For those tourists interested in traveling to Iran, getting a visa is certainly a big challenge. There are rare cases where e-visa is possible. In most cases, an authorization code is needed. It takes 2 weeks to get one through an official Iranian agency but the process may be prolonged without reason. That is why many tourists prefer to go for a visa on arrival in major airports.
Getting your airport visa (VOA) can be a piece of cake. Some got it without any support from Iranian agencies in just half an hour. Others got through by a support from an Iranian friend or an agency.
Still you never know what may happen and if you are eligible or not. First you should see if you can receive an Iranian visa according to a list of eligible nationalities. The list was originally issued by MFA and the embassies but it is rarely found on official sites. Some well-known visa sites have the list. The only official site which has a list of eligible nationalities for VOA is Iranian Embassy in Bern Switzerland.
http://www.iranembassy.ch/airportvisa.htm (orginal site in Farsi)
But I would say never count on it.
It can become a real nightmare. A personal experience with 2 friends turned out to be one. A few days ago, two tourists (Italian and Colombian) who intended to visit Iran and had not enough time to get a tourist visa were suggested to get a VOA at IKA airport. The sites and the embassy all confirmed it possible but when the Emirates stopped the Colombian friend from boarding the plane, the trouble started.
They bought extra tickets to Istanbul and flew off to Tehran 2 days later in hope of getting a VOA. Before flying, they checked eligibility with Iranian consulate in Jordan. Once arrived at IKA in Iran, they were stopped. The Colombian tourist cannot get a VOA, the officer said. They got stuck at IKA for the night. One officer was in doubt and said the visa may be issued but the other was certain that the Colombians are not eligible and there is a new rule. It is strange that nobody knows about such a new rule or new list even the Iranian embassies themselves. Showing the list of eligible nationalities and all the effort on our side to persuade them about the conditions was in vain. Finally they had to leave Tehran without even entering it as the Colombian tourist couldn’t get the visa.
I don’t know who should be held responsible for all the loss. The fact is Iran is an amazing country with great monuments and the most hospitable people in the world. Traveling to Iran is a dream which can come true easily and safely
Wanna be safe in Iran? Always check the rules, and follow them even if your agency or Iranian friends or other fellow tourists tell you not to take it serious.
I hope such cases do not happen again. I cannot do anything to relieve my friends. Still I am posting a new list which I think is the new list of non-eligible nationalities for Iran airport visa.
(Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, England (UK), Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Somalia, USA)
Let’s hope Iran, this wonderful land and its great people get more caring officials inside and more interested tourists from all around the globe.