13th June 2017
The process for obtaining a visa to visit Iran has recently changed slightly, in particular for UK and Canadian passport holders. Below we outline the procedure in our step-by-step guide...
Step 1: Request a visa authorisation code
To apply for your Iranian visa we will firstly need to request a visa authorisation code for you from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. Since the visa is valid for entry within 90 days from the date of issue, and the visa authorisation code is valid for use within 30 days of issue, we are subsequently restricted in how long before your arrival in Iran we can request the authorisation code.
Various information is required for the visa authorisation code request, including a scanned colour copy of your passport photo/details page (there is no need for you to send off your passport at this stage), a scanned colour passport-sized photo and British, US and Canadian passport holders also need to provide a CV/career history statement covering a minimum of the last 10 years. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds – it’s simply a list of jobs you’ve held over this period with dates for each, so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can see what employment you’ve held. If you haven’t worked for any length of time during this period, this also needs to be accounted for with brief details (e.g. career break, travelling etc.).
The visa authorisation code typically takes five to six weeks to be issued for British, US and Canadian passport holders (and is often quicker for other nationalities) and we will send it on to you once received.
Step 2: Apply for your visa
To apply for your visa once the authorisation code is issued, you will need to fill in an application form (which we can forward to you if you intend to apply in London) and provide two standard passport-sized photos. We will also provide some useful information to help you when filling in your visa application form.
Once the visa application form has been completed, British passport holders will need apply in person at the Iranian embassy (London is the only Iranian embassy in the UK). Please make sure you have the visa authorisation code with you to show when attending the embassy to submit your application. If using the standard service, this will involve leaving your passport at the embassy whilst your visa application is processed, but the visa should be ready approximately one week later and can be returned by post to you or collected in person. An express service is also offered, which usually means you can have the visa issued and your passport returned on the same day.
Canadian and US passport holders can send their application by post to their relevant embassy. Please refer to the embassy for guidance on the processing times.
How long is the visa valid for?
The visa is valid for 90 days from issue, so you should not apply earlier than three months before you travel to Iran.
How long will I be without my passport?
You only need to surrender your passport for Step 2 and not during the period when you apply for the visa authorisation code. As UK passport holders need to apply directly at the embassy in London, it typically takes one week for the visa to be issued and your passport to be returned. For US and Canadian passport holders who can send their visa application by post, they should expect to be without their passport for at least two weeks.
How long should I allow for the whole visa process?
We recommend allowing a minimum of two months for the visa to be issued, from the start of the authorisation process to receiving your visa. You therefore need to book your trip to Iran at least two months before travelling there. This timing applies to UK, US and Canadian passport holders in particular – the process for passport holders from other countries tends to be much quicker.
What happens if I’m a passport holder from another country outside the UK, US or Canada?
The visa application process is broadly the same for all nationalities, but you will not need to include the CV/career history statement when applying for the visa authorisation code. This usually means the whole process of applying for a visa is quicker.
Once you have booked to travel to Iran with us, we will take you through the visa application process at each stage. We are also on hand to answer any questions you might have.