Many travel to Iran to experience the treasures of the ancient Persian Empire. Yet Iran is wrongfully perceived by most Americans as a forbidden destination by their government. This is simply not true. Travel to Iran is not banned by the US government – tourism is developing as relations grow; hatred of the Americans is not as common as the media likes you to think; ancient Persia is within easy grip, particularly in the central region where important sites has been sustained; and tourists are not exposed to as severely imposed rules as the locals.
We prepared this 10-point checklist to help get you started…
Iran Visa for Americans
Obtaining a visa for Iran is the most difficult and stressful part of your entire trip. The Iranian Interest Section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC handles the visa applications from Americans as there is no consulate or embassy of Iran in US. And the most tricky part is getting the Authorization Number first to be able to apply for a visa.
Getting Your Iran Authorization Number
Before you apply for your visa (giving you up to 30 days), you must apply for an Authorization number. The authorization number will determine if you are granted an application for a visa or not. For those who travel in a group tour to Iran this code will normally be processed by your us, your tour company. Americans are not allowed to travel to Iran without booking either a private tour to Iran organized by a tour company or joining a group tour. Once the code is granted you will be notified by your tour company and mail your passport along with a passport size picture and a money order to the visa fee and postage for the return of your passport.
The cost of visa is $90 and it is processed within 3-4 weeks. When you pay the $58 fee to expedite the process, you would receive your visa within 5-6 days. You will likely receive your authorization code in the last two weeks of your scheduled departure date which makes the expedite fee a necessity rather than an option. It is stressful, but once completed the rest of your adventure will be a breeze. (Especially if you are travelling on one of our Iran Group Tours) 🙂
Refusal of Entry to Iran
If you have travelled to Israel and your passport has a stamp from Israel, your visa application will be refused by the Iranian government. Also, certain occupations (Journalists, media workers, etc.) arise a red flag and harder to obtain a visa.. Diplomatic relations and any political actions for/against Iran based at the time of application may also affect the visa authorization.
Visa on Arrival in Iran
Not possible. Americans cannot obtain a visa upon arrival and airlines would refuse you to board on a flight to Iran if you do not have a current visa.
US passport holders are only allowed into Iran if they are part of a tour group (or with a guide). It apparently still stands that Americans must also be escorted from the airport to the hotel, and cannot make their own arrangements (your trip must be pre-organized). View our Tours to Iran or call one of our specialists to create a private itinerary for you.