A visa on arrival in Iran? Yes, it is possible!

Thinking about visiting Iran? We can highly recommend it (read more about our visit here)! Some people are put off because they have heard stories about cumbersome visa application processes. We found out that the visa process is not that bad. It is possible to get a visa on arrival in Iran. Well, at least if your government is friends with their government. In this blog you can read about our experiences.

Obtaining a visa on arrival in Iran, it’s really easy

So there is no need to arrange a visa in advance? Well… it depends on where you are from. Our experience was that citizens from the European Union are able to get a visa on arrival in Iran at the airport in Teheran. If you are a US citizen, a spontaneous visit won’t  be an option.

What about the stories that flight operators won’t take you without a visa? Before we set off we read stories that flight companies do not allow people without a visa to board. We were flying with AirAsia and didn’t have any problems, neither did we hear other travelers with issues.

You just need to be patient to get a visa on arrival in Iran

That it is possible to get a visa, does not mean the process is very efficient. It pays off to come a little prepared. Our “visa-on-arrival-process” (we were there in February 2017 and we have a Dutch passport) went like this:

The first counter

  • Arriving at Teheran airport we went to the counter for visa applications
  • A friendly guy was waiting for us and was instructing every person separately about the process
  • We needed to fill out a form. One form for both of us, because only including Tom his name was enough. Yes, already here we experienced that husband and wife are seen as one… Ensure you have a booking for the first night and that you have a name and telephone number ready, because these need to be included on the form.

The second counter… or not

  • The guy directed us to another counter where we were supposed to buy a health insurance. We had a print of our travel insurance policy (in Dutch) and of our health insurance cards. With these prints we could convince the guy that we had a proper insurance. Other travelers with similar documents, but in a digital format, had to pay for the health insurance.

The bank

  • After we solved this discussion, the guy redirected us to the bank. There we had to pay for our visa on arrival. For Dutch residents this was 80 USD per person. It is cheaper to pay in Euro if you have them with you, though.

Back to the first counter

  • We handed in our application form and passports to the “coordination guy”, who was still very busy explaining other travelers and making sure the process went very smooth ;).
  • After that we had to wait.
  • Approximately 30 minutes later the guy called our names and we could pick up our passport including a nice visa, after we could show our proof of payment to the bank.
  • We were free to enter the country!

So don’t let yourself be put off by reading terrible stories on long visa applications and interviews at embassies in your home country, because you can get a visa on arrival in Iran…. At least if your government is friends their government. Click here for more tips for a stress free visit to Iran.


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Tom and Renée

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