On-arrival or at an embassy?
Applying for a visa is a costly and somewhat annoying part of travelling. It involves a lot of paperwork and a one might have to visit the embassy. In order to attract more visitors some countries allow visitors to apply for their visa upon arrival at the airport.
Supposedly Iran had introduced a visa-on-arrival programme several months before my trip. However, the information was very unclear. Some people said they could not get the visa on arrival and were send home. Consequently I decided to get my visa at the embassy.
The visa application procedure
I decided to apply approximately one month before my trip. Two months before my trip I looked up the application procedure. It seemed quite straightforward. Simply bring your passport and a photo to the embassy, fill in a form, pay 60 euros. If everything was in order they would send your passport to your home address.
As the time to apply come closer I decided to check the procedure again. The procedure had changed. Before heading to the embassy I had to fill in an online form. I uploaded my files (scan of passport and personal photo) and filled in the form. Consequently I received a number and barcode, which I had to take to the embassy. Easy enough right?
Helping out others
After arriving at the embassy applying is pretty straightforward. You take a number and then you wait in the waiting room until they call your number. I estimated I would have to wait about an hour. It turned out I was right and I did not have to spend my time doing nothing!
Many people arrived without the proper barcode, because the procedure had recently changed. The embassy had expected this and placed a laptop and a printer in the waiting room. I noticed some elder women were struggling with the laptop, thus I decided to lend a hand.
MS Paint saved the day
The women of course did not have a digital copy of their passport or personal photo. And the photocopier in the hallway was out of order. Regardless of my technological background I could not think of a solution straight away. After explaining this to the women I had an epiphany. I would take a photo using my phone and transfer them to the laptop. (I ended up leaving this USB cable for future use).
Unfortunately, the photos were too large and not the right ratio. After fiddling around with the photos in MS Paint the system finally accepted the photos! However, after filling in the rest of the form, the printer did not work….
Luckily a photo of the barcode sufficed. After editing a few more photos they called out my number. I handed in my documents and payed the required fee. I left the embassy, but not before the women thanked me greatly and gave me some advice for my trip.
My passport with the visa arrived in the mail only 2 days later.