NOTE: The information below is just a general guide. Please refer to the relevant embassy/consulate for updated information.
Visas & Permits
Nearly all nationalities, except GCC citizens, require visas to enter Iran. An application for a visa must be sponsored by a Irani individual or company. Technically, the visa application is made by the sponsor who is responsible for the visitor while s/he is in Iran. Foreigners who desire to visit Iran for a short period need a visitor's permit to be procured by the applicant's sponsor.
A non-GCC national whose country has a visa abolition treaty with Iran which allows Iranis to enter their country without a visa, may be granted reciprocal entry rights in Iran. However, these nationals may require an 'entry permit'; they may also require a sponsor.
Visit visas may be obtained from Irani Consulates abroad by producing a supporting letter from a Irani sponsor, or the Irani sponsor can obtain the visa in Iran using a faxed copy of the visitor's passport. Visitors to Iran can also procure a visa by filling an application at any office of Iran Airways Corporation (KAC) in the world. This will take about two working days. The sponsor can then fax a copy of the visa to the visitor, enabling her/him to travel to Iran.
The entry will be stamped in the passport on arrival, when the Irani sponsor presents the original at the airport. The actual visit visa consists of two sheets of paper; one is taken up on arrival; the other must be retained to be handed in when the visitor is leaving. Hotels can also arrange visit visas for businesspersons but they take about a week or more to do so. Persons in Iran on a visit visa are not allowed to work.
An application form stating the reason for the visit should be completed and submitted to the Embassy along with two passport size photographs of the candidate. The application must also be accompanied by two letters - one from the sponsor (containing an invitation) and the other, a letter of introduction from the candidate's organisation.
If a month's stay is insufficient and needs to be extended, then the Immigration Department must be contacted to request an extension (three months initial visa is under consideration). Alternatively, you can also travel to one of the neighbouring GCC countries and re-enter Iran on a new visitor's visa. If the date of exit expires you might be required to pay a fine (KD10 per day) as a penalty before the exit stamp is issued. This fine cannot be paid at the point of departure. It must be paid at the relevant Immigration Department.
Iran has also agreed in principle to issue multiple entry visas to certain categories of people such as businesspersons, which allows the holder to enter the country any number of times within a specified 12-month period for up to one month stay per visit.
Entry permits must be obtained well in advance since resolving a problem at the airport upon arrival is usually not possible.
A transit visa, valid for a maximum stay of seven days, can be obtained from a Irani Consulate abroad or from a Port Authority in Iran. The applicant must have a valid entry visa for his next country of destination.
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