It’s Visa time again on Don’t Stop Living as I share my expert visa advice from my travels with you. The most recent visa advice is on how to get an Iran Visa in Trabzon, Turkey. A lot of seasoned travellers have found that Trabzon in Turkey is the easiest, fastest and handiest place to get your Iran Visa, and myself and my girlfriend also got our Iran Visas here in November 2013, so we have to agree. Here’s an overview on how to get an Iran Visa in Trabzon, Turkey.
Who Needs A Visa to Visit Iran?
Most nationalities require a visa in advance. It’s up to you to check with your embassy, but an example of nationalities which need a visa in advance are:
Hong Kong, France, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Japan, Canada, Netherlands.
There are a few rare countries that don’t need a visa, and they include: Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Holders of US passports will need a Guided Tour. Holders of Israel passports cannot visit Iran.
Is Visa on Arrival at Tehran International Airport an Option?
Yes, but it’s not that easy. There is the slight option of getting a visa ON ARRIVAL at Tehran International Airport. But even if you get this visa, which is risky, you will only be allowed 14 days in Iran. If you want a longer stay you’ll need to get a visa in advance. I always get my visas in advance for countries. I’d recommend spending at least 21 days in Iran, it’s a big country.
The ONE DAY Iran Visa Backpacker Trick in Trabzon, Turkey
While Iran Visas can be got in Istanbul, Tbilisi, Baku, Yerevan and Ankara, it’s a nice backpacker trick to note that some nationalities can get a visa issued in ONE DAY in Trabzon, and without an authorisation code. These nationalities include Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Belgium, South Korea, Netherlands, China.
English Speaking/Anglophone Countries Getting an Iran Visa
OK, so if you follow my stories on here you will know I travel on an Irish and a British passport. It’s tricky to get an Iran Visa on a British passport, so I used my Irish one. If you’re from Northern Ireland, you should do the same – take advantage of your dual nationality and nab both passports. However, despite the fact that Trabzon is the easiest place to get the Iran Visa, anglophone/English Speaking countries are the minority of countries that still do need an authorisation code to get an Iran Visa.
So, in Trabzon, even an Irish passport holder will need an authorisation code in advance. The good news is I’ve written a full guide on how to get an Iran Visa Authorisation Code on here and also that once you get the authorisation code, you can get the visa that day. Yes Irish passport holders can get their Iran Visa in ONE DAY in Trabzon, as long as you have an Authorisation Code in advance.
Where is the Iran Consulate in Trabzon, Turkey?
The Iranian Consulate is easy to find. In Trabzon, most backpackers will be based in the Meydan Parki/Meydani Square area (there’s a statue of Ataturk there).
We stayed at Hotel Benli there. Head underneath the underpass past the area where the mini-buses all come and go and you’ll head up a hill on a road called Taksim Cadessi.
On the left is a small park just below you. With a random kids playground.
Take the first left as you head up the hill and you’ll be on a street called Kizil Toprak Sokak.
The Iran Consulate with its flag it pretty unmissable – it’s bang in front of you on the corner. The full address is: Iranian Consulate General in Trabzon, Turkey Taksim Caddesi Kiziltoprak Sokak No: 3 Trabzon, Turkey.
Opening Times of the Iran Consulate in Trabzon, Turkey
Obviously these are subject to change but when we went they were open:
Monday to Friday 9 am to 12 noon and 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm
Saturday and Sunday closed
Getting an Iran Visa in Trabzon, Turkey
Like most visa applications in life you should go in as early as possible, so head there just before 9 am. Ring the bell and they’ll let you in. Make sure you have all the documents and things they need in advance. These are:
– Passport (with at least 6 months to run and no evidence of a visa or visit to Israel or Palestine)
– Two passport photos (the application form requests 3, but you only need 2)
– Your Authorisation Code (if you had to get one, like me)
– Details of a hotel/place to stay when in Iran
– Your itinerary or expected cities to visit when in Iran
– Details of your entry point into Iran (most will put Gurbulak to Bazargan)
(I find that bringing a Lonely Planet guide book covers the last three and makes the filling in of the form faster)
– Enough money in Euros to pay for your visa (though payment is NOT made in the consulate itself – you lodge it into the bank)
Once inside they will check your nationalities and passports first of all. Then they take them away and come back with two pieces of paper (this will take longer if you needed an authorisation code – they will go and check the code is valid first):
1. An application form for an Iranian Visa (everyone fills this in)
2. A declaration form for fingerprints (not all nationalities have to do this – my girlfriend from Hong Kong didn’t need a fingerprint copy)
Passport Photos for the Iran Visa
Females will need to wear a head scarf for their passport photo. This is essential. The scarf should cover your hair but leave your face displayed. Common practice -get these done in advance and be ready for it. Always carry passport photos.
My girlfriend had to get one done especially for this visa. She won’t let me use her photo, but here’s someone else’s:
Filling in the Application form for an Iran Visa
This is simple and straight forward – nothing to worry about and should take a maximum of 10-15 minutes. Everything is written in English. Which I found ironic, given that the only countries they make get the authorisation code are the English speaking ones!
They will ask you of your address in Iran, just put the hotel or Guest House you expect to stay the first night when you are there. They will also ask your job title and employers address. Make sure you don’t write anything like “Journalist”, “Church Minister”, “Policeman”, “Government Official” or “Army”. Common sense really! I wrote “teacher” on mine, as my other recent jobs have been travel writing (too similar to journalism) and barman (crazy thing to write when applying for a visa for a country that bans alcohol!).
They will ask you your entry point to Iran. I put Gurbulak to Bazargan, which is the Turkey to Iran border I planned to use to get across. Go with this one – it’s the most obvious.
They will ask you how much money you intend to take into Iran. I just put $3,000 US, which is well over the amount you’d ever need for 30 days. I just wanted to be sure I’d get the full amount of days.
They will ask you what countries you have already visited – it makes sense just to list every country that has been stamped in your passport. So that’s what I did. And of course there wasn’t enough room on the solitary line they gave me. I think I had 22 countries on there…
They will ask you what parts of Iran you intend to visit. Just be sensible again and don’t put any dodgy, dangerous or flashpoint zones. Most of the east part is considered off limits to travellers. I put Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz, Persepolis and Tehran. These are prime tourist spots.
They will ask you how many days you intend to stay in Iran. I put 30 Days as I wanted to have that flexibility. I was granted a 30 Day visa. It seemed to me that the number you put down is the number you get, so aim high and stick down 30 days. If they give you less, the visa can be extended in Iran for a slight cost. Two French guys applied the same day as me and asked for 30 Day Visas, yet they were only granted 21 Day Visas. Make sure you meticulously fill in everything completely and you should get your 30 days.
They didn’t ask for travel insurance documents.
They didn’t ask for a photocopy of my passport.
Filling in the declaration form for fingerprints
Not everyone applying will have to do a fingerprint stamp. Hong Kong is exempt from this and a few other nationalities may be too. The day I went, Japanese, French and Irish all had to do the fingerprint stamps. Fill in the fingerprint form included bizarrely a home phone number and a mobile phone number. Make it up if you are not sure.
Then you do a print stamp of all your fingerprints. The ink is quite strong so be prepared for your fingers and thumbs to turn to blue ink! They kindly give you a wet wipe to wash it off.
Once you’ve handed in your two photographs, done your fingerprints, handed in the two forms and your passport, they will give you a small piece of paper. You don’t pay money at all inside the consulate, this piece of paper gives the details of where to pay for your visa. They will tell you to come back at 4.30 pm with the receipt of proof of payment to collect your visa then.
Paying for your Iran Visa in Trabzon, Turkey
Payment is done by direct lodgement of funds into the bank account of the Iranian Consulate ONLY. To do this you head to the Isbank in central Trabzon. It’s a big branch located on K. Maris Cadessi. The other branches in Trabzon won’t accept it – you have to go to this one.
Take the piece of paper from the Iranian Consulate with you along with your money (in Euros). The money will vary depending on circumstances and nationality. Mine cost 60 Euros with my Irish Passport. My girlfriend’s cost 90 Euros with her Hong Kong Passport. Once inside the bank, line up and get a ticket. Tell the guy at the ticket machine that you are making a deposit and he’ll push the right ticket button for you. They don’t speak great English here, but for sure they are used to hoards of foreigners coming in weekly to lodge payments for their Iran Visas.
Once you’ve got your ticket, you just wait for your number to be called and go up and lodge the payment. You write your name and sign the sheet. They then give you a receipt to prove the payment has been lodged. It is essential to check this piece of paper has the correct bank account on it – the Iranian Consulate name will also appear on the sheet.
Payment for the Iran Visa in Trabzon MUST BE in cash and in Euros.
How much does it cost to get an Iran Visa in Trabzon, Turkey?
There is no single answer to this. The cost varies from case to case. I met people who paid 50, 55, 60, 90, 100, 110 and even 135 Euros for their Iran visa. This is completely dependent on nationality and processing time. One thing is for sure – payment is ONLY accepted in Euros – not in US Dollars or Turkish Lira.
My Visa on an Irish passport cost a total of 110 Euros:
50 Euros to get the Authorisation Code from Touran Zamin
60 Euros to pay for the visa itself in Trabzon
My girlfriend’s Visa on a Hong Kong passport cost a total of 90 Euros:
90 Euros to pay for the visa itself in Trabzon
So bear in mind that the other people you meet on the day will be paying different prices to you. It’s normal.
What Day should you go to get your Iran Visa in Trabzon, Turkey?
I recommend doing it on a Tuesday. The reason I suggest Tuesday is that Monday is their busiest day in the Consulate so form filling and finger printing will take longer. Also Monday is a crazy busy day for banks in Turkey and you could be waiting over an hour to deposit the money. Tuesday works well, as if there’s any problems you still have 3 more working days that week to sort the visa out.
OK so you’ve handed in your application, done your fingerprints, given them your passport and paid for the visa at the bank. All you need to do now is hang around in Trabzon and wait until 4.30 pm when you head to the embassy to collect your visa. Have a Turkish Bath, drink some tea, visit Aya Sofia, Trabzon is a cool city!
I got my Iran Visa and within two days I had crossed the border into Iran at Bazargan for the next adventure.
Good luck my friends!! It’s worth it for the visa!! I used all 30 days of my visa as I gathered I might never return there. Safe travels.