March 2017 Kaspars and I spent separately. He was hiking Annapurna circuit with a small group of people, whereas I – went to Turkey, to volunteer in a guesthouse on the Lycian Way. And a little bit more than 1 month before departure we were searching for cheap flights. The cheaper, the better!
We succeeded to find them, although my flight (from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul and then to Antalya) seemed like not really a good option. I found this flight on kiwi.com. In fact it even wasn’t a connected flight. Instead three separate flights with low cost airlines – AirAsia X and Pegasus – were offered. And then there was mentioned that baggage must be collected and rechecked at Tehran Airport.
Wait, in Tehran? That’s Iran, and we, Latvians, need a visa for Iran. Hmm.
Flights are not connected. Baggage must be collected and rechecked. I can get my boarding pass for the last 2 flights only in Tehran. Needless to say, that knowing that, I had doubts… Do I need to book these flights or book more expensive connected flight? I didn’t want to end up paying for Iranian visa.
But then I googled and found a discussion on Tripadvisor. After reading all the answers (all of them were posted recently) I understood that one can transit through Tehran without a visa even though the flights aren’t connected.
How? According to some answers – after leaving the plane passengers go to a transit hall. There airport staff members collect passports, e-tickets and luggage stickers and then they head to check-in desk, where you and your luggage are checked in for your next flight out of Tehran by airport staff. It takes time, and mostly the passports and boarding passes are returned not long before the boarding time, like, an hour or so before the flight.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of information on other pages, so I decided to rely on the answers in Tripadvisor and booked my tickets via kiwi.com.
The departure date drew closer, and I was a little bit worried, but in the end it turned out very well.
I had no problems with transit through Tehran without a visa. I was traveling with one carry on backpack only.
How to Transit Through Tehran Without a Visa? My Experience
In Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA 2) at the gate during the boarding I was asked by airport staff if I am going to Iran or just transiting. I explained what is my final destination and that I am only going to transit through Tehran. At first they were claiming that I need a visa for that. So I explained that before I booked my ticket I found out about other people experience on transiting Tehran without a visa on Tripadvisor. And according to what I have read one doesn’t need a visa if he or she is transiting through Tehran Airport and has a confirmed e-ticket.
A call was made and I was allowed on the plane. They stamped my boarding card with a “TRANSIT” stamp.
After an eight hour-long flight from Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, I landed in Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA). I left the plane and followed the signs (and other people). After a couple of minutes of walking I saw one of the airport personnel approaching the people, who were walking in front of me and asked if they want to transit through Tehran Airport. Their reply was affirmative. Then I understood, that I am not the only one and so I was relieved and happy.
After a rather short walk down the corridor we arrived in the hall where Visa on Arrival is issued.
Opposite Visa on Arrival booth was a Transit booth. Quite a lot of people were standing around it holding their passports and, by the look of it, printed e-tickets with luggage stickers. And there were several people who arrived after me.
First those who had a Pegasus flight to Baku were asked to submit their documents because their flight was to depart quite soon, less than in two hours or so.
Then others followed.
Quite soon we, who had a Pegasus flight to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, were asked to submit our passports, e-tickets (not boarding passes, since the online check-in is not possible) and luggage stickers. I was the first to submit the documents. As I mentioned before, I didn’t have checked luggage, so I needed to provide only my passport and confirmed e-ticket, which was sent to my e-mail some days prior to departure.
The airport personnel took our documents and went to check-in desks to check us in for our flights and check in our luggage.
My layover in Tehran Airport was five hours long. And I waited for about four hours until I got back my documents – passport and boarding pass. I still had one hour until the boarding started. Quickly I went up the escalator and got to the next floor. I went through the security check (short queues, luckily!) and proceeded to my gate. There was still some time left until the boarding.
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How to Transit Through Tehran Without a Visa: Bottom Line
All in all, it wasn’t that bad! In fact, it wasn’t bad at all! Just a bit (OK, 4 hours) of waiting and that’s it!
If I had had a boarding pass (or a connected flight), not just a confirmed e-ticket, I would be able to go to the gate straight away, without giving my passport and ticket confirmation to airport personnel to be checked-in.
Ah, and very important! Ladies MUST cover their hair with a shawl while in Iran (and even in the airport) all the time!
If you have some questions about transiting through Tehran Airport, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.