I read this question on how to get a visa through an agency or embassy. My citizenship requires I have a guide before Iran will grant a visa and I was speaking to a British guy who managed to get a visa through private sponsorship. Here’s their correspondence, though they weren’t clear on how to actually do that and if it makes independent travel easier.

Sadly, as you know, getting an independent visa is impossible unless you know someone living there prepared to sponsor it. If you know someone living in Iran they can sponsor you and then you can do what you like.

Can getting a visa through private sponsorship allow British/US/Canadians to travel independently ? If so, what is the procedure for being sponsored?

  • 1
    The first step is to have a friend or family member who lives in Iran. Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 20:56
  • @pnuts normally yes, but can private citizens also sponsor people to come visit ?
    – blackbird
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 17:05
  • Judging by this: Iran has stopped issuing visas for US, UK and Canadian passports it might not be the right timing for trying to sneak your way around the tour guide requirement. They even cancelled all visas already issued to Americans, apparently because some US senator forgot to declare his main job on their visa application when visiting a few months ago.
    – mts
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 9:06
  • @mts ugh great :(
    – blackbird
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:05
  • @mts that would be 'forgot' Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Guidance at Magic Carpet Travel seems quite clear. Regarding sponsorship in general:

The visa process is in two distinct parts. First you have to obtain the visa permit, which can only be issued by the Foreign Ministry (FM) in Iran. You cannot lodge an application with the Iranian FM directly, nor can you currently lodge an application through an Iranian Consulate. You therefore have two ways of obtaining an Iranian visa permit:

You can ask your Iranian friends or relatives to apply for a visa on your behalf in Iran, by lodging an application in person, at the Foreign Ministry in Tehran. They will need to undertake the responsibility of acting as your host for the duration of your stay in Iran.

Alternatively, you can use an Iranian Visa Service to take care of all the details and get your visa for you. Iranian Visa Services can often get you a visa to travel at short notice.

But in answer to Do I have to have my itinerary organised before I apply for a visa?:

No, not unless you are a UK, Canadian or US citizen. Visas for above mentioned passport holders are subject to particular regulations. At present the Iranian Foreign Ministry will only issue visas for the above citizens to travel to Iran as part of a pre-booked, guided tour.

By guided tour we mean that you must travel either as part of a bigger tour group, or on a tailor-made individual tour designed to your own requirements. You must submit your itinerary in advance and adhere to it exactly.

So as far as independently goes, the answer is no.

  • so there is no chance to get visa independently, ok have to wait for another 8 hours to award bounty
    – Ali Awan
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 3:10

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