How to get a visa for Iran – Ultimate guide 2024

By Joan Torres 84 Comments Last updated on April 1, 2024

Important update: The visa on arrival for Iran has always been – and still is – available but, since summer 2022, some airlines (only some) have denied access onboard to passengers without a valid visa. This means that you should try to get your visa in advance.

Getting an Iran tourist visa might sound a bit complicated and overwhelming to some travelers, as there are many variables and a couple of exceptions to take into account.

However, the Government is also trying to make the Iran visa policy easier and facilitate the process for many nationalities.

This is the ultimate guide to getting a visa for Iran, where you will find all the latest updated information.

visa for Iran

In this Iranian visa guide you will find:

How to book hotels, flights and tours in Iran

Because of the sanctions, foreign cards or popular sites such as can’t be used in Iran, but now you can thanks to 1stQuest.

1stQuest is a local company that offers services such as visa LOI, hotel booking, tours, domestic flights, and travel insurance for Iran.

5% discount on ALL bookings with voucher code:


Who can apply for a free Iran tourist visa?

Most likely, you can’t enter Iran on a free visa because only 8 countries are eligible for that. These lucky countries are:

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Georgia, Malaysia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela

If you don’t hold a passport from any of the above countries, you must pay for your visa.


If you enter via Kish Island, all nationalities who are eligible for a VOA, can get a 14-day free Iran tourist visa if they remain in Kish. You may think: who the hell wants to travel to Iran to just remain in Kish? Well, the truth is that many European expats living in Dubai or Doha fly out to Kish to spend the weekend there.

Iran visa on arrival (VOA)


While getting a visa on arrival at the airport in Tehran is still possible, new travel reports (2022) have suggested that some airlines might require it so, otherwise, they won’t let you on board. This has come as a really big surprise for many travelers, especially because technically, you can still purchase your visa upon arrival in Iran. My recommendation: Do get your visa in advance. Keep reading to learn more.

Except for citizens of:

Canada, UK, US, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Iraq, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka

Everybody can get an Iran visa on arrival at several international airports in Iran, as long as your airline allows you to get on board.

Important! Of course, citizens of Israel can’t enter Iran.

According to MFA, if there is any evidence on your passport, your visa will be granted as long your last visit to Israel was more than six months ago.

However, I would not rely 100% on it so, if you have any evidence, I would recommend renewing your passport. 

For more information, read: Avoid Israeli passport stamps – FAQ

Update – Iran isn’t stamping passports anymore. Instead, they give you a separate piece of paper. However, remember that, if you decide to do an Iran visa extension, you will get a full-page stamp. 

Which airports are eligible for an Iran tourist visa on arrival?

Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan, Qeshm & Kish Island, Mashhad, and Tabriz

Iran travel visa requirements – VOA

Hotel reservation – You need to bring your hotel reservation printed out for your first night in Iran at least. If you are staying with a friend, make sure to have their contact details.

Your host contact – Have in hand your host contact details, whether it is a hotel or a friend. If they can’t contact them, you may have to wait at the airport for a very long time. 

Cash, preferably in € – You must pay your visa in cash.

Travel Insurance – All travelers must have valid travel insurance for Iran. If you do have it, you should bring any documents which prove it.

If you don’t, they will make you buy it at the airport and these are the approximate prices:

However, the insurance you buy at the airport has very limited coverage, so coming with proper insurance is a must.

Iranian visa fee

It depends on your nationality but, typically, all passports pay around 75€.

Australians pay 140€

In Iran, many websites are blocked, so you will need a VPN to access them. Read how to find the right VPN for Iran

visa iran
My visas for Iran, the second time I went there

When you need to apply for an Iran tourist visa in advance

Important update: The visa on arrival for Iran has always been – and still is – available but, since summer 2022, some airlines (only some) have denied access onboard to passengers without a valid visa. This means that you should try to get your visa in advance.

If you can get a visa on arrival, why should you get it in advance?

There are some exceptions:

1 – You enter Iran overland 

If are coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Pakistan or Turkey, you must apply for your visa in advance.

Apparently, a VOA is available at the Armenian border but there are some reports of people who tried to cross there recently, who failed to get a visa, so don’t rely 100% on it.

2 – You don’t want to wait at the airport for several hours

If you already have your visa, you can enter the country immediately. However, the VOA process takes around 2 or 3 hours and, in some cases, me for example, it may take up to 6 hours.

Reasons for waiting hours vary but, in my case, it was because I didn’t have a return flight ticket, said that I planned to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan afterward and had a brand-new passport. They found me a bit suspicious.

3 – To secure your visa 

There are some reports from travelers who claimed that their VOA was not granted because they didn’t have a return flight ticket or because the authorities could not contact their host or any other excuse.

The percentage of people in this situation is very low but still, there might be some small risk.

If you want to make sure, get your visa in advance.

4 – You are an American, British or Canadian citizen

Like I said before, these three nationalities are not eligible for a VOA, so you will have to arrange your visa via a tour company.

How to apply for an Iran tourist visa in advance

In order to get your Iran visit visa in advance, you will have to first get a code which, basically, is a letter of invitation from a tour operator.

Once you have this code, you will be able to collect your visa at any embassy or at any airport. 

How to get your Iran visa code?

As you may imagine, there are quite a few companies that can provide this code.

I strongly recommend 1stQuest. Why?

Basically, because they offer the lowest rate, their system is easy, fast and they are very responsive. 

A few things you should know regarding the Iran visa code:

Moreover, the readers of this blog can use my discount code to get an exclusive 5% discount which can be used for all the services of 1stQuest, not only for your visa but for travel insurance, hotel bookings, flights and tours.

My voucher code: ATC-QST

How to pick up your Iranian visa at the embassy

Only needed if you are entering Iran overland. Otherwise, you can collect directly at the airport and avoid all the waiting time.

Once you get the code, you can pick up your visa.

Since I was in Tajikistan, after traveling the Pamir Highway and the Wakhan Valley, I decided to pick it up in Dushanbe. 

However, regardless of the embassy, your first step will be to verify 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. However, 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 travel visa requirements – Needed documents to apply for your Iran visa at the embassy

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.

Iran visa on arrival
Tehran – Iran visa on arrival

e-Visa for Iran

In 2017, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) launched a website where you can actually apply for your visa.

However, you need to know that this is not a regular e-visa portal but, in the unlikely case you managed to apply successfully, it just gives you the same code as 1stQuest does, which means that you still need to go to the embassy. 

The only advantage of the e-visa is that it is a bit cheaper but the application process takes ages, plus in most cases it doesn’t work. Most travelers report that the visa verification remains as pending for weeks.

Remember that with my voucher code, you can get an additional 5% discount. 

My voucher code: ATC-QST

Duration of the Iranian visa

Normally, everybody traveling to Iran should be able to get a 30-day visa, regardless you enter via airport or overland.

Iran Visa Extensions

Extending your visa is very easy and feasible.

Typically, if you get a 1-month visa, you can extend it twice for 30 days. This means that you can travel in Iran for up to 90 days.

You can extend your visa at any Immigration Visa Office in any provincial capital. Yazd or Esfahan are very popular places to extend your visa among travelers.

I personally extended mine in Bandar Abbas, a southern city. Each office has its own rules but, in Bandar Abbas, they required a passport and visa copy and two passport photos. The one-month extension cost me 345,000IR and it took 24 hours to proceed.

Visa for Americans, UK and Canadian citizens

As you may know, the MFA requires Americans, British and Canadian nationals to make a tour from arrival to departure; essentially this means you need a guide at all times on a daily basis. 

Citizens of these countries need to have a confirmed itinerary, which should be requested from a valid tour company. For this, they should send a passport copy, as well as passport photos to the tour operator.

Typically, getting the invitation letter takes around 30 working days. 

It is highly recommended that these nationalities book their international flight ticket after receiving the LOI, as there have been several refusals.

More information for visiting Iran

📢 In my Travel Resources Page you can find the list of all the sites and services I use to book hotels, tours, travel insurance and more.

Don’t forget to check our travel guide to Iran.

As well as all our Iran articles:

visa for Iran


Joan, in your advice on “How to get your Iran visa code+” you say … ” 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.” –

A question; on this website it gives an e.mail address for contacting them & I am interested to know whether you DID contact them mentioning their ‘website’ not working ?

In any case as a British citizen, along with Americans & Canadians, in theory we have to have not only an official ‘letter of invitation/visa code but can not go as independent travellers without an official guide & itinerary which it is necessary to produce when applying for the Visa Reference Number. Unlike EU, Australian & New Zealand nationals, whom can also now get Visas On Arrival !!!

As of 2016, for my last visit, and now preparing my next for Spring 2018, this still seems to be the case, at least, for Brits. However there is no mention of this on the website you posted , which may only be for French nationals & those others as mentioned with telephone numbers for enquiries ! ??? Perhaps that’s why the website didn’t work for you ?

Hi Soko, thanks for your message! This post is aimed at people who can get their visa on arrival. Perhaps, I should specify that at the beginning of the article. For you guys, the process is significantly different and I don’t really know the rules.

As per the website, I tried to apply for my code and the application didn’t go through. I checked in a few forums, including Caravanistan, and apparently, nobody has ever been successful in applying for it. I will keep an eye on this, to see if they can fix it soon and will update the post accordingly. I am going back to Iran in March, so I’ll check the website again because I may enter overland. Cheers,

Thanks for your response Joan, and probably a good idea to mention the differences … for those Brits, Americans & Canadians who might be following your English blog ! Also I notice this Iranian website is new-ish/2017, and what with the fluidity of relations between Iran & other countries, could also explain why it doesn’t actually work …. as yet !

Hey there,
I tried to apply for my code on and it was rejected after 30 days (automatically). I called the embassy, asking them wtf. He told me to make application again and call him back in 2 days. After 2 days he told me, he sent it to Iran and I should call him back in 2 weeks. I checked the application in 5 days and it was accepted so I called him again and he confirmed it.
The next day I went to embassy (in Vienna) and got my visa. Paid 50€ (for 21 days) + 27€ to get it in the same day. I am from Slovakia.

Thanks for the info. Just let me mention that World nomads does not seem to insure Iran (at least being a Spanish citizen)

Thanks for all the informations!
Just one question: Is with e-visa required an exit flight ticket? Because I would like to exit overland in Azerbaijan.
Thank you

I really appreciate the sharing of information as an Iranian. I appreciate your work, this is really very useful for those who are going to visit Iran

Hi. I’m traveling to Iran in two days and was planning on getting my VOA at IKA (Uruguayan passport) but I filled out the e-visa form as it said it would speed up the process and last night I got a “visa rejected, apply through sponsor” message. Does this mean I cannot get a VOA anymore? Will I always be rejected? Or am I stuck with paying an agency? I would very much appreciate any Information you may have! Thanks!!

Hi Alejandra. E-visa form from which website? The official Iranian website doesn’t work very well and visas get often rejected or the system doesn’t work. That’s why you need to do it through 1stQuest, like I say somewhere in the article. Cheers.

I am an Indian passport holder and citizen of India..
I plan to enter Iran overland border by my self driven own car while coming from Turkeministan.
Do I need a paper visa?
Do I need to be a part of tour group of a tour agency for crossing overland border?
Is it not possible for me to enter Iran as a solo traveler?
Even if I get LOI from a tour agency still is this possible that i may be refused visa by Iranian embassy here in India?

Hi guys.i have some qsts.I’ve been applyed for a 3 month visa through 22 days ago,and still there is written waiting for verification.i contact embassy in my city they said my visa is rejected,but i didnt got any official email regarding this and the status on website diddnt change yet.what shall i do in this case?

The e-visa system is very unreliable and that’s why in the article I recommend you get the authorization code from 1stQuest and then go to your embassy. It is seriously much quicker, more effective and easier.

They have nothing to do with this system. They just provide with the authorization code which is needed to pick up the at the embassy, regardless of your visa status. You are not the first person has some trouble and gets the visa rejected with the official e-visa system. It sucks and it’s still very buggy, so waiting for something to happen is not very recommended.

hi, I want to travel to Iran with a personal car, is a carnet du passage , and if he can get at the border? Thank you !!

I have applied using the online process and like other people over 2 weeks later no verification. I’m Irish but based in London and have repeatedly rang the London consulate with no one answering. I’ve emailed and got no reply. I went to First Quest but they no longer provide the service detailed above. Any suggestions??!?!?!? I could officially get a visa on arrival, but I don’t want to risk this or spend hours in the airport after overnight travel.

Hello everybody,
1stQuest had suspended their visas services temporarily but they just emailed me saying that their service is finally back.

You can already apply for your visa code 🙂

hi Joan,
regardin visa in advance… while fillin up the application form it asks to provide address in iran. 1st quest gives the info?

i have a question about application form for visa in advance. is it a trouble to say you are unemployed? (box where it asks for business address) would it mean i have to provide some sort of proof i have enough cash for travel?
and another one where it asks to give all countries visited in the past 10 years.. i mean come on.. what if there are a 100 of them. list them all?

Hi Jana, if you say you are unemployed or a student, you don’t need to prove you have cash.
Moreover, just list a bunch of countries, like 10, nobody is going to check. You could also list the ones have stamps in your passport

I have an indian friend who is working in dubai now and wants to travel to iran for few days before going to india to visit his family. On May 4th he applied for evisa, but still its saying waiting for verification. Finally we lost our hope. Then he got tickets for india for the end of the month. Now after reading these comments i found out that visa ll be rejected because the system is not working properly.
If he goes to consulate in dubai, can he get visa soon?

I currently live in Canada but have an Irish passport and will be flying to Tehran from Canada. Will I be treated as an Irish citizen and be able to get a visa on arrival? You mention in your blog people flying FROM the countries, as opposed to citizens.

Also, is the visa on arrival just a passport stamp or do you get the ID sticker as in the images above? I assume you get this with the advanced visa.


Dear Joan, thanks for all the effort to keep this information up to date. The visa lasts for 30 days, however do this 30 days start counting when collecting the visa in the embassy or is it possible to set a start date? Let’s say one month after collecting the visa? Or would it just start counting once entering Iran? Thanks, Florian

As a Canadian with an authorization code/ Visa Grant Notice already issued, I now have to send my passport together with photo and money order to the ‘Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran’ at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC.
Does anybody have information on how long a process this is as I’m only three weeks from departure?

for visa on arrival, i need the reservation of my first night in a hotel?
is also posible the reservation of a hostel/guesthouse?

Hi there,
We are planning to travel to Iran in the coming week. We will arrive at IKA airport and do the VOA with the authorisation code from 1stquest. We are kiwis and travelling on New Zealand passports.
Question 1: is it ok to have a forward airport ticket instead of a return ticket?
Question 2: we have a Jordan entrance stamp in our passports but no exit stamp. Will this be a problem?
Greatly appreciate your advise.
Cheers Blair

Hi Blair, my responses
1 – They will not ask for your return ticket flight
2 – I also had it and had no issues. I don’t know whether it was because they didn’t see it or because they applied the rule that, if the stamp is more than 6 months old, doesn’t count

Hello Joan, thanks a lot for the great information you provide.
Is it possible to get a 3 months visa with 1stquest letter of invitation?
Thank you.

I live in Bilbao-spain .So first should i go to the Iran`s embassy in Madrid or apply through 1stQuest to get the code ? Which one is easier and faster way?
then should i have to go to the Iran`s embassy with all my documents AGAIN ?
Actually i dont know what is the easiest and fastest way for me since i dont live in Madrid.

Hey Joan, I’m a paisano and admire your work here. I think I got a lot of help from your site when I thought about visiting Iran so thanks so much!

I wanted to ask, how the heck did you manage to get your Iran visa on your passport, as in the full page awesome sticker? I asked for it in Iran like 20 times they wouldn’t give it or mark anything on it… Was very sad… there’s no trace there.. how did you get it?

Aaahh ok, then I’ll ask at the embassy. It’s real pity because I want that mark on my passport. Iran is amazing and I definitely want to go back. The country is huge and has so much to explore that you’d need at least 3 months to see it all. It is know however since a couple years back that the authorities are not stamping or leaving trace on your passport of your visit to Iran, on purpose, because of the problems the people would then have to access Israel or US, so they refuse to stamp your passport or put a sticker visa on it. I went last year in June 2019. Thanks Joan! I’ll ask at the embassy and hope that they say yes 😉

How easy it is to get multiple entry visa. I will enter and exit Azeri border several times within 4 months period as a tourist.

Theres no mention about people who only have UN travel documents or alien passports.
Are they able to travel and what diifficulties they might experience in visa process? Many Afghan refugees living in Europe have families in Iran which they like to visit but they do not have Afghan or any other national passports, so how they can travel there? Do You know the answer?

Hi! I’m travelling to Kish Island in 2 months to meet an Iranian friend. I’m travelling from England but I am American. Do I still need a tour guide? Because my friend will be with my British friend and I the entire time I don’t see a reason I’ll need a guide. My friend there is getting the hotels for us and everything as well. I just want to know what to expect when we arrive! Thanks so much.

Hi Joan,
On Saturday March 26th, my girlfriend and I were denied boarding at Barcelona airport before travelling to Teheran because we had no e-visa. It seems that right now it is not possible to get a visa on arrival without the reference code of the e-visa.

I’m a USC hoping to travel to Iran as a tourist. Where do I find and how do I choose one of these tour operators of which you speak? Which are the least expensive? Best (and in what way)? Do you recommend any? Thanks!

Thanks for the info. Just wanted to point out the list of countries that can enter Iran without visa has been updated. Now there are 11 countries, adding Egypt, China and Lebanon.

When applying for the e-visa, do they give a whole page sticker in your passport or is the printed visa the actual visa?

I would like to visit my boyfriend in Iran this summer. I’m an American so I know I need to have a tour guide with me the whole time I’m there. But I wondered if there is anyway to get around this rule and go without a tour? Do you know if they are very strict with it? Thanks!

Hello Juan, very informative blog.

I’m looking to travel from UAE to Bandar Abbas by boat, travelling up through Iran with my dog up to Turkey and back to the UK.

I understand I’ll need a tour guide, but travelling with a dog, I may not be able to leave him anywhere.

Would you have any info on the ease of travelling with pets through Iran and any issues that you may face?

Thanks in advance.

Hi Scott, I have never traveled with a pet, so I can’t really know the restrictions when staying in hotels, entering restaurants and stuff. What I know, however, is that in traditional areas from Muslim countries they don’t really like dogs to be inside buildings.

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