In an important move to promote cultural exchange and promote tourism, the Islamic Republic of Iran has announced a visa waiver policy for Indian citizens, effective February 4, 2024.
If reports are to be believed, visa permits, which are part of a wider plan, have been extended to 33 countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico. Iranian authorities approved it in December. Ezzatollah Zarghami, Iran’s culture minister, said the aim was to promote tourism.
The visa waiver applies only to Indian citizens entering Iran by air and it is for travel purposes. Under the new law, ordinary passport holders can enter Iran without a visa once every six months, with a maximum stay of 15 days per visit. It is important to note that the 15 day deadline will not be extended.
For those who wish to travel there for purposes other than tourism, such as business or study, the standard visa application process is still valid. In addition, if Indian citizens plan to stay for a long time, make multiple entries within six months or require different types of visas, they should obtain the necessary visas from the Iranian embassy in India. This visa exemption is only for air travel, and people entering Iran via other modes of transportation may still be subject to visa requirements.
It is expected that the implementation of this visa waiver policy will strengthen people-to-people relations and promote tourism between Iran and India. Iran has seen a significant increase in foreign tourists, with an increase of 315% in 2022 compared to the previous year, attracting about 4.1 million tourists. Moslem Shojai, head of the foreign trade and tourism development office of the Ministry of Tourism of Iran, said that they saw a significant increase in the number of Indian tourists in 2023, as 31,000 Indians visited Iran in the first six months of the year. This is an increase of 25% compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
Many foreign visitors to Iran are involved in tourism, trade, health care and travel, planning to waive the visa as an important step to promote and promote travel between the two countries.