Jumat, 12 September 2008

Traveling to Iran? Get it Right the First Time

By Walter Matthews

Every person who holds a non-Iranian passport requires a visa for entering Iran. Nationals of Singapore, Turkey, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia Herzegovina do not require a visa if their intended duration of stay does not exceed three months.

Requirements for obtaining an Iranian Visa

Individuals traveling to Iran can apply for a visa at the Iranian Embassy located in the visitor's home country. Visitors are only allowed to travel to those cities that are mentioned in the visa.

In order to get a visa, the individual who wishes to travel to Iran must have a "Letter of Invitation" from an Iranian sponsor. This Letter of Invitation should be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For tourists, the person who acts as a sponsor is usually a hotel or a tour operating service. After permission is granted, the Letter of Invitation is sent to the Iran Consulate overseas to the place where the visa was issued. This entire procedure can take up to a month before a visa is issued.

The Letter of Invitation is a detailed document that must contain specific information in order for a visa to be issued:

  • First and last (sur) name
  • Nationality/citizenship
  • Sex and marital status
  • Date of birth and place of birth
  • Passport number, date and place of issue and validity
  • Occupation and place of work (name and address of organization are required)
  • Proposed date of arrival and departure

Types of Iranian Visas

Anyone wishing to travel to Iran can apply for either a Transit Visa or a Tourist Visa. The type of visa you receive and its valid duration is dependant on the country were the visa is being applied for as well as the current political situation in the Tehran Foreign Ministry.

The norm is that tourist visas are issued for a month. However, depending on political actions at the time of application, it can difficult to obtain anything for more than a 10-day period.

Visa Application Requirements

Anyone wishing to apply for a tourist visa to Iran is required to submit the following:

  • Two copies of the completed visa application form
  • Passport with at least 6 months remaining until expiration. The passport must have a minimum of two pages that are blank
  • Two passport size photographs ( ladies are required to observe the Islamic code ejab in their photographs)
  • Invitation letter with all the necessary information
  • Day-by-day itinerary
  • Visa fees payable by money order or cash

Applicants are also required to submit round trip airline tickets and proof of hotel reservations.
It is important to note that the visa will only be valid for those cities which are annotate on the visa.

All tourists who wish to stay for a period longer than three months must apply for and obtain a residence permit. This application has to be made at the Police Headquarters or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran within eight days of arrival in Iran.

Getting the right documents to travel to Iran shouldn't be hard. If you follow the rules and allow plenty of time for processing, you will have no problems getting a visa.

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