Iran Visa for US, UK & Canadian Citizens
Due to the current international political situation, the embassies of the U.S, England, and Canada are close in Iran at the moment. American, British, and Canadian passport holders can alternatively apply for Iran Visa from Iran's embassies, general consulates or interest bureaus in other countries.
Iran has a visa validity of 17 days so getting a tourist visa to Iran is a simple procedure. Approved Iranian travel agents i.e Behinburg Tour & Travel Company can apply and get visa for all foreign nationals (except Israeli passport holders). The Iranian Foreign Ministry does not allow US passport holders to travel to Iran independently. US citizens are required to travel on tours, either as part of a tour group, or a tailor made individual tour. An exact itinerary, to which you must adhere, is compulsory.
To apply and get your visa you must contact an approved Iranian travel agent i.e Behinburg Tour & Travel Company. After receiving your personal data, they apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your visa will then be authorized by the MFA and faxed to the Iranian Consulate near you. Your travel agent gives you a visa authorization number with which you can refer to the consulate to get your visa. The visa authorization number, however, is valid only in the consulate you have asked them your visa to be issued in. The number they give you is just an "authorization". This reference number means that your visa has been authorized and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but is not the visa itself.
Depending on your nationality, you may be required to present at the Iranian consulate in your country to have your fingerprints taken. British and American passport holders will be fingerprinted upon arrival.
After your travel agent tells you your visa authorization number you should first get a visa application form from the consulate and follow the requirements of the application form (you may either personally go to the consulate to get the application forms or, if the service available, download it from the web site of the Iranian embassy in your country). Then, you should refer to the consulate to lodge your passports and application forms with the visa number they gave you (it can be either a physical presence or by post). Then it might take from 1-5 days for the consulate to issue your visa .
You may also need to provide a letter of recommendation from your embassy if you are applying outside your home country, a photocopy of your air tickets in and out of Iran and any student or press card .
Normally, all tourist visas issued by Iranian consulates have a 3-month validity. The visa allows you to stay in Iran for up to 30 days, although the duration of your visa is at the discretion of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Rarely, you may be asked to provide a letter from your employer or proof of fund. Visas are generally valid for three months that is you must enter Iran within three months of issue. Depending on your nationality, issuing a visa may take 30 days or more.
All citizens and/or passport holders of the U.S, England, and Canada will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following their departure date from Iran. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times. Most destinations, including Iran, require that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure. We recommend that you have at least two free pages in Visas section of your passport before any international travel.
Due to the new regulations, starting on September 23rd 2011, all visa applicants, along with other required documents, must enclose the proof of an adequate medical travel insurance coverage from Iranian or Foreign Insurance Agents to allow smooth processing of their application.
US citizens must have an MFA-approved guide to accompany them for the entire trip and must have an exact itinerary.
To get the visa, US, British, and Canadian citizens must work in advance with an approved Iranian travel agency i.e Behinburg Tour & Travel Company to set up a guided itinerary; only then, that travel agency may apply for a visa authorization number from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Iran Visa On Arrival:
Iran Visa on Arrival (VOA) WILL NOT BE ISSUED for US, British, and Canadian citizens under any circumstances. Therefore, those citizens must apply for Iran Visa in advance using an approved Iranian travel agency or contacting the Iran Embassy in their region.
Once in Iran, US, British, and Canadian citizens can extend their Iran Visa by going to the nearest Police Department of Alien Affairs before their Visas expire. You will be asked for the reasons for your request for an extension. Extensions are normally granted for up to two months.