Over the years, Iran has become an increasingly popular destination for visitors eager to discover a land full of beauties. There are so many reasons to explore Iran and so many different attractions to seduce all types of travellers. Stunning mosques and palaces for architecture lovers, ancient sites such as Persepolis for those who want to wander through time, holy shrines, Sufi monasteries, Armenian churches for those who seek beauty in spirituality, lush green forests and massive rock formations in the desert for nature adventurers, etc.
Of course, like all countries in the world, visiting Iran requires in most cases applying for a visa. However, to facilitate the arrival of new visitors, regulations have been softened, establishing, for instance, Visa on Arrival (VoA) for 80 countries.
Moreover, some nationalities can enter Iran without a visa. Are you concerned by this exemption and what do you have to do if it's the case? Read the following article, to find it out.
There are currently 11 countries whose citizens can enter Iran freely, without requiring a visa, at the embassy, or on arrival, at the airport. The length of the stay varies from 15 days to 90 days, according to the country. The latest visa exemption has been offered to Omani citizens, since October 2018.
Here is the list of the countries whose nationals can benefit from visa exemption to visit Iran, with the maximum duration of their stay:
Nationals who benefit from visa exemption don't need anything particular to enter Iran. The only condition is to have a valid passport. No insurance is required for the duration of the trip.
Also, be careful that the passport must not be stamped from Israel, nor have an exit stamp at the Egyptian or Jordanian border crossing in or out of Israel. If it's the case, the entry on Iran's soil will be denied.
Citizens from the countries mentioned before, who which to stay more than the time allowed by their visa-free, are expected to require a visa at the Iranian embassy of their country or to check their eligibility to Visa on Arrival.
If you're not a national of one of the eleven countries with the exemption, there are however locations in Iran that you can access without a visa. They are Free-Trade Zones: places with specific custom regulations, intended to facilitate trade.
Iran currently has seven Free Zones: Kish Island, Qeshm Island, and Chabahar on the south coast of Iran; Aras, Anzali, and Maku in the northwest; and Arvand, in southwest Iran.
Located in the Persian Gulf, Kish and Qeshm Islands are the two biggest islands in Iran. They are stunning natural places which attract thousands of visitors each year. Qeshm Islands has extraordinary canyons, raw landscapes of rock formations, and picturesque villages. Kish Island has crystal clear waters and pristine sandy beaches while being particularly modern. These two destinations are popular among Iranians and foreigners, and also are proper for shopping, as prices inside the free-zone are cheaper than in the rest of the country.
Almost all non-Iranians citizens in the world can enter freely these areas without a visa, and stay for a duration of 14 days, with the possibility of extension. Only the citizens from the following countries have to require a visa for these areas: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, India, Iraq (except for Kish Island), Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States of America.
Nationals who are not eligible to the visa-free entrance and wish to go elsewhere than in a Free-Zone have to apply to a tourist visa at their embassy. They can apply to e-visa online and 80 nationalities have the possibility of requiring Visa on Arrival. The fees and duration of the visa slightly vary according to the nationalities.
For details about the visa requirements and procedures, read our article about How to Get Visa for Traveling to Iran (2019 Guide).
If you are a Canadian, British, or American citizen, you are subjected to specific visa requirements and need to apply through an official guide. For more information and to require our help, check out this article: Iran Visa for US, UK, CA Citizens, How to Apply?
Entering Iran and getting a visa when necessary is easy and can be done rapidly for most foreigners. Don't hesitate to contact us to help you and guide you through the procedure.