How to get an Iran visa on arrival (VOA)
Iran is growing in popularity among tourists and travelers who wish to visit Iran and friendly Iranians, trek through Iran’s vast deserts, climb its high mountains or enjoy a great ski holiday in Iran. For the majority of nationalities, getting an Iran tourist visa is the first step to take before traveling to Iran. Fortunately, the Iranian government has made the visa process as easy as possible in order to welcome more foreign travelers to Iran as one of the friendliest countries in the world. Iran visa on arrival (VOA) is a kind of tourist visa with a simple and fast process. Citizens from around 180 countries are eligible to get an Iran visa on arrival; therefore, they do not need to spend much time and effort to get an Iran travel visa before arriving in Iran.
Iran visa on arrival is issued at the international airports in Iran; it means that the majority of nationalities especially EU passport holders can travel to Iran and enjoy visiting its various attractions without much preparation. Here, you will learn how to get an Iran visa on arrival (VOA). Read the article to know who can get an Iran VOA, how to apply for Iran VOA, what documents are required to get a visa on arrival, and also to obtain other helpful information about getting an Iran visa on arrival.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Iran Visa On Arrival (VOA)?
- What is the difference between “visa on arrival” and “visa-free entry” for traveling to Iran?
- How to get an Iran visa on arrival (VOA)?
- What Documents do you need to get Iran Visa on Arrival (VOA)?
- Helpful tips about getting Iran visa on arrival (VOA) at Iranian airports
- What airports in Iran issue visa on arrival (VOA)?
- Do You Need a Letter of Invitation to get an Iran Visa on Arrival?
- How much is the fee for Iran visa on arrival?
- How long does an Iran visa on arrival last?
- How to extend Iran visa on arrival?
- Does Iran stamp passports when getting Iran visa on arrival?
- Who Cannot Get an Iran Visa On Arrival (VOA)?
- Can a citizen of the US, UK, and Canada apply for Iran Visa on arrival (VOA)?
- Can I Get an Iran VOA If I Travel to Iran Overland?
- Do I need to apply for an Iran visa in advance instead of an Iran visa on arrival?
- Iran Visa on Arrival Tips and Guides
What Is Iran Visa On Arrival (VOA)?
There are two kinds of Iran tourist visas. One is called Iran tourist visa in advance and the other one is called Iran tourist visa on arrival (VOA). Iran visa on arrival (VOA) or Iran airport visa is a kind of tourist visa issued for citizens of approximately 180 countries upon their arrival. Visa on arrival makes the visa process as easy as possible because the visa is granted just as a visitor arrives in one of the international airports in Iran. Filling out a visa application form 48 hours prior to departure is all one needs to do before arriving in Iran. Getting an Iran visa on arrival costs 10-150 euros, depending on a traveler’s nationality, and it allows to stay in Iran for up to 30 days. However, it is possible to extend the Iran visa.
What is the difference between “visa on arrival” and “visa-free entry” for traveling to Iran?
It allows citizens of certain countries to travel to Iran visa-free for a specific period varying from 15 to 90 days regarding their country of origin. In other words, citizens of these countries need to obtain neither a tourist visa in advance nor a tourist visa on arrival; all they need to bring along is their valid passports. Visa-free entry is usually determined based on a mutual agreement between two countries for some good reason.
Visa on arrival (VOA):
It is a kind of tourist visa issued upon arrival at one of the international airports in Iran. It has made the visa process as fast as possible; however, it is different from the visa-free entry that allows eligible citizens to enter Iran without having any kind of tourist visa. A person who needs to get a VOA is not allowed to enter the country visa-free. In order to get an Iran visa on arrival, one needs to fill out the visa application form 48 hours prior to arrival and collect the visa at one of the Iranian airports determined in the visa application form. It is possible to complete the visa application form just upon arrival, but it takes a lot of time. Therefore, our advice is to do it before departure.
How to get an Iran visa on arrival (VOA)?
The general process of getting your Iran VOA is the same at all international airports in Iran; however, it might differ from one airport to the other one in some aspects. To secure your visa process, it is better to have all the required documents at hand. Moreover, you need to be patient with the visa process at the airport because the Iranian visa process is not a quick stamp in your passport. It might take your time from 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on your arrival time and the number of people in line applying for an Iran visa on arrival.
Here, we will inform you of the general process of collecting your Iran VOA at the airport:
- Get off the flight and go to the travel insurance desk
The travel insurance desk is located in the middle of the hall. You need to get your insurance stamped and verified. Make sure your insurance covers the “Islamic Republic of Iran” because general words such as the Middle East or Asia do not convince the officer to stamp your insurance. It is recommended that you get your travel insurance before arrival to avoid wasting time at the airport and buying Iranian travel insurance with limited coverage. However, if you have no insurance, you can buy it at the counter.
- Go to the visa desk to answer questions and fill out relevant forms
The officer might ask whether you have a letter of invitation and your e-visa form (it must be completed and approved at least 48 hours before your arrival). Then, you will need to fill out a form with some basic information such as your name, job (jobs related to journalism and blogging might face some difficulty), passport number, and accommodation in Iran (name and address of your first night stay in Iran). Have your booking confirmation and the phone number at hand. The visa officer might call your host to assure you are staying there. After answering the officer’s common questions and completing the form, you will get a receipt on which the cost of your visa stamp has been written.
- Get the receipt and go to the payment window
You should go to the payment window and pay your visa fee in cash (US dollar or Euro, Euro is preferred). Then, you will get a receipt for your payment. Since you cannot pay the price by credit cards, remember to bring enough cash.
- Go back to the visa desk
Take your payment receipt along with your passport to the visa desk and wait for getting your Iran visa on arrival.
- Take a seat and wait
Depending on the number of people in line, it might last for 30 minutes or even 4 hours to get your Iran VOA. Therefore, you need to be patient until the officer calls out your name. Now, it is time to go back to the window to collect your passport including a shiny Iranian visa.
- Check the visa carefully
Check the dates and details of your Iran visa on arrival. If there is a problem, you can fix it only at the airport. For instance, your visa might be granted only for 15 days instead of 30 days. In case, inform the visa officer and ask for help.
What Documents do you need to get Iran Visa on Arrival (VOA)?
Here, there is a list of documents required to get your Iran VOA at an international Iranian airport:
- Passport with at least 6 months of validity at the time of departure,
- A photo to be attached to your Iran visa application form,
- Iran visa stamp fee, payable to the chosen Iranian consulate or visa and passport office at the airport,
- A confirmed return ticket within 30 days,
- A hardcopy of travel insurance valid for Iran,
- An invitation letter or a hotel reservation voucher,
- A printout of your itinerary.
Helpful tips about getting Iran visa on arrival (VOA) at Iranian airports
- When you arrive at the airport, you might need just some of the mentioned documents to get your Iran visa on arrival; however, it is better to have all the required documents to make the process faster and easier. Moreover, you need to have them printed because saving them on your phone is not enough to get your Iran airport visa.
- If you do not have any travel insurance, you can buy it at the airport. Since the insurance you purchase at the airport offers very limited coverage, we recommend you buy good travel insurance before your departure. Please note that general terms like “middle east” or “Asia” on your insurance printout are not acceptable and the visa officer looks for the word “Iran” mentioned in your travel insurance document.
- Apply for your invitation letter before your arrival at the airport. You can apply for the invitation letter by yourself or through a trustworthy travel agency. All you need to do is to complete the e-visa application available on the website of the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs (MFA). It takes at least 48 hours to get your e-visa approved. Print the visa form and show it to the visa officer at the international airport in Iran.
- You also need to provide the hotel reservation document. Even if you do not want to spend much on staying at hotels, book one night so that you could receive the booking documents from the hotel or the hostel. Make sure you have the phone number of the hotel or hostel because the officer might call it to confirm your booking.
- Though having the itinerary is not necessary, it is better to bring your itinerary with you to assure the visa officer of your travel plan.
- Iran visa stamp fee varies depending on your nationality. The fee equals €75 for most of the European nationalities, while it costs €145 for Australians. You need to pay your visa fee in cash. You can pay in Euro or US Dollar, but Euro is preferred.
What airports in Iran issue visa on arrival (VOA)?
Here is the list of Iranian airports where you can get on arrival visa for a maximum of 30 days:
- Imam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran (IKA)
- Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran (THR)
- Shahid Dastghaib International Airport, Shiraz (SYZ)
- Shahid Hasheminejad International Airport, Mashhad (MHD)
- Shahid Madani Airport, Tabriz (TBZ)
- Shahid Beheshti International Airport, Isfahan (ISF)
- Kish International Airport, Kish (KIH)
- Qeshm International Airport, Qeshm (GSM)
- Bandar Abbas International Airport, Bandar Abbas (BND)
- Urmia International airport, Urmia (OMH)
- Kerman International Airport, Kerman (KER)
- Larestan International airport (LRR)
- Bushehr International Airport, Bushehr (BUZ)
- Ahvaz international airport (AWZ)
Please note that the Iran visa on arrival is only issued at the international airports in Iran. Iran visa on arrival is also issued for marine travelers who enter Iran via Shahid Rajaee Port in Hormozgan province. If you are traveling to Iran by land, make sure to have a visa in your passport before arriving at a land border.
Do You Need a Letter of Invitation to get an Iran Visa on Arrival?
Having a letter of invitation (LOI) will speed up your Iran VOA process at the airport. You can complete an e-visa form on the website of the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs for free and request your letter of invitation to be sent to the Iranian airport instead of the embassy/ consulate at your country of origin. The visa application form needs to be approved at least 48 hours before your arrival. Instead of filling out the application form for free, you can pay the service fee and let a reliable travel agency do the process on your behalf. It is also possible to ignore the process and spend much time upon your arrival to complete forms at the Iranian airport. However, our advice is to do it before you travel to Iran to speed up the process and save time.
How much is the fee for Iran visa on arrival?
Iranian visa fee varies depending on your nationality. Typically, the price ranges from 30 to 150 euros for all nationalities eligible to apply for an Iran visa on arrival. While the visa fee equals 75 euros for most of the western nationalities, Australian citizens have to pay 145 euros to collect their Iran visa on arrival. Applying for your e-visa at least 48 hours before arrival would be free unless you ask a travel agency to help you through the process. Usually, travel agencies will charge you for their visa services.
How long does an Iran visa on arrival last?
An Iranian visa on arrival lasts for a maximum of 30 days. Though it used to be 14 days, in the beginning, it allows you to enjoy visiting Iran up to 30 days now. Therefore, if you noticed that your visa on arrival is issued only for 14 days, ask the visa officer at the airport to correct it.
How to extend Iran visa on arrival?
You can extend your visa on arrival at an immigration office around Iran. To do so, the officer at the Iranian foreign affairs office should find it necessary. If you need to extend your visa, it is much better to do it in smaller cities rather than big cities such as Tehran, Mashhad, or Isfahan. Extending a visa is easier and more convenient in smaller cities.
Does Iran stamp passports when getting Iran visa on arrival?
Iranian authorities do not stamp tourists’ passports and only electronic visas are issued for travelers. Regarding a US law in 2015, travelers who visit Iran and six other countries would be subject to enhanced security for entering the US later. In order to let foreign travelers visit Iran without getting worried about entering the US, Iran does not stamp travelers’ passports anymore.
Who Cannot Get an Iran Visa On Arrival (VOA)?
Getting an Iran VOA is really easy and convenient and citizens from 180 countries could apply for Iran visa on arrival. However, Iran VOA is not suitable for all tourists and travelers. Some nationalities including the US, UK, and Canadians are not eligible to obtain an Iran visa on arrival. To get an Iran visa as an American, British or Canadian citizen, one needs to apply for an Iran visa in advance (Iran visa before arrival or an embassy tourist visa) 60-90 days before departure. Iran visa on arrival is not issued at borders either; therefore, it is out of use for those who plan to enter Iran by land. Moreover, an Iran visa on arrival is only granted for tourist purposes and it does not work for those who plan to travel to Iran for business or diplomatic purposes.
If you fall into one of the following categories, you cannot get an Iran tourist visa on arrival and you need to apply for your Iran visa in advance or refer to the embassy/consulate in your home country to ask for some advice.
- Citizens of the US, UK, Canada, Colombia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Nepal, and Bangladesh
- Israel passport holders
- Anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport (or exit stamps at the relevant Jordanian or Egyptian border crossings into Israel)
- Journalists and reporters
- Diplomatic passport holders, official passport holders, and business persons
- Applicants whose Iran visa applications have been rejected previously.
- Iranian nationals holding foreign passports
Can a citizen of the US, UK, and Canada apply for Iran Visa on arrival (VOA)?
US, UK, and Canada passport holders are not eligible to apply for an Iran visa on arrival, but they can travel to Iran and enjoy its tourist attractions. As an American, British or Canadian tourist, you should apply for an Iran visa in advance at least 90 days before your departure. Regarding the political relations among the countries, you will also need to book a tour to Iran accompanied by a licensed guide all through the travel.
Can I Get an Iran VOA If I Travel to Iran Overland?
Iranian tourist visa on arrival is only issued at the international Iranian airports for a maximum of 30 days. It means that you cannot get an Iranian VOA if you are traveling overland. Instead, you will need to apply for your Iran visa in advance also called Iran visa before arrival, if you are eligible to travel to Iran.
Do I need to apply for an Iran visa in advance instead of an Iran visa on arrival?
- Iran VOA is not issued for citizens of the US, UK, Canada, Colombia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Therefore, if citizens of the above-mentioned countries, except for Israel passport holders who cannot travel to Iran at all, wish to visit Iran, they should apply for an Iran visa in advance or refer to the Iranian embassy/consulate at their country to ask about the process of getting an Iran visa.
- Iran VOA is only issued for tourist purposes up to 30 days; therefore, travelers with other purposes cannot apply for Iran VOA.
- Iran VOA is only issued at the International airports of Iran, so a traveler who plans to travel to Iran by land would need to apply for Iran visa in advance.
- Iran VOA is not cheaper than Iran visa in advance; therefore, one may prefer to spend much time rather than much money to get an Iran visa in advance.
- Iran VOA has a minimum risk of rejection. However, if a traveler’s application for an Iran VOA is rejected at the airport, he/she would have to buy a return flight and pay for the extra costs. Though VOA rejection occurs in rare cases, some people prefer not to risk it and apply for an Iran visa in advance instead.
Iran Visa on Arrival Tips and Guides
Applying for a visa is the most difficult part of a trip to any country including Iran. Fortunately, traveling to Iran as a safe country has been growing among tourists and travelers over the past few years. To welcome more visitors in Iran, the Iranian government has made the visa process as easy as possible, Iran visa on arrival as a kind of tourist visa issued at International airports in Iran allows citizens from around 180 countries to collect their visa upon their arrival at the Iranian airports and enjoy their journey for a maximum of 30 days. Though Iran visa on arrival has an easy process, there are some tips and guides about collecting an Iran VOA:
- If your Iran visa application has been rejected previously, you cannot apply for an Iran visa on arrival.
- Iranian visa on arrival is issued only for tourist purposes; therefore, it is not helpful for those with business or diplomatic purposes.
- Journalists and reporters on a mission cannot get an Iran visa on arrival.
- Bloggers might face difficulty in the process of getting Iran visa on arrival. It is better to mention online marketing as your job instead of blogging.
- US, UK, and Canada passport holders cannot get a visa on arrival for Iran.
- You need to fill out the e-visa form at least 48 hours before your arrival, and then you can go to the airport with the Iran visa reference number and pick up your visa. If you forget to do so, you will have to spend more time at the airport to complete the form.
- When completing the e-visa form, determine the international airport you will arrive at as the place you want to collect your visa.
- Bring along the required documents for getting your Iran VOA and also have the phone number of your host in Iran. The visa officer might call your host to confirm your booking.
- Valid Travel Insurance is needed at the Iranian Airports. Make sure “Iran” is mentioned in your travel insurance coverage because the officer will not accept general words such as Asia or the Middle East.
- If you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you cannot apply for an Iran visa on arrival. Therefore, you should ask for a new passport before applying for an Iran visa.
If you have more questions on getting an Iran visa, Iran visa FAQs will help you find the answers.