OK, so Iran Visas are not the easiest to get (except for those lucky nationalities who can get them done in one day in Trabzon) and if you’re like me, and possess passports for Anglophone/English Speaking countries (I own a British and an Irish passport) then you’ll need to get an Authorisation Code before you apply for your visa. I went through the process in November 2013 and here’s an overview of how I did it. Hopefully this comes in handy for all of you reading.
What Nationalities Need an Authorisation Code for an Iran Visa?
The answer to this question is not crystal clear, but the way I see it are that there are five different categories to put a nationality in when getting an Iran Visa, please check your own nationality’s situation at the time of applying, things change:
1/ Those who don’t need an Iran Visa (Currently Turkey, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Malaysia, Syria, Sri Lanka)
2/ Those who can get a Visa on Arrival/in one day in Trabzon (Germany, Slovakia, Portugal, Brazil etc.)
3/ Those who need the Authorisation Code before applying (Irish, British)
4/ Those who need a guided tour (US and some British/Canadians/Iraqis)
5/ Those who cannot visit Iran (Israelis)
* This is information I compiled from my travels and experiences rather than anything official from the Iran Government or Embassies. Please check your own situation.
Find a Company That Issues Authorisation Codes for Iranian Visas
It’s up to you what company you choose to use, and there are a few of them. I went through Touran Zamin online and had NO problems with them. I totally recommend their service. Fast, efficient and most importantly SUCCESSFUL. They got me my code and helped get me my visa. Thanks, guys.
Filling in the online form for the Authorisation Code for an Iran Visa
As I went through Touran Zamin, I’ll tell you how I did it. Fill out their online form easily, thoroughly and honestly. The main parts of the application form that you need were:
1. Your itinerary for Iran
2. How many days you want to stay
3. Your job title
4. The place you want to collect the Iran Visa
And here are the answers I gave…
1. OK for the itinerary for Iran, I’ll make it easy for you, here’s the exact answer I put for a 28 Day tour (I checked a few itineraries and typed this up):
Day 1 – Bazargan border to Tabriz. Stay in Tabriz.
Day 2 – Tabriz sightseeing and Maraghe to visit the three Saljuq towers. Stay in Tabriz.
Day 3 – Drive to Tehran.
Day 4 – Stay in Tehran and tour the city’s Mosques.
Day 5 – Tehran to visit Archaelogical sites.
Day 6 – Tehran – Full city tour.
Day 7 – Tehran – visit the glass and carpet museums.
Day 8 – Drive to Hamadan.
Day 9 – Hamadan (Sightseeing).
Day 10 – Kangavar and stay in Sanandaj.
Day 11 – Maraghe via Takht-e Suleiman (Visit the Sassanian fire temple). Stay in Maraghe.
Day 12 – Drive to Anzali (via Ardebil to visit shrine of Sheikh Saffieddin Ardebili) Stay in Anzali.
Day 13 – Drive to Ramsar. Stay in Ramsar.
Day 14 – Sightseeing village and lagoons near Ramsar.
Day 15 – Drive to Gorgan, Gonbad-e-Qabus Tower, stay in Gorgan.
Day 16 – Visit Imam-zadeh Mahrough Shrine, tombs of poets Khayyam and Attar in Neishabur then drive to Mashad.
Day 17 – Mashhad sightseeing.
Day 18 – Drive to Robat-e Sharaf and Robat-e Mahi caravanserais and stay in Mashhad.
Day 19 – City tour of Mashhad to visit the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza and the museums. Stay in Mashad.
Day 20 – Drive to Shiraz.
Day 21 – Shiraz sightseeing.
Day 22 – Shiraz to Persepolis.
Day 23 – Shiraz Full day tour of Shiraz to see Eram Gardens, Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, Narenjestan Palace, the tombs of poets Hafez and Sa’di, Pars Museum. Stay in Shiraz.
Day 24 – Head to Isfahan on the way visit Pasargade and Yazd-e-Khast village and caravanserai. Stay in Isfahan.
Day 25 – Isfahan and do a full day tour of Isfahan to visit Hasht-Behesht and Ali Qapu palaces,
Day 26 — In Isfahan visit Sheikh Lotfolah and Imam Mosques. Stay in Isfahan.
Day 27 – Drive to Tabriz. Stay one night.
Day 28 – Head back to Turkey.
2. 28 Days (in the end I got 30 days: 21 days and below is realistically too short a time to see the entire country)
4. Trabzon, Turkey (spelt Trabuzuan sometimes)
The rest of the form was straight forward things like name, address, date of birth etc. You also need to attach a copy of your passport. Take a high res photo of it and this will be fine. Once you’ve filled the online form in and checked it – send it. You will receive a confirmation e-mail straight away from Touran Zamin.
Then you need to pay for it. Payment must be done by bank transfer. I luckily had one of my accounts set up for online internet transfer and was able to send the funds (50 Euros) immediately. They tell you full details of the account that needs credited.
How much does it cost to get the Authorisation Code?
This depends on nationality, where you want to collect the visa and if you want normal or fast service. I was on an Irish passport, wanted to collect it in Trabzon and wanted normal service, so I paid 50 Euros. It’s 35 Euros if you collect it in certain embassies. I was collecting it in Trabzon, Turkey which costs 50 Euros for some reason. No moaning, as we love travel. Bite the bullet and pay it.
What next once I’ve filled in the form and paid?
I decided to e-mail Touran Zamin to confirm they had received my application form, my payment and were processing my application for the code. They replied to say they had received it and I should receive my code within a week. If they don’t reply to you, try and send the e-mail to all of their three addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tel: +98 21 888 44 519-20, 88 84 74 74 , 88 30 50 45 , Fax: +98 21 888 44 518
How Long Did it Take to Get the Authorisation Code?
It took me 7 days (only 5 of which were working days). I was sat in my hotel room in Ankara, Turkey when I found out the code had been successful and straight away my girlfriend and I decided we would head to Trabzon that night for me to collect the visa the next day. Confirmation from Touran Zamin is a simple e-mail. I headed to a print shop to print the e-mail and we boarded the night bus to Trabzon. My girlfriend, being from Hong Kong, didn’t need the code and had got her visa on the day, a week before in Trabzon.
Getting an Iran Visa in Trabzon, Turkey
Once you have the code, you need to collect the visa. You have 30 days to collect it, but you still need to go through the normal visa process which includes filling in the forms, fingerprints, handing in photos and payment. I have written a full guide on that procedure here: how to get an Iran Visa in Trabzon in Turkey.
Safe travels my friends!