I am planning to go to Iran to visit a friend in June 2008, I am female from Scotland & will travel with my 2 children. I was wondering if any of you know the best way to apply for a visitor visa for my time there, I really don't know where to start.
Any advice would be grateful
Also does anyone know how long before I plan to travel should I apply for the visa
Thanks in advance
I suggest u get the visa before u buy the flight ticket.
The Iranian authorities are temperamental and one never knows how long it will take for them to issue the visa.
It can take from a couple of hours to 5 weeks to never.
Also the price can vary. It is usually 30 Euros.
And the amount of time they give on the visa varies. Some people get 18 days and other can get 30.
Visas are extentable at the foreign offices in Iran, but the foreign offices are also temperamental. They may or may not extend your visa.
The consulates are also difficult to contact and even when u do get through to them they are difficult to get information from. The best way to get information is on the websites of the Iranian consulates. U will also find the visa form there.
If u want to stay in Iran for 6 weeks, the thing to do may be to go overland from Turkey. Then if they dont extend the visa, u can just go back to Turkey. Otherwise if u fly make your stay in Iran fit in with the time alloted on the visa.
To speed up the visa application u could ask an agent to get u what is known as an authorisation code. It is permission from the foreign office in Iran to visit Iran. The agents fee is around 30 Euros. If u apply to the consulate without this authorisation code, the consulate will apply to the foreign office for u but this will take longer and increase the chances of your visa applicaiton being rejected. The agent I used is www.iranianvisa.com
I am not sure how long in advance u should apply for the visa. If using the agent then just send them a message via their web site and ask. The guy who works there is very willing and prompt with answering questions.
If u apply directly to the consulate, I think a few months before u intend to go. I think there is some rule that u must enter and leave Iran within a certain amount of time after the issue of the visa.
[ Edit: Edited on Nov 15, 2007, at 12:38 AM by Mel. ]
Great Thanks Mel,
This info has helped a lot & I will go the link you gave me & send an email try to get more information.
It is very difficult to get an Iranian visa for 6 weeks. The only known cases of people getting a 6-week visa were Swiss passport holders intending to cycle from Europe to India, thus easily convincing authorities that they needed more time in Iran than the average tourist.
The most common time frame issued is 2 weeks, which can then be extended in Iran. Apply for longer than you really need as the officer in question will almost never grant you the full requested time.
It also used to be that you could only get non-extendable visa valid for 14 days, so travellers wanting to stay longer entered from Turkey, went to Pakistan, applied for another visa to Iran in Pakistan and then went back to Turkey overland. This "trick" still works and if things in Pakistan quiet down enough you should consider it. Also watch the trouble brewing in the Kurdish areas, with Turkey threatening to bomb northern Iraq. Border crossings from Iran to Turkey could easily be affected, as the Kurds move almost unhindered between the borders of the 3 countries Iran, Iraq and Turkey. It might become unsafe to travel there as a foreigner.
Thanks for the advice t_maia
I read this below somewhere:
Normally, all tourist visas issued by Iranian consulates have a "3-month" validity
I took that as meaning you could stay for up to 3 months, thats why I thought about the 6 weeks visit, but I will take as long as they give me
3 months validity means u must enter and leave Iran within 3 months of the visa being issued.
The visa might be for 20 days. That means u can stay in Iran for 20 days during the 3 months following the visa issue.
If u get a visa authorisation code from an agent, then u have 6 months in which to enter and leave Iran. Getting a visa authorisation code almost (but not 100%) guarantees that the Iranian consulate will give u a visa. When the code is issued by the agent u have 3 months to take it to the consulate along with the other visa application requirements and then another 3 months after the visa issue within to enter and leave Iran.
Thanks for clearing that up, it's just all so new, but good to get insight into it
Yeah, I thought getting the visa was such an ordeal before I went to Iran and information was quite difficult to get.
I am not sure what the visa situation for children is.
I dont know if they can travel on yours or if u need separate ones for them.
Let me know when u find out, in case I ever want to take my daughter to Iran with me.
As soon as I find out I will let you know Mel