How to get an Iranian visa in Trabzon (2015)
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.
Visa policy of Iran
ⓐ No visa – 90 days
Citizens of the following 7 countries can visit Uzbekistan without a visa:
ⓑ 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
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.
written by: Ania