Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Most Westerners do not only need a visa to visit Iran, they first need a "Letter of Invitation" to be able to apply for the visa. Most people get this through travel or special visa agencies, some of them are online only.

What are any trustworthy agencies that do this? Experiences in quality and duration?

share|improve this question
2  
This will surely depend a lot on where the person applying is from so you should include that in your question. –  hippietrail Nov 17 '11 at 14:14
    
Even if it does, it would be a good idea to have an answer for various different nationalities. I have a German passport. –  Peter Hahndorf Nov 17 '11 at 14:18
2  
Keep in mind the rules from the Stack Exchange FAQ that the site is for specific answers to specific questions and that lists are discouraged. Maybe there's a single answer that works for everyone but if not we should at least be able to find an answer specific for German citizens. –  hippietrail Nov 17 '11 at 14:27
    
I expect that these online visa agencies will be able to get you a visa regardless of the type of passport you hold. So we don't want any 'community wikis' here? On Stack Overflow they are pretty common. –  Peter Hahndorf Nov 17 '11 at 14:41
1  
I am pretty sure its much more difficult to get an Iranian visa if you have American passport. –  Grzenio Nov 18 '11 at 22:02
show 1 more comment

4 Answers 4

You can get visa in following ways:

In your country's Iranian embassy or consulate

Each embassy should contain info about visa application. Note you will probably need authorisation code from tourist agencies (like Key2Persia or Touran Zamin). It does mean an extra fee (~40 EUR). You can access such code in quick mode (to 10 working days) or standard mode (above 10 working days). I used Key2Persia and confirm it is working and safe. Authorisation code is needed for an embassy or consulate for final visa application.

I applied for Visa in Polish embassy in Warsaw and post documents via post-office. I contacted embassy via phone and got visa (I managed delivery company to receive my documents from embassy) in 5 working days.

Main problems: Delivery company cannot be from U.S. as there is an embargo. You cannot explicitly title your cash transfer and you cannot include word Iran on it. There are special ways of payment.

Visa from embassy can be extended.

In other embassies

These embassies have positive feedback from blogs:

  • Trabzon, Turkey
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Tbilisi, Georgia

You don't have to be a citizen of these countries, of course. You apply for a visa, pay a cash in bank (~70 EUR) and get a visa the same day evening or next day.

Tehran airport

Such visa is valid for max. 15 days and sometimes it's required to have a Iranian friend name. It can be from Couchsurfing but we don't say it's from there. It's important to have a phone number in which the person can be reached and can confirm our arrival.

Such visa can be extended (despite many says it cannot be) and it costs ~$10.

share|improve this answer
add comment

As I found out, there's an option for citizens of the following countries to get an airport transit visa (for tourists) at IKA airport (Tehran) or some other famous cities for one week which can't be extended:

Albania - Germany - Austria - Armenia - Uzbekistan - Spain - Australia - Slovenia - Slovak - United Arab Emirates - Indonesia - Italy - Ireland - Bahrain - Brazil - Belarus - Belgium - Bulgaria - Bosnia - Portugal - Peru - Tajikistan - Thailand - Turkmenistan - China - Denmark - Russia - Romania - Japan - Singapore - Sweden - Switzerland - Syria - Saudi Arabia - Oman - France - Palestine - Cyprus - Kyrgyzstan - Qatar - Croatia - South Korea - North Korea - Colombia - Cuba - Kuwait - Georgia - Lebanon - Luxemburg - Poland - Malaysia - Hungary - Mongolia - Mexico - Norway - New Zealand - Venezuela - Vietnam - Holland - India - Yugoslavia - Greece

Source

share|improve this answer
add comment

An alternative to special agencies is to make friends with Iranian people who happen to have their family in Iran, then get invited by them. Finding Iranian people shouldn't be an issue in Germany.

Of course, this is a process that takes time but the rewards are far more exciting than short term contact with unknown workers.

Scratching the surface of the rich and subtle Iranian culture is easier from within a home.

share|improve this answer
    
In general that is a good suggestion but not always possible especially not if you are already traveling and need to get the visa while on the road. One still doesn't meet too many Iranians in hostels. –  Peter Hahndorf Nov 18 '11 at 9:23
    
You are right. This is not an advice that can be applied at last minute. Anyways, the goal to making friends should not be to get a visa but to actually get new friends. –  mouviciel Nov 18 '11 at 9:38
2  
So rather than an letter of invitation you need an authorization code from the government which may be difficult to get for a normal Iranian citizen. –  Peter Hahndorf Nov 19 '11 at 18:32
add comment
up vote 13 down vote accepted

I just had a chat with an Australian girl who went to Iran last year, the general procedure is like this:

Find an Iranian travel agency to get you an authorization Code from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and follow these steps:

  • Fill out an online form on the web site of the agency
  • Scan in your passport and email the image to the agency.
  • Pay them a fee, around 35 Euros. (The Aussie girl had to make a transfer into a German bank account, as you cannot directly transfer money into Iranian accounts)
  • Tell the agency which consulate you want to use to get the visa.

After having all this the agency will try to get you an authorization code from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which it then sends back to you. In our case this only took one day but it may take much longer.

Now you can go to the consulate of your choice or send them the visa application including the authorization code. The processing may take several weeks but our Australian friend had her passport back after five days.

The authorization code is only valid to the chosen consulate and only for 3 months from the date of issue.

This seems to be the procedure for all Nationalities that need a visa for Iran, except for US citizens:

At present the Iranian Foreign Ministry does not allow American passport holders to travel to Iran independently. Americans are required to travel on escorted tours; either as part of a tour group, or a tailor made individual tour. An exact itinerary, to which you must adhere, is compulsory.

The travel agency used by the Australian is called Touran Zamin and can be found at http://www.touranzamin.com

I will continue to ask around offline and post any more recommendations here.

share|improve this answer
1  
A few years later but I'm finally getting to Iran. I ordered and paid for my authorization code on Feb 24th 2014 and received it today (Apr 8th 2014), this was due to a lengthy holiday period in Iran. So it can take quite a while, try to order it early. Now I'm waiting for the actual visa. –  Peter Hahndorf Apr 8 at 20:44
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.