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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Iran Visa for Indians

This has been my most expensive visa as yet and it took me a while to get it stamped on my passport. If you are looking to travel as a tourist to Iran, the below steps will help you with your visa processing.

Do note that as of Mar 31, 2014, Iran has stopped issuing visa on arrival to Indian citizens irrespective of whether you fly in or do a land crossing. All Indian citizens have to apply for a visa in advance from within India or in some cases from an embassy outside of India.

Iran Tourist Visa for Indian Citizens

Pre-Authorization Letter

To apply for a visa from India, we need a pre-authorization letter from the ministry of external affairs in Iran. To get this, you either need to have a local contact within Iran or you will have to go through a recognized agency in Iran. I went through 1stQuest, an online agency, who provide visa application, hotel reservation and airport shuttle services. They provide visa authorization code in 2-3 working days and charge a fee of $35 for it.

To start with you have to fill in a short application form, which includes your personal details, your passport details, your trip details and the location of the consulate where you wish to apply for your visa. Your visa duration would be the same as what you enter in the form, upto 30 days. Once 1stQuest puts this information in the pre-authorization letter, this cannot be changed while you apply for the visa at the consulate.

Once you have sent your form, you need to pay the service fee online using your master card, visa or paypal. You will receive instant confirmation of your visa application and a couple of days later, you should receive an email including your pre-authorization letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iran. In this email, they also mentioned that I can call up my consulate 3 days later to check for receipt of original authorization letter. It may take 1 to 3 days for the Ministry to send this letter to the consulate. Three days later, I called up the consulate and they confirmed receipt.

Once you have the pre-authorization letter, you can visit the consulate on any working day to apply for your visa. You should try and visit the concerned consulate within 30 days from receipt of the pre-authorization letter. Prior to visiting, you need to get your documentation in order.

Required Documentation
1) Original Passport with at least 2 blank pages
2) 2 passport size photographs (normal Indian size will do) with white background
3) Completed and Signed Visa form that you can download here
4) A medical test report showing that you don’t have HIV or Hepatitis B
5) Visa Fees
6) A letter to the Consul General either from your company or self briefing about your trip objective and itinerary

Visa Fees
A Normal Tourist visa (takes 3 days to process) costs INR 2640
An Urgent Tourist visa (takes 1 day to process) costs INR 3960 (50% more)

Visa Types
Single Entry or Multiple Entry are available options for the tourist. I opted for the single entry tourist visa. This visa is valid for a period of 3 months and is good for a single entry wherein I can stay in Iran for a maximum of 30 days. I can enter by air, train or by road. 

Should I go in-person or through travel agent?
I went in-person, but you can also go through a travel agent.

Which consulate should I apply from?
You can pick a consulate that is closest to you. Iran Consulates are present in New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. I opted for Hyderabad as it is closest to me.

Amount I spent to get this visa (in INR)
Pre Authorization Letter: INR 3600
HIV and Hepatitis B medical test: INR 650
Urgent Visa: INR 3960
Flight to Hyderabad: INR 3000
Train ticket from Hyderabad to Bangalore: INR 800
Rough cost of food at Hyderabad: INR 1000

Total Money spent on visa: INR 13010

Feedback on Hyderabad Consulate
The Hyderabad consulate is located in the Banjara Hills area and is a very good place to apply for the visa. The consular section personnel are very friendly and help you with all the required documentation. There is hardly any crowd too.



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