If you are traveling to Iran for the first time, then you will need to know about an Iran visa Policy in advance. You need to refer to the embassies of Iran or Iran Consulates in other countries with your documents in hand to apply for a visa.

The first thing you need to know is the countries that the citizens of which need to apply for an Iranian visa before entering the country.

Iran visa policy

How to Apply for an Iranian Visa?

Before applying for an Iranian visa, you will need an Iranian citizen to sponsor you and issue you a letter of invitation. When you have the letter of invitation, you can submit the letter along with other required documents to the Embassy or Consulate of Iran in your country. However, the easiest and most guaranteed way is applying through a travel agency like TAP Persia.

The Letter of Invitation for Iranian Visa

You can contact a travel agency to provide you with a letter of invitation if you are traveling for tourism. You can also contact a friend or relative to host you. If you are traveling for business purposes, then your company should take care of the required document for your trip. Your friend, relative, company, or the travel agency that has offered to sponsor you must submit their application to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). If their request is approved, then they will send you a visa code. All you need to do next is to take the visa code to the Embassy or Consulate of Iran in your country along with other necessary documents.

The Documents Required for Visa Application

Iran visa policy

According to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply for an Iran visa:

  1. Passport
  2. Travel itinerary
  3. Résumé or Curriculum Vitae – You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.
  4. Digital personal photo according to the requirements announced.
  5. Digital image of your passport according to the requirements announced.
  6. Other Information – Some applicants, depending on the intended visa types, will be asked to provide additional information when completing the online visa application.

While you cannot apply for the Iranian entry visa online, you can request the Iran visa code through the website of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Different Types of  Iran Visas

According to the website of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are multiple types of Iran visas that individuals who would like to obtain an Iranian visa can apply for:

  • Entry: Visa for foreign citizens who have letters of invitations applied for them by their sponsoring companies or other parties.
  • Tourist: Visa for foreign citizens who wish to travel to Iran for tourism purposes.
  • Pilgrimage: Visa for Muslim tourists who would like to visit Iran’s holy shrines.
  • Diplomatic Services: A temporary visa for government officials or those who work in foreign consulates who would like to visit Iran mainly for diplomatic purposes.
  • Education: Visa for foreign students or those who have religious scholars and wish to continue their studies in Iran.
  • Temporary Work: Visa for foreign citizens who would like to work in Iran.
  • Transit: Visa for foreign citizens who wish to pass through Iran to get to other destinations and wish not to stay in Iran.
  • Media: Visa for the foreign members of the media, including reporters, journalists, directors, actors, producers, etc who wish to travel to Iran to develop their profession.
  • Investment: Visa for foreign investors who have been approved by the Organization for Investment Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran.

Marital: Visa for foreign men who have married Iranian women who have not yet registered their marriage within the Iranian legal system. This type of visa can be applied for their children as well. Furthermore, if their foreign relatives wish to accompany them to their visit to Iran, they can apply for Entry Visa

Medical: Visa for foreign citizens who wish to come to Iran for medicinal purposes, and have already received their letter of invitation from their Iranian host.

Visit this article (Different type of Iran visa), to learn more about the eligible candidates for the various types of visas above, and their required documents.

Which Countries’ Citizens Require a Visa before Entering Iran?

The countries whose citizens need to apply for an Iran visa before entering the country are listed below:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • India
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Libya
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tajikistan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  •  Yemen

Which Countries’ Citizens Do not Require Iran Visa before Entering the Country?

The citizens of the following countries do not require an Iranian visa upon entering Iran, but they can only stay in Iran for a limited time:

  • Armenia – up to 90 days within 180 days
  • Azerbaijan – up to 30 days
  • Bolivia – up to 30 days
  • China – up to 21 days
  • Egypt – up to 20 days
  • Georgia – up to 45 days
  • Iraq – up to 30 days
  • Hong Kong – up to 21 days
  • Lebanon – up to 30 days
  • Macau – up to 21 days
  • Malaysia – up to 15 days
  • Oman – up to 30 days
  • Syria – up to 90 days within 180 days
  • Turkey – up to 3 months
  • United Arab Emirates – up to 30 days
  • Venezuela – up to 15 days

The citizens of the mentioned countries can obtain a “visa-free entry” which indicates that they can “land” in Iran for a specified period and will not require a visa during that time. The reason that the citizens of these countries can enter Iran without a Visa is that Iran and these countries have formally agreed that it is within the interest of both countries to allow their citizens to enter their countries without the need for a visa for a limited period for the sole purpose of business or tourism and pleasure.

What is the Difference between “Visa-Free Entry” and “Visa on Arrival”?

There is another option to get an Iranian visa that does not require you to apply for a visa in advance and that is called getting a Visa on Arrival (VOA). There are two ways to apply for a Visa on Arrival:

  1.     You can decide to follow the proceedings of your visa approval at the airport.
  1. You can get a Visa on Arrival from the following airports:
  •   Ahvaz International Airport (Ahvaz).
  •   Bandar Abbas International Airport (Bandar Abbas).
  •   Imam Khomeini International Airport (Tehran).
  •   Isfahan International Airport (Isfahan).
  •   Kerman Airport (Kerman).
  •   Kish International Airport (Kish Island).
  •   Larestan International Airport (Lar).
  •   Mashhad International Airport (Mashad).
  •   Mehrabad International Airport (Tehran).
  •   Qeshm International Airport (Qeshm Island).
  •   Shiraz International Airport (Shiraz).
  •   Tabriz International Airport (Tabriz).
  •   Urmia Airport (Urmia).

Iran visa policy

In this case, you will be granted a visa for entering the country, but you have to wait inside the airport for the application to get approved. However, if your visa application is not approved, you will be deported. Therefore, it might be wise to apply for a visa beforehand to limit the unnecessary risks. Nonetheless, if you decide to get your visa at the airport follow these steps:

  1. Refer to the Visa and Passport Office that is located before the passport control gates.
  2. You may be required to provide a password that has at least 6 months of validity and other travel documents including your hotel reservation confirmation.
  3. You might also be asked to provide your travel insurance documents. Make sure to buy travel insurance coverage online before getting on the plane to Iran. You can buy your online Iran travel insurance coverage.  
  4.         You have to pay the fee for the visa stamp at the visa office.
  5.         The officers at the visa office will have to process your application. If your visa is approved, a visa will be stamped on your passport and you can now enter through the gates.
  6.     You can decide to follow the visa application process online and before entering the country which is the safest route that carries no further risks of your visa application getting rejected and you getting deported.

Who is Eligible for a Visa on Arrival?

You can apply for a Visa on Arrival if you have any of the following requirements:

  •  You are traveling to Iran with the purpose of tourism and not any other purpose including journalism or for diplomatic purposes. If you are traveling to Iran as a journalist, you should apply for a press visa instead.
  •  If you have a passport from any of the following countries, you need to apply for an ordinary travel visa: USA, UK, Canada, Colombia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. If you have a passport to any of these countries, you need to apply for a regular tourist visa.
  • If your visa application has previously been rejected, you may need to apply in advance, and it would be best if you apply for your visa before entering the country lest you would be rejected again.
  •  If you are an Iranian dual national, all you need is an Iranian passport to travel to Iran.
  • It is worth mentioning that the VOA is not issued right now due to covid. For now it is only possible for travelers to apply through a travel agency. It is the fastest and safest way you can get your visa. You can track your application process easily and it is a guaranteed way to make sure everything is fine for your trip to the wonderous land of Persia.