Trying to get certain visas it’s much more complicated than it seems at first glance, that’s why now that we are stopped for a couple weeks we are trying to get our visa to be able to enter Iran.
From the day we leave Istanbul it will take around one month to leave turkey and enter the first completely Asian country of our trip: Iran! But when we get to the border we can’t just cross it by showing our passports, like we’ve done till now. We will need an entry visa, and sometimes they are not easy to get. (We also needed an entry visa for Turkey, but you can get at the border, after paying of course!)
We’ve been at the Iranian embassy several times (one of them was closed), and we asked every single question we could imagine to be able to get the visa: price, conditions, how long they will take to make, how long they are valid …
These are the conclusion we’ve reached, or better:
How can you get an the entry visa for Iran?
To get the visa you need to get an invitation from an Iranian person. This person will have to give you a code after asking the authorities for the invitation. With this code you can ask for the visa at the embassy.
The normal problem you might encounter is that you don’t know a person from Iran willing to take you, so you have 2 options:
1- Contact one of the many agencies that offer invitations over the Internet: They can get a code in around 5 days for 50 euro (more or less). First they give it to you, and after you pay they activate it. With the code you can just go to the embassy and get the visa. The nice thing is that you can just tell them where you want to get the visa, so you don’t have to wait in Istanbul.
2- Without a code: Sometimes you might get the visa just by going to the embassy. We’ve heard that the only place where this miracle happens is Trabson, a city by the coast. Last week a German traveler managed to get in just one day without any problems.
How long does it take?
1- 5 days for the agency to send you the code.
2- 5 days for the visa to be printed on your passport from the moment you take every document to the embassy
3- From the moment you get the visa you have 3 month to get cross the border of Iran
4- And inside Iran you can stay up to1 month (sometimes you can prolong it)
1- 50 euro for the invitation code, to the agency (more or less)
2- 50 euro for the visa itself, to the embassy.
Where can you cross?
There are three open roads with border control between Turkey and Iran (north to south):
Thing to take into account
1- If you are going to cross the border by bike you need a special authorization. We got a webpage where you can ask for it, but it’s not working. We heard that’s it’s possible to cross without it, but if it’s not working, we will take a bus at the last Turkish village to the first one in Iran.
2- In Iran ATMs don’t take foreign credit cards, so you should take dollar or euro in cash to exchange it for Iranian Rial. So you have to calculate how much do you think you will spend.
We are going to try to get our visa in Trabson, like this we will save 50 euro each. So in a few weeks we can tell you if it it’s worth risking not getting the code.