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Old 03-20-2018, 04:30 PM
Potestas Potestas is offline
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Tehran Visa Question

I have a flight upcoming (business) that has a layover in Tehran, (I am an American citizen) is it possible to stay in the airport or would I need a visa to deplane? My layover is only 4 hours in length and I don't plan to leave the airport itself.
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:23 PM
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Why would they make you stay on the plane for a 4 hour layover?
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:50 PM
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Why would they make you stay on the plane for a 4 hour layover?
That's not the question.
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:54 PM
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From here, it appears you can get a transit visa at the airport for periods of less than 48 hours.

Quote:
Airport entry or Transit Visa
a - Airport Visa is issued at Mehrabad Airport for 72 hour for businessmen .
b - Airport Transit Visa is issued for 48 hours to the applicants who intend to transit through Iran.

Required document:
- Visa application forms to be completed at Mehrabad Airport
- Valid Passport, for at beast 6 months.
- 2 recent photos ( size 3x4cm)
- Visa fee
- Confirmed ticket to the third country for the applicants of 48 hour transit visa.
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:37 PM
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Do not travel to Iran due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.
There is a very high risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens in Iran, particularly U.S.-Iranian dual nationals.
Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. U.S.-Iranian dual nationals are particularly susceptible to arrest for these charges. Consular access to detained U.S. citizens is often denied.
Travel Advisory - 10 January 2018 - https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...-advisory.html

The advisory also tells you to have your will already drawn up and say your goodbyes to your family before you travel.

FWIW, don't get off the plane.

Post again when you get home.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
Travel Advisory - 10 January 2018 - https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...-advisory.html

The advisory also tells you to have your will already drawn up and say your goodbyes to your family before you travel.

FWIW, don't get off the plane.

Post again when you get home.
He may have to get off the aircraft, if the next leg of the journey is not on the same aircraft. Or, more prosaically, if they want to clean the aircraft.

He should be able to stay airside at the airport, in which event he may not have to produce his passport to anyone, or otherwise identify himself as a US citizen. (I'm assuming he'll be all checked in, and equipped with a boarding pass, for his onward connection.)

Of course, he'll almost certainly already have identified himself as a US citizen to the airline, so if the Iranian authorities are minded to know about US citizens transitting through Tehran, they do know. And if they are minded to arrest him, they can probably find him in the transit lounge and arrest him. And staying on the plane will not prevent them from doing that; in fact it's likely to make the task of finding him a bit easier.
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:35 PM
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You'll be fine. It will be exactly the same as a layover at any other international airport. No, you won't need a Visa of any kind since you are not leaving the airport.
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Old 03-22-2018, 05:25 AM
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Correct AFAIK (I have never been to Tehran!). If you are simply changing planes at the airport then you will stay airside and will not even be entering Iran, technically.

(Although strangely I ended up getting my passport checked and stamped at Beijing airport when I was transiting en route to Australia a few years ago. Didn't need a visa though.)

Here is a fairly recent page with some info on Tehran airport transfers: http://ankorpavift.com/blog/2017/05/...c-bring-towel/

Last edited by Colophon; 03-22-2018 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
Travel Advisory - 10 January 2018 - https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...-advisory.html

The advisory also tells you to have your will already drawn up and say your goodbyes to your family before you travel.

FWIW, don't get off the plane.

Post again when you get home.
Alarmist crap.

If you are not a prominent newsworthy critic of the regime, if you are not affiliated with any active resistance groups, if you are not meeting with opposition groups or taking pictures of sensitive facilities, etc. - you are just an ordinary foreigner going through the country. Just like every other non-democracy in the world...

If you are, why the heck would you go anywhere near the country?


When we visited Dubai and Egypt, our American friends (and a number of Canadians) said "aren't you worried about terrorists/bombs/getting shot/arrested??" It's a lot safer than driving the expressways of North America. Repressive regimes are only worried about their actual active enemies; and Dubai and Egypt are pretty low on that scale.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:31 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Alarmist crap.
Pretty much the way I've found 95% of travel advisories. Had I heeded them, I probably would never have left the comfort of my couch. I always take official travel advisories with a huge grain of salt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorjän
You'll be fine. It will be exactly the same as a layover at any other international airport. No, you won't need a Visa of any kind since you are not leaving the airport.
Well, that sort of depends on the airport set-up, doesn't it? Most international airports I've been to have a very specific area where you can hang out if you're in transit/waiting for another flight. I guess that doesn't contradict what you say, but you may be very limited as to what part of the airport you can hang out in. I have no idea how Tehran's airport is set up.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorjän View Post
You'll be fine. It will be exactly the same as a layover at any other international airport. No, you won't need a Visa of any kind since you are not leaving the airport.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Correct AFAIK (I have never been to Tehran!). If you are simply changing planes at the airport then you will stay airside and will not even be entering Iran, technically.
Unless you are a US citizen and speaking from personal experience, this may not be correct. Even in the US, non-US citizens may need a transit visa just to pass through the airport, even if they do not leave it. (It used to be possible to stay in an "in-transit" lounge when transiting the US between foreign destinations, but in my experience now everyone including US citizens has to pass through immigration and security even if merely transiting.)


Quote:
Here is a fairly recent page with some info on Tehran airport transfers: http://ankorpavift.com/blog/2017/05/...c-bring-towel/
That was written by a Swedish couple. Given the state of US-Iranian relations, I don't think a US citizen could rely getting the same treatment.


In short, I wouldn't rely on the experience at other international airports to apply to a US citizen transiting Tehran. Best to check in advance.

Last edited by Colibri; 03-22-2018 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 03-22-2018, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Unless you are a US citizen and speaking from personal experience, this may not be correct. Even in the US, non-US citizens may need a transit visa just to pass through the airport, even if they do not leave it. (It used to be possible to stay in an "in-transit" lounge when transiting the US between foreign destinations, but in my experience now everyone including US citizens has to pass through immigration and security even if merely transiting.)




That was written by a Swedish couple. Given the state of US-Iranian relations, I don't think a US citizen could rely getting the same treatment.


In short, I wouldn't rely on the experience at other international airports to apply to a US citizen transiting Tehran. Best to check in advance.
Right, visa requirements are very dependent on the exact circumstances, most particularly the citizenship and residency of the traveler.

In some cases a visa is required even for a transiting passenger. As said, best to make sure in advance.

Airlines use a program called Timatic to check visa requirements to see if they can allow passengers to board. It compiles all visa/passport etc. entry requirements for all countries into one huge database.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
Travel Advisory - 10 January 2018 - https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...-advisory.html

The advisory also tells you to have your will already drawn up and say your goodbyes to your family before you travel.

FWIW, don't get off the plane.

Post again when you get home.
I have been to Iran twice for lengthy trips all over the country. You'll have no issues as long as you are allowed to board at your origin. PS: I'm American.

Last edited by Desert Nomad; 03-22-2018 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Unless you are a US citizen and speaking from personal experience, this may not be correct. Even in the US, non-US citizens may need a transit visa just to pass through the airport, even if they do not leave it. (It used to be possible to stay in an "in-transit" lounge when transiting the US between foreign destinations, but in my experience now everyone including US citizens has to pass through immigration and security even if merely transiting.)
...
.
The USA differs from the rest of the world in a number of ways. On my most recent trips if I recall correctly - Dubai, Istanbul, and Addis Ababa had areas where you did not even see a customs officer if you were arriving from a foreign country and departing on a connection to another foreign country. I believe the same applied to Frankfurt, except they diverted our plane to a distant parking spot and the police checked everyone's ID as they got off the plane - but not a through check, not computer lookup or scanning involved, just checking our papers to see if the passport looked good and matched our face.

Canada to USA is a special case because US customs people are stationed in Canada and prescreen us; so we disgorge straight into domestic terminals down there. When we went to Australia via Hawaii from Vancouver, we didn't clear US customs in Vancouver; we had to get off the plane in Honolulu while it refueled, therefore had to go through US customs and into the general public area until we were allowed to reboard.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
It used to be possible to stay in an "in-transit" lounge when transiting the US between foreign destinations, but in my experience now everyone including US citizens has to pass through immigration and security even if merely transiting.
AFAIK most airports never had the lounges anyways. International-to-international has been such a tiny fraction of US airlines' business that it wouldn't make sense, at most airports, to build the necessary infrastructure even if it was legal to use. It would limit the number of international departures, because they'd only be able to leave from gates connected to the lounge, rather than any ordinary gate (most other countries have exit controls, so international departures are already segregated).

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-22-2018 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 03-23-2018, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
AFAIK most airports never had the lounges anyways. International-to-international has been such a tiny fraction of US airlines' business that it wouldn't make sense, at most airports, to build the necessary infrastructure even if it was legal to use. It would limit the number of international departures, because they'd only be able to leave from gates connected to the lounge, rather than any ordinary gate (most other countries have exit controls, so international departures are already segregated).
I suppose I should point out too that the USA does not (or did not?) have outbound customs check; so an airport configuration where people had already "cleared customs" outbound and those simply passing through who don't need to see customs - was not a logical terminal configuration. you can come into (through security screening) and leave any US terminal without worrying about customs. They only check passengers of international flights as they arrive. So I guess it's simpler just to screen arrivals and let them join the general population AFAIK. Not sure what they do to ensure in-transit passengers do not become Not-in-transit...

Last edited by md2000; 03-23-2018 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 03-23-2018, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Not sure what they do to ensure in-transit passengers do not become Not-in-transit...
The same thing they do to ensure that tourists don't become non-tourists (make them go through the entry process that tourists and others go through). Obviously it's not foolproof.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 03-23-2018 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 03-23-2018, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
AFAIK most airports never had the lounges anyways. International-to-international has been such a tiny fraction of US airlines' business that it wouldn't make sense, at most airports, to build the necessary infrastructure even if it was legal to use. It would limit the number of international departures, because they'd only be able to leave from gates connected to the lounge, rather than any ordinary gate (most other countries have exit controls, so international departures are already segregated).
IIRC I used the "in-transit" lounge a few times in Miami on trips between Panama and Europe or Africa. But this was before 9/11.

In most US airports you not only have to pass through immigration and security when in transit between international destination, you also have to retrieve your luggage and pass through customs. You can't check it through to your final destination. I was told that most US airports don't have secure storage facilities where luggage can be stored between flights. If transiting through a few airports that have such facilities (I think Miami is one) you can check it through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suranyi
Right, visa requirements are very dependent on the exact circumstances, most particularly the citizenship and residency of the traveler.
As a US citizen residing in Panama, sometimes I get hassled by the airlines when returning to Panama because I don't have a return ticket back to the US! I can't check in on-line, but have to see an agent in order check in and show them my resident visa.

Last edited by Colibri; 03-23-2018 at 11:20 AM.
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