A guide to getting an Iran tourist visa in Islamabad, Pakistan. Includes information on necessary documents, how to get to the Iranian embassy, costs, and processing time.
Getting a visa for Iran in Islamabad, Pakistan isn’t necessarily difficult… but it requires some patience.
You have to collect several documents before heading to the embassy, and getting to the embassy is time-consuming: it’s located in the highly secured Diplomatic Enclave of Islamabad. Expect the process to take at least a week.
There is also an Iranian consulate in Iran that can issue tourist visas. But if you need to get your Iran visa in Islamabad, Pakistan, do read on!
What documents do I need to apply for an Iran tourist visa in Islamabad?
The first document you need is a visa application form. There are two ways you can apply for an application form for an Iran tourist visa:
- Apply via a tour operator
- Apply via Iran’s e-visa portal
If you’re a foreigner in Pakistan, or if you’ve already been to Iran before, you need to apply through a tour operator. The tour operator will apply on your behalf at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. If you apply via the e-visa portal, there’s a good chance you’ll be denied a visa.
I used and recommend 1stQuest for this service (use code LWP-QST for a 5% discount). You can go to their website and follow the steps. They will apply on your behalf in Tehran. Make sure to choose the Iran embassy in Islamabad as the pickup point for your visa. The process usually takes three working days, and costs around €19. You’ll be notified by email once the request has been granted.
Note: Citizens of the United States, the UK, and Canada always have to be part of a tour when visiting Iran.
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Apply for an Iran tourist visa through the e-visa portal
Pakistanis can use the e-visa portal to get their visa application form. Go to the e-visa portal of Iran. Down the page, there will be three options to choose from. Choose the tab Individual and travelers. To fill out the application you’ll need to following documents:
- A digital copy of your passport. The copy has to meet certain requirements, which you can find here.
- Résumé or Curriculum Vitae. Necessary for Pakistani applicants. Foreigners are rarely asked to provide this, so don’t bother unless specifically asked.
- Itinerary. The itinerary you provide doesn’t have to be followed.
- Digital passport photo. Has to meet certain requirements which you can find here.
Depending on your situation, additional documents might be asked. Generally the above should suffice.
The visa application form consists of the usual questions: name, date of birth, nationality, etc. Once the application form is finished, print out the confirmation and keep it in a folder with the other documents you’ll need to apply for an Iran tourist visa at the embassy in Islamabad.
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Other documents required to apply for an Iran visa in Islamabad
There are several other documents required in addition to the application form. Several of the below-mentioned documents are not normally required when applying for Iranian tourist visas in other countries, but foreigners applying in Islamabad must provide them.
- Copy of passport information page. Bring two copies.
- Copy of CNIC. Only for Pakistanis.
- Two passport size photos with white background
- Copy of Pakistan visa. If applicable.
- Copy of all other visas in passport. Only for foreigners applying at the Iranian embassy in Islamabad.
- Letter of intention. This is a letter signed by you briefly stating why you want a tourist visa, where you’re going, and how you’ll get around. Don’t mention using your own transportation (ex. car, motorbike). This will lead to the rejection of the visa. Say you’re using public transport. This is only for foreigners applying at the Iranian embassy in Islamabad.
- Proof of health insurance. Must be in English and should say it covers Iran.
Pakistani ladies who wish to travel to Iran alone also need an authorization letter from their father or husband. Sigh.
Getting to the Iranian embassy in Islamabad
The Iranian embassy in Islamabad is in the Diplomatic Enclave, meaning getting there is a pain.
You’re only allowed to enter the enclave using a special shuttle service. The shuttle service is located on 3rd Avenue, near the exit to Murree Road. The service is called Visa Seeker Shuttle Service on Google Maps. Getting there costs around 200 – 500 Rs from Islamabad with Uber or Careem. You’re not allowed to bring electronics into the enclave.
The shuttle terminal is hectic. In the morning, expect to stand in line for half an hour at the check-in counter. Here you’ll show your passport, hand over a copy of your passport, and tell the lady to which embassy you want to go. You’ll get a piece of paper to buy a ticket for the shuttle. You’ll also have to deposit your phone/electronics at the deposit booth, free of charge.
There are two types of shuttle bus: economy and executive. Economy costs 500 Rs, executive 1,000 Rs. The economy shuttle is a normal shuttle bus, while executive is a four-seater car. The shuttle driver will note which embassies to stop at and will plan his route accordingly. Once the shuttle leaves, it takes 10-20 minutes to reach the Iranian embassy.
Applying at the Iranian embassy in Islamabad
You won’t enter embassy grounds. Once you approach the gate, there are two small windows to the left and right. Knock on the left.
If you have all the documents described above, you should be given a payment slip. The Allied Bank where this must be paid (Google Maps) is a 5-10 minute walk away. Go to the main road next to the embassy, then go left. Go right at the end of the road and keep on walking until you see the Allied Bank on your right.
Visa fees must be paid in Pakistani rupees.
Cost of a tourist visa for Iran
- Schengen Nationalities: €50
- Australian/New Zealand: €100
- British: €180
- American: €60
- Canadian: €50
- Pakistani: €25
At the time of writing, €50 was 8,125 Rs.
Once you’ve paid and returned the pay slip to the Iranian embassy clerk, you’ll be told when to come back and how to check on your application.
The clerk might not be able to give you much information and will tell you to wait for a phone call. I suggest calling back three days after the day of the application to check on its status. I applied on Monday and received the visa on Thursday afternoon.
A note for foreigners
Foreigners will likely be told visa processing takes a minimum of two weeks. Luckily in my case, it didn’t take that long. However, the clerk at the Iranian embassy might tell you to keep your passport and wait for them to call you. I did this, and I ended up having to visit the embassy two more times before I had my visa. Once to deliver my passport, once to pick it up.
I suggest leaving your passport at the embassy even though the clerk says it’ll take two weeks. It probably won’t, since the ministry in Tehran already approved the application. Just make sure the clerk notes down your phone number so you can be contacted when processing is complete.
There you have it, a complete guide on how to apply for a tourist visa for Iran at the embassy in Islamabad. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.