Iran to Resume Issuing Tourist Visas

Nouraei & M. Mostafavi Law Offices – 13 October 2021-Tehran-Iran will resume issuing tourist visas and will allow travels to the country by land and air as of the coming November. The policy will be enforced as per an instruction by President Raeesi and after a 19-month visa and travel suspension, reported Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA).

The news was announced by Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Seyyed Ezatollah Zarghami on October 5 to mark the World Tourism Day.

Taking on Twitter, Zarghami wrote: “I thank the President for his wise and supportive position towards the tourism industry during a cabinet meeting on September 26, and his instruction to accelerate issuance of tourist visas. All governor generals have presented their plan on boosting tourism at the same meeting. This is very good.”

His deputy Ali Asghar Shalbafian told ISNA all relevant agencies have been notified of the presidential instruction.

Note 4 of Paragraph C included in the 86th Resolution of the National Corona Management Center, signed by Head of Presidential Office Gholam Hossein Ismaili, makes issuance of tourist visas for travelers across international borders “permissible” within the framework of Passenger Traffic Guidelines of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The mentioned document has been sent to all relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts as well as all border crossing checkpoints.

Paragraph C stresses that like regulations for air travels, all direct and indirect (group-individual) entry and exit of Iranian and foreign nationals from/to land borders shall be unrestricted as of October 1, 2021. Visitors must present a vaccine certificate, negative PCR test, and observe protocols and instructions approved by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

According to Note 1 of the same legal note, the resolution will not include direct and indirect travels from/to high-risk countries declared by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

Note 2 emphasizes: Shall there be any change in the epidemic situation in neighboring countries, requiring restriction or prohibition of passenger traffic, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, as the expert authority, will announce new measures and the necessary steps shall be taken by security, social and disciplinary organizations.

According to Note 3, in a bid to control spread of corona in the country, passenger traffic (individual-group) will start from the mentioned date (November 1) according to the priority given to the following land borders, considering the necessary facilities and infrastructure available in those border points:

  • Shalamcheh in Khuzestan province (Iraq)),
  • Mehran in Ilam province (Iraq),
  • Poldasht in West Azerbaijan province (Nakhichevan),
  • Parviz Khan in Kermanshah province (Iraq / Kurdistan region),
  • Tamerchin in West Azerbaijan province (Iraq),
  • Bazargan in West Azerbaijan province (Turkey),
  • Sarv in West Azerbaijan province (Turkey),
  • Bashmak in Kurdistan province (Iraq / Kurdistan Region),
  • Julfa in East Azerbaijan province (Nakhichevan),
  • Norduz in East Azerbaijan province (Armenia),
  • Bilesvar in Ardabil province (Republic of Azerbaijan),
  • Astara in Gilan province (Republic of Azerbaijan),
  • Dogharun in Khorasan Razavi province (Afghanistan),
  • Milk in Sistan and Baluchistan province (Afghanistan) and
  • Mirjavah in Sistan and Baluchistan province (Pakistan).

Note 5 terms movement of public and private vehicles as “unimpeded” from the mentioned date at the same borders, though travelers must observe all the health protocols of the Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Training.

Iran stopped issuing visas from April 2016 in the wake of the Corona virus outbreak in the country, suspension of most international flights and closure of its land borders, as per a ratification by the National Corona Management Center. This, however, excluded medical, business and study visas. The security, social and disciplinary committee at the National Corona Management Center had on several occasions in the past 19 months approved resuming issuance of Iranian tourist visas, but, according to tourism officials, the decision was opposed and vetoed by the Ministry of Health.

With an accelerated vaccination rate in Iran, President Raisi said recently that the country has reached a point where “instead of imposing new restrictions, we must decide and plan on removing the restrictions”.

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