People, Travel

Travelers Dispute Claims Visas Issued in 5 Days

Travelers Dispute Claims Visas Issued in 5 DaysTravelers Dispute Claims Visas Issued in 5 Days

Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization insists that the process of issuing an Iranian visa will take no longer than five days, citing a statement by deputy foreign minister for consular, parliamentary and expatriates affairs.

During the first session of the National Coordinating Center for Tourism two weeks ago, Hassan Qashqavi had said Iran’s diplomatic missions issue visas in approximately five days, adding that the time will be reduced to 24 hours once the electronic visa scheme goes into effect by mid-September.

However, a large number of foreign travelers and tour operators say it normally takes Iranian embassies and consulates up to 10 working days to issue visas, ISNA reported. They cite bureaucratic hurdles as the main reason behind the slow process.

Dismissing the criticism, Morteza Rahmani Movahed, the tourism deputy at ICHHTO, said these cases are uncommon and cannot be generalized.

“Delays, as rare as they are, might occur due to administrative problems such as running out of stickers. As Mr. Qashqavi has stated, the process should not take more than five days,” he said.    

Movahed assured tour operators that they can contact his office in case of any difficulty or prolonged delays and “the matter will be pursued through the Foreign Ministry”.

The official stressed that the easiest way to obtain an Iranian visa is through Iran’s international airports.  

The Iranian government has been making efforts to facilitate travel to the country. It has already waived visa requirements for seven countries, namely Azerbaijan, Syria, Turkey, Georgia, Bolivia, Egypt and Lebanon, and is determined to increase the number to 28.

Also, citizens of all countries, except 10 countries (Colombia, Somalia, Britain, Canada, USA, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan) can obtain visa on arrival at Iranian airports.

The government plans to launch electronic visa for improving inbound travel. Electronic visas are issued faster and with greater precision and minimize the possibility of forgery.

While conventional visas are commonly a stamp endorsed in an applicant’s passport, an electronic visa is stored in a computer and is linked to the passport number and no label, sticker or stamp is placed in the passport before travel.