When I first trying to found out about Iran VOA process in Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) Tehran, I assume that it will be simple 4 step process, go get the form from the visa counter and then fill it, buy insurance, pay the visa, and then submit it back to the visa counter and wait. Yes, that indeed was the process. But no one told (or write) that actually there is no queuing line and passengers just swarming around the counter. A little bit chaotic.
Anyway, this is my note and a drawing about my experience getting Iran VOA. It might help other travelers. Or not. (I need to put a disclaimer because that was my first and only experience, so I don’t know if the absence of proper queuing line was a common practice or just only happened on that particular night I arrived).
Ok, take a look at my drawing. There are 4 steps you will go through: VOA counter, insurance counter, bank, and finally - of course - passport control.
Depends on whether you got off first or last from the plane, there will be lots of people gather in front of VOA counter behind the queuing pole. All you need to do is getting as close as you can to the ‘VOA guy’ to get his attention - raise your hand if needed - and tell him your nationality. (I screamed: Indonesia). Then the VOA guy asks you ‘EUR or USD?’ He is asking you what currency you will pay the visa fee in. I said EUR. Then he will do some writing in a scrap of paper ‘45’ and give it to you. So the visa fee for Indonesian nationality paid in EUR would be EUR 45. Bear in mind that it will be different depends on your nationality and currency used).
With that handwritten note he will also give you the visa form. It’s very simple with just a few to fill: first name, surname, father’s name, passport number, address and phone number of place you will be staying at least for your first night. (Together with a copy of return ticket to your country, you also need to have a printed document of your first night accommodation).
Go and buy travel insurance (USD 16 on October 2017).
Pay the visa fee in bank. The bank teller will check your passport to ensure your nationality. You will sign and have carbon copy of visa payment slip.
Go to the visa guy again, hands him your document (passport, completed visa form, and copy of visa payment slip, copy of return ticket and first night accommodation and your insurance).
That’s it. Then you wait. When your passport is ready, he will shout your surname or nationality. All of this process took 1 hour of my time. I was arrived at 11 PM and my passport with newly minted Iran visa was given back to me at 00.20 AM. There were around 30 people getting the VOA at that time, not too bad actually.
Finally, you go to the passport control as usual.
Final thought, Iran VOA process is simple. But the absence of queuing line and sudden arrival of passengers try to get the visa at the same time could be overwhelming and make you confused.
Step 1 and step 2 can be interchangeable. But you can’t do step 3 before you get confirmation from the visa guy the exact amount of your visa fee you have to pay (that handwritten notes in scrap of paper is really important).