How to Travel to Iran Visa-Free in 2021

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Visit Iran without Visa

Iran is a beautiful land with climatic, geographical, cultural, and ethnic diversity. In addition, it is one of the oldest human habitats on Earth. Therefore, its attractions, from cultural and historical and natural sites to its friendly and hospitable people, are innumerable. Iran is also a paradise for food lovers.

The mentioned factors and many more have made Iran an increasingly popular destination worldwide and even very trendy among professional travelers today.

Of course,  like other countries, you usually need to obtain a visa to visit Iran. But, the Iran government has waived Iran visas for some nationalities or soften visa regulations to facilitate the arrival of visitors.

Now, the citizens of most countries can obtain an Iran visa on arrival (VOA), and the citizens of 14 countries are exempt from getting an Iran visa.

This blog explains how to travel to Iran visa-free and some tricks for entering Iran easier! If you have any questions about getting an Iran visa, please contact us.

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Which Nationalities Can Visit Iran Visa-Free?

According to the Iran Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) regulations, at the moment (2021), 14 nationalities can travel to Iran visa-free. It means that they can enter Iran without requiring any type of Iran visa.

The table below shows the nationalities who can visit Iran without obtaining a visa and the maximum duration of their visa-free stay.

Important notes:

  • If you are a citizen who can travel to Iran visa-free and wishes to stay for more than the permitted duration, you should obtain an Iran visa.
  • Syria passport holders cannot travel to Iran from another country; They have to come directly from Damascus Airport.
  • Citizens of these countries should have a valid passport with at least six-month validity to enter Iran.
Country The maximum duration of the visa-free stay Country The maximum duration of the visa-free stay
Armenia 90 days Azerbaijan 30 days
Bolivia 30 days China 21 days
Egypt 20 days Georgia 45 days
Hong Kong 21 days Macao 21 days
Lebanon 30 days Malaysia 15 days
Oman 30 days Syria 90 days
Turkey 90 days Venezuela 15 days
Country The maximum duration of the visa-free stay
Armenia
Syria
Turkey
90 days
Georgia 45 days
Azerbaijan
Bolivia
Lebanon
Oman
30 days
China
Hong Kong
Macao
21 days
Egypt 20 days
Malaysia
Venezuela
15 days

Entering the Free Trade Zones of Iran Visa-Free

If you’re not a citizen who is exempt from getting an Iran visa but prefer to visit Iran without visa-free, there is a wonderful option for you.

In Iran, there are areas called Free-Trade Zones in which you can enter without a visa. Free-Trade Zones are regions with different customs and entry regulations to facilitate trade. Besides, as you can see on the map above, these zones are located on Iran’s borders.

Free zones in Iran are as per below:

Zone Location
Kish Island southern coast
Qeshm Island southern coast
Chabahar Port Southeast
Arvand Southwest
Aras Northwest
Maku Northwest
Anzali Port Northwest

It is essential to note that, if for entering a free trade zone, you need to enter the Iran mainland, you should get a visa.

Among the mentioned free trade zones,  Kish Island and Qeshm Island are touristic, and there are frequent international flights to/from these islands. Accordingly, all tourists could enter these two islands directly and stay there for up to 14 days without getting an Iran visa.

But the question is, “Are these two small islands worth visit?” The answer is YES. Both islands are located in the beautiful Persian Gulf. Kish is a luxury island with gorgeous beaches, modern shopping centers, and historical tourist sites.

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While Qeshm Island, called “The Island of Seven Wonders,” houses a vast UNESCO Geopark, full of extraordinary natural features and historical monuments. Furthermore, the island is surrounded by smaller fantastic islands such as Hormoz, Hengam, Naz, and Larak.

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Entering Iran Mainland throught the Free Trade Zones

By the way, if you are eager to visit the Iran mainland, you will have an easy option that most travelers do not know!

You can apply for an Iran visa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Representative Office located in the free trade zones, get your visa and enter the country’s mainland.

For notice, the process of applying for an Iran tourist visa on Kish Island takes only one to two days.

Notably, Americans, Canadians, and the English can also enter Qeshm and Kish islands without obtaining an Iran visa. However, they need to have a licensed guide doing the process of their entry before entering and waiting for them upon arrival. Notably, they cannot get an Iran visa to the country’s mainland when they are in Kish or Qeshm.

Iran Visa on Arrival

Along with the visa-free countries, the nationals of most countries can visit Iran hassle-free, but how? The Iran government permits citizens of more than 80 countries to get an Iran visa on arrival. It means that they can apply for the visa online and then collect their visa stamp at the Iranian airport upon arrival. However, the citizens of the following countries cannot get the Iran visa on arrival:

US, England, Canada, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Somalia, Colombia, and Bangladesh.

The Difference Between Iran Visa on Arrival and Visa-Free Entry

Visa-free entry means that you can travel to Iran visa-free for a specified duration or in the other words without obtaining any visa. On the other hand, the visa on arrival (VOA) is a kind of visa collected at Iran airports. In the case of VOA, the traveler should pay the visa stamp fee at the airport.

Visiting Iran without Getting Your Passport Stamped

Some tourists are concerned about the Iran visa stamp and entry and exit stamps on their passport for the issues regarding their future visit to the US.

Accordingly, in recent years, another privilege that the Iran government offers to facilitate visiting Iran and the visitors’ peace of mind is “not to stamp their passports.” It means that, based on your request, the officer at Iran airport put visa, entry, and exit stamps on a separate piece of paper, not in your passport; Unless you are American, Canadian, or English. However, some Iranian embassies still put the visa stamp on your passport.

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