10 of the world’s hardest-to-get visas

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2. Iran

Iran visas have never been straightforward, but the process is now harder than ever. Before you start thinking about your visa application, you’ll need to get an authorisation code. This is really a pre-approval of your visa by Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), but it can take up to a month to get – and has to be applied for by an official Iranian travel agency in Tehran.

If you are from the UK, Canada or US, you’ll need to hire an MFA-approved guide for your trip and provide their details when you apply for your visa. Once you have your authorisation code, Iran now requires all visa applicants to apply at an Iranian Embassy in person and submit biometric data. With no Iranian Consulate in London for the timebeing, that’s quite a challenge if you’re living in the UK.

Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran (Shutterstock)

© Provided by Wanderlust Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran (Shutterstock)

Ladies, don’t forget to wear a headcover in your passport photo; if you don’t, your application will be rejected.

3. Russia

By introducing biometric applications, Russia made getting a visa a good deal harder. You have to go in person and submit your fingerprints and facial image when you apply – and for obvious reasons no agency can help you to do this! You’ll have to first find a visa centre or Embassy that will process your biometric application, and then secondly get yourself there and cross your fingers that the queue isn’t too big that day.

Red Square in Moscow, Russia (Shutterstock)

© Provided by Wanderlust Red Square in Moscow, Russia (Shutterstock)

Before you can start your visa application, you’ll need to get a Letter of Invitation for Russia, which must be issued by a travel agency that’s registered with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Be very careful filling out their online application form. One mistake – even a small one – can lead to delays or even rejection. Visa agencies like Visa Machine can help you with your invitation and application forms, so check them out if you feel you want a helping hand.

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