People, Travel

ICHHTO Seeking Visa Waiver to Boost Tourism

ICHHTO Seeking Visa Waiver to Boost TourismICHHTO Seeking Visa Waiver to Boost Tourism

Tourism deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Morteza Rahmani-Movahed expressed hopes that the visa waiver program will become operational before the Iranian New Year eve (March 21). The proposal, which was submitted to the government last year, has been delayed by over a year, ISNA reported.

On November 6, a special working group was given authorization by the government to determine the target countries, enforce the visa waiver regulations, and facilitate the issuance of tourist visas, for which ICHHTO was assigned responsibility. The ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of interior, ministry of information, and the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran were to introduce their plenipotentiaries to a working group.

The countries to be included in the visa waiver or visa facilitation policy were discussed. They were divided into three categories: those to be granted complete visa waiver; those whose official tours will be exempted from requiring a visa; and those whose visas will be fast-tracked.

Proposals included visa waivers for health tourists, waivers for certain countries, extending airport issued visas (visas on arrival) to more countries, waiving visa fees for tour-organizers, introduction of electronic visas, unilateral visa waiver, and extension of visa duration for visas on arrival.

“We insisted that the visa period on arrival be extended from two weeks to one month,” Rahmani Movahed said, while according to deputy foreign minister Hassan Qashqavi, the ministry of foreign affairs is prepared to reciprocally waive visas with any country.  

Ratification of each proposal by a government special commission may take one to six months to liaise and get the approval relevant organizations.