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Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
73 posts
64 reviews
Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

I am writing this to hopefully help anyone who is getting their Iranian visa at the Iranian consulate in London. It merely represents our experience, as of July 2018 so don’t take it as gospel, but I would imagine it’s pretty representative of the experience that most people would have. I am British, my wife is American.

The first thing to bear in mind is that you must already have your authorisation code from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. You WILL get turned away if you don't have this. Anyone who is British, American or Canadian must go on an organised tour anyway, so most tour companies will arrange this for you as part of their service. They’ll normally apply for the code a couple of months before your trip, and it normally arrives within 4 weeks (though ours only took a week and a half!).

Once you have your authorisation code, you should print this off, and take it to the consulate, along with a completed copy of the application form (available here: http://london.mfa.ir/index.aspx?fkeyid=&siteid=234&pageid=33953), your passport, two passport sized photos, the visa fee (GBP, cash only – for British Citizens it was £170, amazingly my wife who is American only had to pay £50!), and a self-addressed special delivery envelope for the return of your passport.

The Iranian consular section (where the visas are issued) is at a different address to the Iranian Embassy itself – it is at 50 Kensington Court, London, W8 5DD. They are only open for visa processing between 2pm and 5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You cannot book an appointment – you just have to turn up. I would strongly advise, based on my experience, that you aim to be there by 1:15pm at the latest: we arrived at 1:15pm and there were already 10 people ahead of us. By the time the consulate opened, shortly after 2pm, there were at least 50 people behind us. You will queue in the street, but people were generally pretty respectful of the queue and took their place in line.

When the consulate opens, a representative will appear with a roll of numbered tickets, according to your relative place in the queue. Even if you’re travelling together, each applicant must get a separate ticket – so my wife and I had to get two between us. You then go into a pretty small room, with a few seats (nowhere near enough for the amount of people), and wait for your number to be called: it will show up on an electronic display and it will be announced over a megaphone system. Ours was called about 2:45, so you can imagine how long it would have taken to see those at the back of the queue!

Once your number is called, you go to the first window (interestingly called “window 4” – though I only saw two windows), and someone will check all of your documents and take your fingerprints. They’ll give all of your documents back to you. Once this is done, you move to the next window and hand over your documents again, they’ll get checked again, you’ll hand over the visa fee in cash, and assuming all is ok, you will receive a receipt – and you’re done. You have to leave your passports with them, with the special delivery envelope. There was a sign inside the consulate saying that they stopped issuing same-day visas as of the 1st June 2018, but we went in mid-July and they still seemed to be issuing them, so bear this in mind – especially if your authorisation code comes through with not much time to spare! I think the same-day service costs an extra £80 per application but don’t quote me on this as we did the standard service.

Despite each member of your party needing separate numbered tickets upon entry, you can go to the windows together to have your visas processed. If you both / all reside at the same address, you can also get your passports sent back in one envelope, meaning you only pay the special delivery fee once (this was an extra £7).

They say that they’ll return the passports within a week – ours came back just 3 days later, with the visas stuck in the passports. And now we’re good to go! The consulate gives the appearance of being a little chaotic, but in reality, it was incredibly organised. The whole thing took about 2 hours, including the waiting time outside of the consulate before it opened.

Hope this is helpful – if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer based on our experience.

Alex.

21 replies to this topic
Kashan, Iran
Level Contributor
26 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Hi.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I am a tour guide; the information you presented will answer many of my clients' questions. Just out of curiosity, is there any possibility that you hire a guide instead of takjng a guided tour with an agrncy? Thank you again.

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
73 posts
64 reviews
2. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Hi, thanks but we have already booked a private tour and we leave in 2 weeks. Glad the info was helpful though.

Birmingham, United...
Level Contributor
72 posts
15 reviews
3. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

An update from September 2018 - I arrived at 1.15 and was 7th in the line which had assembled on the pavement on the other side of the road. Numbers had grown to around 20 when just before 2pm we were issued with our numbered tickets & let into the basement processing room. Fee for UK passport holders was £165 with return postage envelopes available @ £7.

Left the building at 2.25

Level Contributor
33 posts
4. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Hi Alex,

Your information is very useful even for those who work in this field. So, must thank you for sharing it. :) I hope you choose Iran again as your travel destination.

Samameh

Birmingham, United...
Level Contributor
72 posts
15 reviews
5. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Further to 3 above - left my passport on Monday & it was returned by post today (Thursday).

Good service although rather expensive.

Level Contributor
55 posts
6. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Very comprehensive report! Well done!

Thank you very much!

Thank you very much for updates too!

Shiraz, Iran
Level Contributor
292 posts
9 reviews
7. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Hi Alex

Thanks for your great information, it was very helpful.

Isfahan Province...
Level Contributor
173 posts
26 reviews
8. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

hi there

tnx for sharing your experience

London, United...
Level Contributor
47 posts
46 reviews
9. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

Hi, I have used an agency to complete my visa application and have been advised my visa has been approved. I now have to go collect my visa, does anyone know if the visa collection queue is the same as the visa application queue?

Leicester, United...
Level Contributor
575 posts
1 review
10. Re: Getting an Iranian visa @ London consulate - our experience

I wish I had revised this post before going myself.

Same day visas still available.

Nobody took my fingerprints. Could that be because I'm a New Zealand citizen, not British?

The visa collection is upstairs. Visa application in the basement. The upstairs door was locked and I had to buzz in. There was no queue upstairs - there was a big sitting area and they called people forward by name to collect their visa.

Even though I arrived after 2pm (not by plan, due to transport SNAFUs), the queue wasn't too huge and was dispatched quickly. Interesting to talk to others waiting. I was sitting next to someone from Slemani.

Edited: 10:14 am, November 07, 2018
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