Monday, December 9th 2019 (misunderstanding or scam) or how to get Iranian visa in Trabzon, Turkey

Iran was on our visit list since the moment we started thinking of this trip. We had met a big amount of people who visited Iran and gave us very positive feedback about Iranian people, food and beauty of Iran.

The question is how do we get visas. After long research we listed two options: 1) pre-applicaiton via an agency and getting visas in Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara or Trabzon); or 2) getting them in Trabzon.

With the agency you have to fill in a form online and after receivinga message from them transfer visa fee to a designated bank account. Then an agency files an application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, and after 1-2 weeks you get a reference number. With this number and picture you go to a chosen consulate. Having read through a number of forum threads we chose Iranian Tours tour operator (, and filled in applications while we still were in Ukraine in July.

A confirmation message arrived with payment instructions – we were supposed to transfer 70EUR. We could transfer money either to an Iranian bank or a Turkish one. We chose the latter to avoid extra charges as we have a friend in Istanbul. We asked him in order to have the reference numbers by the time we arrive to Istanbul.

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We did not get any response and started being worried, and decided to check with the agency. Several days later we got a message from Sarah, employee of Iranian Tours ( It said that because we transferred money in Turkish Lira, they did not see the payment. Besides the transferred amount was added to a Turkish Lira bank account, which was reactivated, and the bank charged the agency 40TL for this reactivation. And now we were supposed to send 20EUR more. We were a bit shocked.

I answered that if money is sent to a EUR account the amount should have been converted into EUR, and asked Sarah to check with their bank. II was sure it was mistake on their side, and them to hurry up with the applications.

Soon we got an answer that the applications were registered and we should send the money. We were already tired of this communication and quite worried about the visa, and wrote back that we will pay the money.

The answer confused us again: she wrote that now they will have to re-register our applications at MFA and we willget our reference numbers only in September. First, it was too later, second she wrote in the previous message that the applications were already registered and we just need to send the money.

We did not know what to answer. Later without any confirmation from our side Sarah informed us that the applications had been processed and we will get the reference
numbers once we have completed the payment.

At this point we decided no to proceed with this agency due to big amount of discrepancies of outcoming information. Besides we were already in Trabzon, and just waited to go to the consulate. I also searched online for negative feedback about Iranian Tours tour operator and found some message of similar misunderstandings.

Monday morning came. We went to the consulate by 9:00, filled in two forms, applied pictures and got a paper with a bank account to pay our fees (Mara, Romanian – 75EUR; Alexey, Ukrainian – 90EUR). There were other people doing the same – a couple from Holland, three Japanese guys. By the way the fee for Japanese citizens is 60EUR, but they are required to take finger prints.

We were told to come back in 2 hours. Payment at a bank, breakfast and back to the consulate. I was asked to fill in some additional phones numbers and he we go – we got our Irainian visas!!! 

We were extremely happy, and very surprised at how fast and easy was the process. Came by 9:10, applied by 10:00, got visas in our passports by 12:30. It is probably the fastest visa I have ever got. I mean with a visit to a consulate, applications, etc.

Once out of the consulate we have written to the Iranian Tours tour operator that we are cancelling our applications and would like to get reimbursement of our money. The answer was that it was our mistake to send money in Turkish Lira, and that they have already applied for 1 visa, as money was enough only for one (contradicting to previous mails where it was said they applied for both visas). About two weeks later Mara got a message that her application was processed and she can get a reference number. We decided not to answer as we believe we have lost 70EUR. In any case we have our visas.

So for now i am not sure whether we got scammed or it was just a misunderstanding. But taking into account all the discrepancies in the communication I tend to think it has been a scam.

For people who are going to apply for an Iranian visa my recommendations would be:

1. If possible apply for a visa in Trabzon, even if you did not plan to go to Turkey. It is easy to reach Trabzon, almost everybody gets visa on arrival or visa free. Trabzon is not far from Iranian border.

2. If you use agency, make sure you make enough online research on agencies, check for possible problems with this agency.

Good luck and enjoy Iran.

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12 Comments on “ (misunderstanding or scam) or how to get Iranian visa in Trabzon, Turkey”

  1. Serious!! You put your real passport scans with all those numbers and info in internet!? You could blur lots of them. Be Careful!

    1. Thank you, Alizza. Sensitive info has been blurred from the beginning. Just dates of entry and validity left.

  2. I had quiet a same experience with iranianvisa. com, this person “Sarah” was very rude and communicating with her was very difficult. I had to pay more money then written on their website and I waited for the code more then one months. It was really stressfull to work with them and this girl was really unpolite. I wouldnt take their service again. Even tought I got my authorization code for about 50 Euro.

    1. Lara, that is why i created this post, and tried to spread the word via Couchsurfing and LP thorn Tree forum, but LP forums deleted my posts, where other peeople confirmed that is a scam company. And turned out that LP provides cover up for that, as is one of the main recommended companies for visa. So what we could do is spread the word to help other people avoid this company.

      1. well , be careful, I am not sure if u know , but it is written in persian and some one like me understands it

  3. Don’t use!

    I used, even paid the additional expedition fee, but the service was so TERRIBLE it eventually forced us to cancel our trip.

    It took them days to reply to emails (note that the expedited procedure is advertised as max 5 working days), and even then there was no answer to the questions that were asked. The visa took much longer than even the ‘normal’ (i.e. not-expedited) procedure, and arrived so late we had to cancel our flights.

    If you want to go visit this beautiful country, make sure you start the visa procedure in time, and DO NOT USE IRANIANVISA!!


    1. Rudi
      I am sorry to hear you also had a bd experience. Please spread the word so that other travelers were warned about this scam.

  4. I am going to add my two cents worth, and yes, I agree that seem to be a pile of crap. It has now been around 5 days since first sending in my application and then was getting told today that I must confirm what service I would like. I had repeatedly said that I want the normal service. after the first few emails alarm bells started triggering about their competence. I am not risking an extra 25 euros or more with them to still go super slow, and to try and decode what ‘ Sarah ‘ is a actually trying to say in her emails. Below is the email that I received from her today after I had sent her three emails in the past 24 hours asking her to confirm that she has begun the process. I followed up to this response of hers basically telling her to stop trying to up sell me the urgent visa, and to confirm once again that I want the normal service, and please confirm you understand this-to which I have not received any further response. I wish I had come across your article about them before I had booked. I think I had seen them recommended on lp and trusted the info, is is now going to cause weeks of anxiety as I cycle through turkey towards Iran in hope!


    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    Also ,Please remember that Thu. and Fri. are weekend in Iran,so the process will be started from the first working days on 25 Jun. although your details have been already registered in the MFA’s system upon you sand also 24 Jun is

    public holidays in Iran and not working days ,so you can expect to get the code at least on 09 Jul. under normal process if there will not be any delays from the MFA,and then after you receive the code:

    It normally takes 5 working days for the consulate to receive the approval after the visa code is released to you.

    – It normally takes 5 working days for the consulate to issue your visa after you submit the passport to the consulate with the visa code.

    So in fact you can expect to get the visa about 23 Jul. – 28 Jul. for the minimum time without delays,although after the result our job is finished ,but we think to guide you if you want to come Iran soon.

    So, if you want to get your visa in time ,you need to switch to urgent process.

    So please advise so that we can send you the invoice.



    1. Hi Mark
      Sorry to hear about your experience with We have lost quite some money as well. That is why I created this post, and was sharing information on travel forums, Couchsurfing and Lonely Planet forum. I got confirmations from other people on LP forum. Unfortunately LP was deleting my post about as well as others’.
      You can read here

      I suggest you make a short post about it on your blog and spread the word among your readers, friends, and people you meet on the way.

      enjoy your trip and stay safe.


  5. Hi Tom,
    Sorry about your experience.
    yes, we should spread the word and warn other people from using the agency.

  6. Same here. 45 days waiting for the code.
    Waiting here in Armenia to cross the border. Ruin my travel plan.
    Ridiculous, some post before here copy an email from Sarah. Exactly the same email I received, seems like they are sending the same emails to everybody.
    Thanks for the post, I hope helps people in the future to dont use this company.

    1. Hi Fao, sorry to hear that. the only thing we can do is spread the word and warn other people.
      if you can, you should go to Trabzon, and get a visa there.
      Enjoy yr travels, and stay safe

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