Guide to Get Iranian Visa on Arrival

If you could think about one of the more exotic travel destinations, probably Iran would be one of them. Iran is definitely shrouded by mystery. One of them is the visa on arrival (VoA) process. Not many informations could be found in the supposedly all-knowing web called internet. If you could find any, usually it’s outdated.

So, this post will both demystify and give you step by step guide on how to get Iranian VoA, especially at Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran.

Before arriving

First and foremost, here’s the essential you must have when traveling to Iran:

  1. Cash in USD or EUR, sufficient or more than sufficient for your entire trip.
  2. Confirmed hostel or hotel booking, write down the name, address, and the telephone number. This is very important.

Important: Iran is currently under an economic sanction from the West, so your debit and credit card can’t be used in Iran. So, before getting to Iran, plan your trip, and get some USD or EUR for your entire trip. For example, I bring around $800 for around 2 weeks in Iran, and I don’t need more than half of it. But it’s better to be safe than sorry here.

I’ve seen at least two people got stranded here as they didn’t plan beforehand. I hate to plan my trip, but I have to say, at least a little bit careful planning when traveling Iran is essential.

The second point is also important, as the visa officer will actually call and confirm your reservation at the hostel/hotel.

As for paperwork, you essentially just need your passport and that’s it. You don’t need photos, or any return ticket, or anything. Just passport, address, and money.

Iranian VoA process

When you step out from the airplane, follow this process:

  1. Follow the sign to exit the gate. You’ll never miss the Visa Office, as the sign is very clear.
  2. However don’t go directly to the Visa Office just yet. Head straight to the direction of transit office, and just beside that, there’s Insurance Office.
  3. Buy the insurance. It costs $16. Even if you already have an insurance, this is mandatory.
  4. Go to visa office with the purchased insurance certificate. Show them, and they will ask you whether you have authorization number or what not, just tell the truth: “No”. They will give you a form and they will write down how much you have to pay in EUR.
  5. Fill the form truthfully.
  6. Go to bank office, beside the visa office, and pay the amount written in your form. From what I’ve seen, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders must pay €75. Thai also must pay €75. Indonesian must pay €45.
  7. Go back to the visa office and give the officer your filled out form and payment receipt.
  8. Wait until your name got called.
  9. Done.

When you get your passport back, there would be a sticker like this:

Iranian Visa

After that, just head to the immigration, and proceed as usual.

It’s actually very easy to get the VoA for Iran. The only requirements are a little bit of planning. So, at least read and research what would you expect at Iran before you’re getting there, and you’ll be fine.

One of the great resource is http://en.wikivoyage.org. You could even save it offline at your phone, if you follow my guide.