South Africans: How To Get Your Visa On Arrival For Iran

South Africans: How To Get Your Visa On Arrival For Iran

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about 14 visa-free / visa on arrival destinations that South Africans can visit. It’s one of my most popular posts, but it also holds the title for the most controversial.

Why? Because I mentioned Iran. 

A few keyboard warriors decided to drag me on social media because Iran has a 30-day visa for South Africans that you have to apply for at the consulate. No one wanted to believe me that a visa on arrival for Iran existed.

So I did what any tech-savvy millennial would do, and I emailed the consulate for the final say in this argument. And it gives me great pleasure to let you know that I was right! South Africans visiting Iran for tourism purposes for 14 days or less can get a visa on arrival.

This is great news for South African passport holders. It means we have access to five countries (Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Iran), which are all right next to each other and don’t require offerings of dead trees. It’s basically the closest we are going to get to a Euro trip.

So if you find yourself heading that way, here’s everything you need to know about getting your visa on arrival for Iran!

Step 1: Fly into one of Iran’s Main Airports

To get the 14-day visa on arrival for Iran, you will need to fly into one of the following six airports in Iran:

  • Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport
  • Mehrabad International Airport
  • Mashhad International Airport
  • Shiraz International Airport
  • Tabriz International Airport
  • Isfahan International Airport

The overland borders do not offer the visa on arrival at the moment. So if you are planning on entering the country this way, you’ll need to apply in person at the Iranian consulate beforehand.

Step 2: Have Proof of Accommodation

At the visa on arrival for Iran immergration window, you will need to show proof of accommodation.

This can be tricky, as Iran is still an emerging tourism destination and not a lot of places have online booking facilities or are advertising on sites like

There are only six listed hotels on that site, and they all cost over an R 1,000 a night. So if you are a budget traveller, you’ll need to do some Googling to find cheaper digs for your stay in the country.

Or see if any of the hotels on Booking a free cancellation within a certain time frame as a way to get your proof of accommodation without blowing your entire budget.

South Africans: How To Get Your Visa On Arrival For Iran

Step 3: Pay The Visa On Arrival for Iran Fee

After receiving a piece of paper from the visa window that indicates how much your visa will cost, you’ll head to the bank window.

The visa on arrival costs is between EUR 60 – 70 (R900-R1,000) and is payable in cash.

Note: You can’t withdraw money from your banks in Iran. You need to have cash on you before you enter the country. While it is possible to pay for some things with credit cards, it’s not reliable as their acceptance changes a lot and the ATM’s only take local bank cards.

After paying for your visa, you’ll head back to the visa on arrival for Iran window. Hand in your passport and wait until it’s ready. Depending on how many people from your flight are also applying it can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.

Step 4: Buy Travel Insurance

The last step before you can leave the airport is to show proof of travel insurance. The policy needs to mention Iran specifically, or it won’t be accepted.

If you do arrive and don’t have the right kind of insurance or don’t have any at all, you can buy a policy at the airport.

The Iranian Foreign Visitor Insurance costs EUR 15 (R 230.00).

And that’s it!

While the visa on arrival for Iran is quite a pricey if you can afford it and you have the time I say go for it!

Besides you’ll get to avoid the ridiculous 30-day visa requirements that require an HIV, TB and Hepatitis tests not older than two weeks.

Apparently, your infected blood is okay for 14 days or less.

But besides that bullshit, Iran is an emerging destination that is still untouched from hordes of tourists. It’s a unique opportunity to explore this country’s culture, historic sites and natural beauty.

I hope this post will encourage you to visit this country and put an end to all those nay sayers harping on about this visa option being a unicorn for South Africans.

So see you in Iran? ?

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  1. Travelbug
    November 23, 2017 / 11:31 am

    Hi there, all embassy websites etc say we need visa prior to arrival? If this is not the case then this information is very handy!

    • lauren
      November 24, 2017 / 8:15 am

      Hey Tess,

      So it’s not on the embassy site. You can email them to confirm everything I’ve said in the article. I emailed the South African Iran embassy and that’s where I got all this information from.

  2. Rosie
    February 15, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    Thank you soo much…this has openned my eyes.
    Keep up the good work,I hope to tell a different story soon.?



    • lauren
      February 16, 2018 / 9:36 am

      Hope you have an amazing time in Iran!

  3. Sam
    March 25, 2018 / 11:06 am

    Hi there I’m a Capetonian, I read the blog and visited friends in Tehran using the 14 day visa, I’ve just returned and it’s been one of my most amazing holidays, I encourage all South Africans to visit, it’s extremely clean and safe and has phenomenal skiing resorts which can be accessed 7 months of the year.

    KInd Regards

    • lauren
      March 27, 2018 / 8:00 am

      That’s amazing Sam! I am so jealous you got to hit up Iran’s ski resorts! How much money did you use during your trip?

    • khalil
      July 11, 2018 / 8:05 am

      Hi Sam What was the cost for visa on arrival for South africans. Tried googling only tells of fee of western countries and not south african passports

      • lauren
        July 11, 2018 / 12:11 pm

        Hey Khalil!

        I’d recommend emailing the Iran embassy in South Africa so you get up to date visa costs 🙂

    • Fatima kay
      June 2, 2019 / 12:00 am

      Hi Sam,I always maintain Iran I a wonderful country.people r very helpful and kind and the safety aspect is is great.The food is good too.i normally visit Iran every two years.For S A passports it’s not costly at all why bother with Europe uk and the Americas when there so many fine countries in Asia Africa and South America to enjoy…hope South Africa gets better soon.enjoy every country has its own charm .
      Hope u have many more trips.jus been to Sikkim in India had an amazing plastic they wrap your veggies in banana leaves.very enviromentally well
      Best wishes

    • Virash
      June 30, 2019 / 9:35 pm

      Hi Sam my name is virash from Durban kindly advise for the 14 day Visa Blood Test is NOT NECESSARY Just making double sure as different sites saying different things regards Virash

      • lauren
        June 30, 2019 / 9:42 pm

        Hi! Please contact the Iranian consulate directly. They are really good with getting back to people and are the only ones that can give you up to date information.

        • LOIS GIBBS
          November 14, 2019 / 8:42 am

          Hi Lauren do you have the email address of the Iranian Consulate in Pretoria so that i can get written proof of the visa on arrival for south africans visiting Iran – i am taking a group to Iran in March 2020 and would love to be able to get a visa on arrival but will need clarity as to what the requirements are and proof so that i can hand to the airline taking us there – appreciate a phone number and email address as everything i find online is not accurate – thank you

  4. Elsa
    June 13, 2018 / 10:45 am

    I have been invited to Iran by a family I have met in Qatar. I have a signed invitation letter with address, tel nr and name. Will that be sufficient? I am also a bit worried about arriving on the first day of Eid. I hope all airport services are running. I need to get Visa on arrival.

    • lauren
      June 13, 2018 / 5:15 pm

      Hey Elsa!

      I’d recommend contacting the Iran consulate in SA. They are super helpful and reply to emails quickly 🙂

  5. nineninemvno
    December 18, 2019 / 4:33 pm

    I just returned from the most amazing, epic and life changing holiday in Iran.

    Visa on arrival fee is 82 Euro for SA passport holders, but Iran is a very affordable country to travel.
    Bring cash in Euros and I would recommend using Mahcard, a company that offers Iranian prepaid debit card designed for tourists. It is super convenient instead of carrying loads of Iranian Rial in cash.

    • lauren
      December 22, 2019 / 7:44 pm

      Thank you so much for the tip!

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