A year’s worth of planning the Mongol Rally and most things were relatively easy to get sorted, but our Iran Visa was the last and perhaps hardest hurdle.

There are two parts to your Iran Visa, three parts if you are British, American or Canada. The first part is the Authorization code. The second, a trip to your local embassy to get your biometric scans, provide your application form and hand over a wad of cash. If you are a citizen of Britain, America or Canada then you will also need to book a tour (prior to getting your auth codes). The process in total can take anywhere from two to ten weeks. If there’s an election on at the time then the process is significantly delayed.

Getting the Authorization Code for your Iran Visa

Your Iran Visa authorization code is generated over in Tehran and is then sent to the embassy that you request. No, it is not sent via pigeon and yes, it is electronic, however, it can only be sent to one specific embassy!

As an individual, you’re not able to apply for the authorization code directly. You’ll need to find a tour company in Iran to apply on your behalf. Uppersia is probably one of the best-known operators and can help with this, but also provide full tours as well. Alternatively, you can get this through the awesome site Carivanistan.

If you’re a UK, US, or Canadian citizen then you will also need to a book a tour for the duration of your stay. Again, Uppersia is a great option and I’ve used them for my five days in Iran during the Mongola Rally. Without a tour booked, if you are from one of these countries there is no way to get your authorization code or your Iran Visa!

Getting your Iran Visa: The Embassy Visit

Once armed with your authorization code you can head to your local embassy, or the one your auth code has been assigned to, to apply for your Iran Visa. Note, your application can be declined at either the auth code or embassy visit stage! You’ll need to pay for your visa (you can have 5 day or express), scan your finger prints and hand over your passport.

Iran Visa from the London Embassy

If picking up your Iran Visa form the London Embassy (50 Kensington Ct, Kensington, London W8 5DD), allow plenty of time. The Iran Visa Embassy is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2pm until 5pm. If you’re looking for the Express, same-day service, then get there by 1pm at the latest to start queuing.

The embassy will issue you with a ticket while you’re in the queue. Once inside, it’s a waiting game before you head to the two window counters.

Window one: Here you’ll need to provide your application form, which your can down here. You’ll need to either state details of your tour, or alternatively, your accommodation (find accommodation options here), along with standard information you’d expect on a visa application.

A man will flick through your paperwork, look up your authorisation code and write some stuff on your form. Then it’s on to the next window.

Window two: You’ll be given back your application and be sent to window two where you’ll need to re-handover your forms as well as your cash (depending on which Iran Visa you need). Then, you’re set!

Picking up your Iran Visa

You can pick up your Iran Visa between 2pm and 5pm from the same place. This time you’ll need to go upstairs though. For my one day express Iran visa I found the process quite bizarre. You’ll wait in the top waiting room for an indefinite period of time. A man comes to the window every 20 minutes or so and reads out the names of all the passports he’s got. If no one picks it up, it’s added to the back of the pile and read out 20 minutes later. Very strange!

Go to Iran!

The next step is the fun bit – you get to go to Iran! Iran is a country famous for its friendly people, and actually, the process of getting your Iran visa is no different. Whilst the process may seem a little convoluted, the people at the embassy are so helpful and friendly, and once you’ve got that little stick stuck in, you’ll be rearing to go and explore this stunning country!

[eafl id=”1660″ name=”Expedia General” text=”Click here”] for flights to Iran

Click here for accommodation in Iran.