2 – once recieving MFA code have documents ready to go

3 – submit application at chosen Iran consul

4 – pay fee and pickup. Iran visa is valid for 3 months from date of issue

5 – Allow a processing time from start to finish of AT LEAST 3 weeks

6 – Visa lasts 30 days from entry, and will have a validity of 3 months from issue date. This means you can enter the country a day before the visa expires after and still have your 30 days valid to explore Iran. Cool huh?

Please note – experiences at other consuls may vary. This is based on my personal experience at the Iran consulate in Istanbul. Check Caravanistans Iran Visa forums for updates on your selected consulate.

If you are from the UK, US or Canada, you’ll need a tour. Please read this and check Caravanistan. There is a specific section aimed at Brits, Americans and Canadians. No way around this one that I’m aware of. Sorry guys.

If you have any comments, questions or updates on the matter, please leave a comment below or email – [email protected]

Good luck!