In order to get your Iran visa in advance, on the road, you will have to first get a code which, basically, is a letter of invitation from an agency. Once you have this code, you will be able to collect your visa at any embassy.
Byt the way, this post is aimed at those nationalities who can a visa on arrival at the aiport. For citizens of the UK, Canada and the USA, rules are significantly different I don’t really know them.
How to get your Iran visa code?
As you may imagine, there are plenty of tourist agencies that can provide you with this code but, after doing some research, I found that the agency working for Caravanistan is the cheapest one.
A few things you need to know regarding the Iran visa code:
The code is valid for one month – This means that you need to collect your visa within a month.
Iran visa code cost – It costs 33USD per person, a fee which needs to be deposited in the agency’s PayPal account.
Timing – The code takes 8-10 working days to proceed (note that, in Iran, the weekend is on Thursday and Friday). However, I asked them if I could get it faster and I got it within 5 working days at no extra cost.
Embassy – You will have to tell them at which embassy would you like to pick up your visa.
Crossing with your own vehicle – Important! The agency will tell you that this code or invitation letter is NOT VALID if you are crossing in your own vehicle. It’s not true. They just tell you this so you book an itinerary with them. Tell them that you are planning to cross by foot or public transportation. Once you have your visa, you will be able to cross anyways.
Just email them at [email protected] and wait for their instructions. They are very kind and responsive. By the way, I think that, if you contact them through the Caravanistan application form, you’ll get a $2 discount.
Important: The Iranian Ministry of Tourism has launched a website where you can actually apply for this code, saving you from getting a letter of invitation. However, the website is not working properly and, apparently, nobody has been able to get it, including myself. I invite you to try it and, if it works, let me know!
Picking up your Iran visa at the embassy in Dushanbe (Tajikistan)
Since I was traveling in Tajikistan, it was more convenient for me to pick the visa up in Dushanbe. Here’s what you need to do:
Make sure your code is there
Your first step will be to make sure that your code has arrived at the embassy. For this, the agency will give you a tracking number which you need to show at the embassy. For this step, you could actually call them and there’s no need to go to the embassy. I still went to the embassy but only because it was really close to my hostel.
Either way, you will have to wait for one day until they check that the code has arrived.
Iran visa requirements – Needed documents to apply for your Iran visa in Dushanbe
Once the embassy has got your code, you can apply for your visa.
These were the requirements at the Embassy of Dushanbe:
- Passport with a minimum of 6-months’ validity
- Passport copy
- 2 passport photos
- Visa application form – To be collected and filled at the embassy
Applying for your visa
When you have all your documents, you can go to the embassy. For EU nationalities, the price is 75€. An Australian friend paid 150€. You will have to make the deposit at the Iranian bank and come back with your payslip. The bank is very close to the embassy and they guy will give you the address.
Once you show the payslip, you will have to leave your passport and come back on the next day (or the same afternoon) to collect your visa, which will be valid for 3 months (after the date of issue), for one single entry and for maximum 30 days.
Iran Embassy in Dushanbe – What you need to know
Location – The embassy is located here: 38,575585, 68.788734
How to get there – You can take the bus nº3 (1TJS) or the shared taxi nº3 (3TJS).
From 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00.
Like any embassy, try to be there as early as possible. However, I went there 3 times in total and I never saw more than 2 or 3 people.
By the way, when I went there in September 2017, the man at the counter didn’t speak English but he was very kind and tried his best. He even offered me some tea!