Obtaining an Iranian Visa in Tbilisi, Georgia

Finding information about obtaining visas outside of your country of residence can sometimes be difficult so here is our account, as Australian citizens, of obtaining our 30 day Iranian tourists visas from Tbilisi, Georgia.

The first step was to apply for a Reference Number which we did via Key2Persia (www.key2persia.com) who we found recommended online by other travellers. After completing the online form including a rough itinerary of dates, cities and hotels we paid the EUR35 fee via bank transfer and waited the 10 days for the confirmation that our letter had arrived at the embassy. This email confirmation advised us to wait 2-3 days before approaching the embassy to ensure the paperwork had arrived.

Geometric patterns at the Shrine of Fatima in Qom

The Iranian Embassy in Tbilisi is located at 80 Chavchavadze Ave and is only open for visa applications and collections from 10am – 12pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday only. You will not be able to take a backpack inside but you can leave it with the security guard at the entrance. Despite numerous reports of bad attitudes within the embassy we found both the entrance security guard and the embassy staff member who helped us to be very friendly and helpful.

You will need to bring

  • Your passport
  • Two passport photos (note: women should wear a headscarf although a Spanish lady who applied at the same time as us was able to use the same photo as the one in her passport without a headscarf. Passport photos can be done easily at the Public Service Hall at 2 Zviad Gamsakhurdia Named Right Bank. There are a load of photo booths available)
  • Your Reference Number
  • Cash to pay the visa fee (at the time of writing the fee for Australian citizens was EUR100 per visa)
  • The name, address and phone number of the first hotel in which you will stay (ie the first hotel listed on your itinerary)
  • The name of the entry and exit points at which you will cross into/out of Iran

Street scene in Tabriz

Once the embassy staff have confirmed your Reference Number they will provide you with a visa form to be completed along with a bank slip with which to pay the fee. The TBC bank is a 15 minute walk or short minibus ride back towards the centre of town on the left hand side.

If paying in GEL it’s cheaper to exchange your GEL into EUR at a nearby exchange window than to exchange it at the bank (there’s a good one down a side street opposite the TBC bank). Once you have made the payment and completed the form you can return to the embassy where they will check through your forms and confirm when you should return to collect your visa. As we applied on a Friday and the embassy was closed until Monday, we were not able to return to collect our visa until the following Wednesday. Our Spanish friend however applied on a Tuesday and was able to collect her’s the next day. It will all depend on the workload of the embassy at the time.  Collecting the visa is very straightforward. We arrived at 10am, entered with a few other people who were waiting, sat down inside for five minutes and were presented with our passports and visas and welcomed to Iran.

The roof of the old bathhouse in Kashan

There is no need to actually make any hotel reservations or give an exact itinerary. We provided estimates of how many days per city only and the name of a popular hotel which we found via google search. It will be useful to keep a list of the hotels you’ve provided just incase you’re asked but during the entire visa application process as well as entering Iran we were not asked for this information once.

Hotel names we provided for our application were;

  • Tabriz – International Hotel Tabriz (you should ensure you bring the name, address and phone number of the first hotel you list on your itinerary as you will need this to complete the visa application form at the embassy)
  • Tehran – Tehran Hostel
  • Esfahan – Ibnesina Hostel
  • Shiraz – Niayesh Hostel
  • Yazd – Silk Road Hostel
  • Kerman – Aakharan Hotel
  • Mashad – Iran Hotel

You can always change your itinerary once you’re in the country and you are not bound to stay in the hotels listed on your application. The only thing which cannot be changed is your entry and exit dates which must be exact. You can then enter and leave within the boundary of these dates. Once inside Iran it is apparently quite easy to obtain a visa extension, however if you’re travelling the same way as us and have Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan visas to obtain which are also date specific this is not really an option.

Sleeping in an old caravansary in the desert outside Kashan

We hope you found this information of use if you’re intending to apply for your Iranian visa in Tbilisi. We can highly recommend Key2Persia for your Reference Number application, they answered all of our queries very quickly and were always friendly during the process.

Good luck and we hope you enjoy your time in Iran, it’s an amazing country, you’ll never feel so welcome in your life!

Smoking a water pipe in the old bathhouse turned tea house in Tabriz

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One response to “Obtaining an Iranian Visa in Tbilisi, Georgia

  1. Pingback: Tbilisi Take Two – Georgia | Si, con queso por favor·

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