Currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand (06/12/2013) - 31200km cycled

1 Dec 2012

Getting a visa for Iran

Posted by Will

Iran (Nov 2012 – Ankara Embassy, Turkey –
N.B. Visa information falls out of date quickly so check a number of different sources. I am a British citizen travelling with a British passport. Visa rules and costs many be different for your nationality.


Tricky. I’ve met many people who have managed to get a visa in 1-2 days at the Trabzon consulate in Turkey. They claim you can bypass most of the bureaucracy there. I have no doubt that citizens of some countries are able to do this. But I have serious doubts British citizens can because I am yet to meet a British citizen who has managed it. If you’re British I wouldn’t count on a quick visa in Trabzon.

I went through a visa agency online. They explained the process. Basically, you have to send off your information to a big bureaucratic ministry in Tehran who will then look at the information and see if you are eligible for a visa. This is the part that takes a long time. Tehran can take 2-4 weeks (3 in my case) to make a decision and even long if there are public holidays in Iran (there are many). If the Tehran office decides you are worthy of the coveted Iranian visa you will receive an authorization code valid only at the embassy you specified in your application. You can then go to that embassy and apply for the visa. At this point the visa fee is taken. Wait for 1-3 working days (2 in my case) for the visa to be issued. They will hold your passport during this time.

The agency supposedly speeds up the process and increases your chances of being accepted by Tehran. It’s difficult to say if this is actually the case. charged approximately 35 euros for their service.

As a cyclist the best way is to send your information off to Tehran (via the agency or not) about a month before you intend to get to the embassy where you’ll pick up the visa. You can cycle while Tehran is faffing about with your application. Iranian consulates in the east of Turkey are Erzurum and Trabzon. They make good pick-up points but may have odd opening hours.

Documents required when sending off information to Tehran: personal details, passport info
Documents required at visa pick-up point: passport, passport copy (x2), passport photo (x2), visa application form filled-in (x2)
Cost: 150 euros

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