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I am planning to visit Iran for 13 days and want to get a visa on arrival (I'm a national of an eligible country).

Does anyone have recent experience regarding VoA, and/or know the documentation required?

On the website of Iran's foreign ministry I cannot find anything (it says "under construction"), nor on the website of the consulate in my country. I am especially interested in the required documentation, as we are backpacking and won't be able to provide accommodation bookings for more than the first two nights.

Web search retrieves a lot of travel agencies that say that VoA is risky and advertise their services. They also varyiously state that invitation letters, hotel bookings or health insurance proofs are needed, but most seem outdated. Same holds for Wikivoyage.

Possibly related, but outdated and more general thread.

  • If you have any more questions about what to do/see there, when you get to enough rep, jump into the Travel Chat and leave me a message, I'm on pretty frequently. Iran was an amazing country. – Mark Mayo Aug 26 '15 at 6:27
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    Thanks for your detailed answer, and great to hear that it is based on 8 people on 3 different flights (that's what I call statistical relevance :) – 7on Aug 26 '15 at 16:34
  • Hello, if you have an answer to your question, please do post it as an answer instead of editing the question. This way it can be voted on. It does sound silly but this is a Q&A site and we like to have the format of a question followed by the answer or answers. – Calchas Oct 5 '15 at 3:55
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Oh, I did this last month!

A lot of websites and forums have mentioned problems in the past with others failing to get visa on arrival, and being rejected (even Aussies and Kiwis, which for me as a Kiwi is pretty unusual, most places think we're harmless).

However by the time I'd heard this, I was already on the road and had no Iranian embassy nearby to apply to, so I had to hope.

That day, on three separate flights, I know of about 8 people who had to get VoAs (we were all going to a wedding).

We needed:

  • insurance. Travel insurance. The copy of my policy on my phone didn't count, you had to have a paper proof. If not, you are forced to buy insurance, at US$15. Not too bad, just annoying.
  • paperwork. On arrival you'll apply at a window, and go pay for your visa on arrival.
  • proof of address of where you're staying (initially, not every night). We had a hotel booked, and had their details on hand.
  • money. The VoA costs cash - for us it was expensive, around US$140.
  • proof of what you're doing in Iran. This is likely the hardest part. For us we had our friend's phone number, our hotel's phone number, and had them on standby to call. One group got thoroughly checked, with every number they had being called, while two of us on my flight just got stamped happily and told to enjoy. Your mileage may vary.
  • we didn't have an invitation as such, as some others have claimed, but possibly if we weren't visiting a friend for his wedding, it may have been different.
  • to be clear, we had accommodation for the first ... three nights, and nothing booked after that. We ended up travelling from Tehran to Shiraz, Yazd, Esfehan, Rasht and back, and just booked accommodation as we went. And trains/buses. None of that was required at the border.
  • Just an update, as I was just in Iran: No "proof of what you're doing in Iran" or an invitation is necessary, at least not anymore. I was neither ask for it nor were any of the foreigners I met while in Iran. Also, the visa costs are reciprocal, so it depends on your nationality - As a German I had to pay just 75€. – dirkk Mar 14 '17 at 12:03
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Answer to my own question: VoA worked well for 2 separate groups of 2 of us at IKA three weeks ago. For one group they moaned a little about having no contact person, only a hotel reservation, otherwise everything smooth. No other documentation nor passport photos were needed.

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Timatic used to state a passport photo and an authorisation code is required.

None of that applies anymore. All you need is an eligible passport and health insurance. Unless you can produce adequate evidence of already having health insurance covering Iran, you'll have to buy it on arrival for USD 18.

In practice, they will most likely also want an address where you're going, so do take note of the address of whatever accommodation you've booked.

protected by Community Jan 23 '17 at 9:20

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