Visas are the worst, a no end of paperwork that slows us down constantly and costs us a lot of money (and we have just started) it is possible that we have started by the most complicated counties and that is why our head hurts so much, in any case, visa stuff is not so easy.
You can doy our Indian visa in your country of residence and the procedure is relatively easy, the problem is that the visa starts to run at the time when it is given to you so if you do one for 6 months and then you take 6 months to reach to India, by then you will no longer have a visa.
If you arrive by air you can opt for the electronic visa, much easier than the previous option. The problem is that we overland from Pakistan so the thing gets complicated, on the other hand, we could not make the visa at home or, as mentioned, when we arrived in India we would have less than a month to travel the country.
That said, the countries in our way before India are Iran and Pakistan, applying for the Indian visa from Pakistan is almost impossible because of the border conflicts that these two countries have with the Kashmir area, so the last option we left was Tehran.
Attention, this option is not for those who are in a hurry. It takes time, it is laborious and Tehran is not the best city in the world to “rest a few days” so keep in mind that in order to make it from here it takes time, some money and especially, patience.
What do you need to get your Indian visa in Tehran?
Passport with more than 6 months of validity and Iranian visa
Two passport size photographs (larger than Spanish)
A letter from your embassy in Tehran saying you intend to visit India.
Full visa application form.
Cash to pay the visa.
How do I get the embassy letter and what does it have to say?
This step is very simple, head to your embassy in Tehran. Foreign Embassies usually have endless queues around, so mention that you are a citizen to see if you can enter the back door. The procedure is less than 15 minutes.
The letter simply has to stipulate that you will go to India, your passport number and be sealed or signed by the embassy. Both in the case of Jesper (German) and in mine (Spanish) going and saying that we needed it to get the visa was enough.
In the case of the Spanish Embassy the procedure was free but in Jesper’s we paid 1.000.000 of rials (almost 30 €), consider some expenses.
As I told you the idea is to get out of there directly with the letter.
The form to fill
The form is the same for all cases, fill it online (make sure you have a scanned photo on your pc) and print it. It is very important that you include an address in Tehran (it may be your hotel) and an address in India. You can make a reservation in booking and cancel it at the last minute without problems.
They’re very particular when they ask you for the places to visit so the best, to save you a call for an “interview”, is to stipulate the itinerary as best you can. If you’re making a double-entry request, you have to justify why you want it. For example, you are going to Nepal and return to India. This does not need to be the LAST itinerary, once you are in the country they don’t really care. Make sure you do not include conflicted areas where you need a special permission to enter.
Once you have the letter, the form and all the papers DON’T go back to the Indian Embassy since the visas are not processed directly there. You need to reach the visa centre, (the data below). Attention, you can hardly see the office. Is just some stairs up with a guard in front of you.
Address: No 145, After Sohrevardi Cross, Beheshti St. Tehran, Iran
Metro: Shahid Beheshti, right in front of the metro.
Schedule: from 9 am to 13:00 pm
They will make copies of your passport themselves and they will charge you the amount that you, as a foreigner, will have to pay in cash.
The total amount will depend on your country and your type of visa. We requested a 6-Month Double-Entry Visa and it cost us a lot, about 3.500.000 rials per person.
Wait and stay tuned to your phone, if possible you have an Iranian sim car and number (you can buy one almost everywhere. If you have problems ask for help from someone by Couchsurfing) and your email. The girl at the visa centre will not tell you that it is possible to be called for an interview, we, for example, had no clue (we had a 9-day supposed delivery date and we went to the mountains having to come back in a hurry because of the interview request).
Timeline to request a visa:
April 17: we delivered papers
April 19: contacted us for the interview (April 23)
April 24: we went to the interview (we didn’t see the message in time and we met at the embassy first thing)
April 26: the date on which the visa was supposed to be ready
May 1: we were able to collect our visa
The Indian Embassy in Tehran needs approval from the Indian Embassy in your country, so the process will be delayed with almost all security. Call all the embassies and annoy as much as you can kindly asking them to hurry up with the paperwork, so you won’t have to stay in town forever.
If when they call you for the interview that it’s in 4 days try to move it closer, ask politely if you can go tomorrow or similar, they are usually are quite helpful.
Before going to pick the visa up and make a call to ask so you won’t miss the trip if it’s not ready. The collection is carried out at the same visa centre from 3 PM to 4 PM.
Other things to take into account.
In Iran, Friday is a holiday (followed by Saturday) so most embassies close both days. Try to get to the city before or do everything before those two days or you’ll stay stuck for two days without being able to avoid it.
Remember that you can’t take cash in Iran so you need to count enough cash for all the paperwork and the rest of your country trip.
Our visas cost 3.500.000 rials per person.
Good luck with the procedure!
This post is also available in: Spanish