How to get an Iranian visa in Trabzon (2015)

How to get an Iranian visa in Trabzon - header

Trabzon used to be the place to go to get your Iranian visa as you didn’t need the reference number (authorisation code) and you were able to obtain your visa sometimes even on the same day. Unfortunately, these days are over and since the beginning of 2015 everyone needs a code and the whole waiting process takes about two weeks, so be prepared! Here we explain everything you need to know if you want to apply for your Iranian visa in Trabzon.

How to get an Iranian visa in Trabzon

Visa policy of Iran

No visa 90 days

Citizens of the following 7 countries can visit Uzbekistan without a visa:

Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela

ⓑ Visa on arrival for up to 15 days if you are flying

You can obtain a tourist visa for max 15 days provided that you have an e-visa pre-approval code obtained via e-mail from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and arriving at Chah-Bahar, Qeshm, Kish, Mashad, Esfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz and Tehran international airports. You will also need a photograph (women need to be wearing a headscarf), a copy of your passport’s biographical page and fee of between 30-80€.

This is not applicable to nationals of:

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan

ⓒ Crossing land borders – 30 days

If you want to cross any land borders or obtain a regular tourist visa for more than 15 days, you need to get a reference number sent by a travel agency in Iran. We explain how to do it below.

Iran visa policy

“Visa policy of Iran” by Twofortnights. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

IMPORTANT REGULATIONS!

  • You have one month to collect your visa and three months to enter Iran after you collect it.
  • You will be refused entry if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport or have any connections with the state of Israel
  • Women not wearing conservative clothes (long sleeves, headscarf, stockings) will be refused entry
  • Citizens of the UK, USA and Canada are required to be escorted by a government-approved guide at all times, so in theory independent travel in impossible for these nationals, but in practice it is doable.

Important read: How to travel in Iran independently if you are British,American or Canadian and not pay for a guide.

Reference number (authorisation code)

Since the beginning of 2015 everyone who wishes to cross Iran’s land borders needs a reference number.

Agency: You can obtain the number by contacting a government approved travel agency in Iran. Personally we recommend Yadman Travel but you can find an Iranian tour operator by typing “Iranian visa” in Google.

Price: The cost of your reference number service depends on the agency and your nationality, but it starts from a minimum of 30-35€.

How long it takes: That also depends on your nationality and the agency you are using. For example for Polish citizens (using Yadman) it’s 7 days, but for British – 20 days. Some agencies even quote one month.

Documents required

  • A copy of the first page of your passport
  • Iranian visa application form sent by the agency. Its form varies depending on the tour operator, but it’s more or less like this:

Think carefully about what you write, for example, there are some professions which you should avoid writing in your application form (journalists, researchers, military personnel). On the other hand teachers, doctors and nurses are always welcome.

In the ‘purpose of visit‘ write: tourism. There is a story of a guy who said he’s going to visit his Iranian girlfriend and got rejected.

  • Hotel/hostel booking confirmation (if you are using Yadman, they would do it for you, but it can be cancelled once in Iran).
  • Day-by-day itinerary. This is what we sent them:

Day 1 & 2 – Tabriz, Day 3 & 4 – Ardabil, Day 5 – Zanjan, Day 6, 7 & 8 – Tehran, Day 9 & 10 – Kermanshah, Day 11 & 12 – Shūshtar, Day 13 & 14  – Shiraz, Day 15 – (Day Trip) Persepolis, Day 16 & 17 – Bam, Day 18 & 19 – Yazd, Day 20, 21 & 22 – Esfahan, Day 23 & 24 – Kashan, Day 25 – Tehran, Day 26 & 27 – Gonbad-e Kavus, Day 28 & 29 – Mashad, Day 30 – Turkmenistan

IMPORTANT! Bear in mind that the reference number expires after 30 days since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues it. It usually takes a couple of days for them to send it to your tour operator and add some time on top of that for the agent to send the code to you. We learnt the hard way! We received our code on 10th January and tried to apply for the visa in Trabzon on 9th February and it was 3 days too late!

Getting Iranian visa in Trabzon

 

Price: It depends on your nationality. In February 2015 for a Polish citizen – 50€, British – 180€, Thai – 35€ (paid in Euros at İş Bankası Trabzon Şubesi, Kemerkaya Mh., Kahramanmaraş Caddesi No:28)

Waiting time: Since the moment you apply and pay it takes 4-5 working days, but the problem is that they usually don’t accept your application during your first visit to the consulate even if you have the code (read ‘Our experience’ for details).

Address: Taksim Caddesi Kızıltoprak Sokak 3 (you can walk there from Meydan central square).

Tel.: +90 462  3222 190

Opening hours: 9.00-12.00 a.m. (this is when you show them your number for approval) – 2.30-4.30 p.m. (this is when you come back with the documents and receipt from the bank).

How the application procedure works: After you receive your code you should wait at least 3 working days for the consulate to see it in their system. You should go to the consulate early in the morning (preferably at 9.00 a.m.) and show them the code (it can be written by hand on a piece of paper). If they see the code in their computer, they will tell you what documents you need to bring and how much you will have to pay for the visa.

You will then pay at the bank and bring the documents at 14.30 and in theory you will be able to collect your visa 4-5 working days later.

Documents required: After your reference number has been verified, you will need to provide:

  • Your passport
  • A copy of the first page of your passport
  • A copy of the page where you have your Turkish stamp
  • A copy of your travel insurance
  • 2 photos (women need to wear a headscarf in the picture)
  • Completed visa application form – they will give this to you in the morning

Iranian visa in Trabzon

Our experience: Getting the Iranian visa was a pain, not only for us but also for other people we spoke to and it wasn’t quick. Here is a day-by-day description of what you have to prepare yourself for.

Friday 6th Feb 2015 – We arrived in Trabzon and had to wait until Monday for the consulate to open

Monday 9th – We went to the consulate armed with all the documents and the reference number which we had received from our travel agency a month earlier. The consulate workers typed in our code into the computer and told us it’s not in the system. We were shocked and they called somebody at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who spoke some English. After some time the man told us that our number had expired as they had received it on 6th January, so we were 3 days too late!

We called our travel agent in Iran who then had to call the Ministry to ask them to re-activate the code. She called us again in the evening saying that it has been sent and we can re-apply the following day.

Tuesday 10th – We got up early again to be at the consulate before 9.00 a.m. and heard that the number was still not in their system. We spoke on the phone to the same guy in Tehran who told us that the following day was a bank holiday in Iran, but in two days time it should be ready.

Wednesday 11th – Victory of Islamic Revolution – national holiday

Thursday 12th – As we were not having a good time in Trabzon (it’s a boring city and our CS host wasn’t a positive experience), we headed to the town of Rize on Tuesday with the intention of waiting for the code there and coming back when we knew it was actually ready. We asked our travel agent to call the consulate and let us know if the code had been resent and if we can re-apply. When she called us on Thursday there was still no trace of the code and nobody knew when it would arrive.

Friday 13th – Our travel agent called the Ministry to ask them to send the code to the Trabzon consulate by fax, which they did. The answer from the consulate was that the code was unclear (whatever that might mean) and that they would have to call the Ministry on Monday.

Monday 16th – We came back from Rize and went to the consulate. They told us the code is still not in their system and when we said that we knew it had been sent by fax and they had received it, they said they couldn’t approve us if the code was not in the computer. They also said they couldn’t put the code in the computer as they had a virus (and it sounded like they made it up on the spot). We then called our travel agent in Iran and asked the consulate worker to speak to her on the phone. She told us that we would be able to come back in the afternoon and re-apply, however the consulate worker got quite angry and told us to come back the following day. By this point we were losing hope as hearing every day ‘come tomorro‘, ‘visa problem’, ‘no code’, ‘code no in the system’, ‘virus’, ‘code unclear’ was driving us crazy and we thought they were  making up excuses not to give us the visa (Jon is British so that made things even more difficult). Besides, they spoke very little English and refused to give us any information and any reasonable explanation on why the code wasn’t there.

At the same time we were in touch with a French guy who had arrived in Trabzon 10 days before us but didn’t have a code. He then got in touch with a different tour operator who sent him the number on Monday 9th. We went to the consulate together but they told him the same thing: ‘code not in the system’, so we kept coming back every day for the following week and when we heard they still didn’t have his code on Monday 16th, he threw the piece of paper in the bin and stormed out. The consulate workers then took his code out of the bin and underlined something there (I guess, he won’t be getting into Iran soon, poor chap).

Tuesday 17th – We went to the consulate in the morning and they let us apply. We paid for our visa, had all the necessary photocopies made and went in again at 2.30 p.m. They took the documents and our passports and Jon had to leave all his fingerprints (right & left hand individually and then the whole hand). They told us to come and collect our visas on Friday at 4.30 pm.

Friday 20th – We arrived at the consulate at 4.15 pm and rand the buzzer. The woman inside told us the consulate is closed (according to their opening times, it should have still be open) and we have to come on Monday. Close to tears, we insisted that they let us in, which they did in the end. We collected our visas and crossed the border with Iran 4 days later.

Getting our Iranian visas

written by: Ania

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22 comments

  • During my first weeks here in Turkey I also thought I could still get the Iranian visa in Trabzon easily (the old fashioned way). Now, at the end of my second month here, I realised that they changed the rules and that I also have to go through that entire MFA code procedure. Yesterday I applied for the MFA code and now I have to wait for 4 weeks (normal processing time + Nowruz). Then I will be in Erzurum, apply for the visa and hopefully enter Iran before I run out of visa days in Turkey. Fingers crossend.

    • Hey Flo, Thanks a lot for commenting! 4 weeks? That sounds terrible. Our fingers are crossed for you here at HHH and we would love you to keep us informed about your progress. Iran is a fantastic country and we will be sad to leave it in 4 days. If only they didn’t make it so hard to get here.

  • Noooooooo… I’m just arrive to trabzon for get my visa and i didn’t know for this f*** new rules… And my turquey visa expire in 10 days :( Do you have some suggestions ?

    • Hey Nil! Sorry to hear that! In your shoes, I would contact a travel agent as soon as possible to sort out the code (Elnaz from Yadman Persia is the best one in our opinion – elnaz.gohari(AT)yadmantravel(DOT)ir). Ask them how long they think it would take for the code to arrive and add 2-3 days for the code to be visible in the Trabzon consulate’s computer system. You can go for a little trip to Georgia (it has a liberal visa policy and the visa is free for Europeans up to 90 days) while you are waiting for the code. The country is amazing and you wouldn’t regret it. While in Georgia you can apply for another Turkish visa. Hope this helps and we have our fingers crossed for you!

      • Hi, thanks for your answer :) Finally I decided to go back to my home after this amazing trip of 7 months on the road. It was the time for me :) but it’s sure than I will come back one day for visit Iran and Georgia!

  • Short report from Erzurum: Once you have the MFA code it’s pretty straight forward! The consulate is on Emniyet sk in central Erzurum. From the city center walk down Cumhuriyet cad. and take the road inbetween Polis Evi and PTT (post office) to your left. Walk up the street for about 2-3 minutes and you will see the consulate on your left (the address on Google Maps is terribly wrong because the consulate moved about two years ago). Opening times are 08:30 – 11:30 and 14:30 – 16:00 from Monday to Friday. Go there in the morning and you can pick up your visa in the afternoon or one day later. For German citizens it’s 50 EUR (next day) or 75 EUR (same day). They will send you to Ziraat Bank on Cumhuriyet cad. to pay the visa fee. In case you are not in Erzurum, you can call the consulate (+90 4423159983) and ask them whether they have received your MFA code already.

  • This is a great and super-complete post! And I am malevolously happy to see that Ania looks as good as me in passport hijab (muahahaha). Wishing you smooth bureaucracies along the way!

  • Very useful information. I don’t know of many sites whom you can count on for that. The only thing is that I’m not sure I’d want to visit Iran. Now now, at any rate.

    • You should definitely travel to Iran! The country is completely different to how it is portrayed by Western media. It is probably the safest pace we have EVER been to and at no point we felt intimidated by its people. They are warm and hospitable and I would love to go there again, no doubt!

  • So … when are you going to spill the beans about how you got a visa for independent travel UK passports? ;-)
    We’re currently in Turkey and would love to travel through Iran but everything we’ve seen and heard says no unless we join a tour!

  • Hey guys, thanks for all this informations. I’m in Turkey now and think about how to get the Iran Visa and your page is really helpful. I wanna order the reference number, but I ‘m don’t know what i should write in the fields company, position and activity?
    Just “no”, finished my studies for this travel and have no company now, or could that be problematic?

    • We would advise you to put in the field company: the name of your university, position: student and activity: the name of the degree that you studied.

      You could also contact the travel company which you wan to organise your code with and explain your situation. Maybe they will be able to suggest the best solution.

      We hope that helps and good luck on getting your Iranian visa.

  • helo sir i need visa authorization code
    i from pakistan

  • hello !! thankyou for ther report! very well done!
    about the TRAVEL INSURANCE, do you really have to provide it?? I don’t have! How can I solve this problem?
    thankyou!

  • Hi !
    Thanks for your post. It’s great to have informations about that.
    We also write an article about the iranien visa but in Istanbul, because today, it is not necessary to go in Trabzon. They give the visa in one week also.
    http://amaotourdumonde.com/obtenir-visa-iranien-istanbul/
    Louise Amao recently posted…Obtenir le visa iranien à Istanbul et passer la frontière terrestreMy Profile

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