visas – Reference number of invitation before booking a flight to iran

The reference number you’re referring to, is issued by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to visa applicants.

It is mandatory to get one prior to being issued a visa, but you do not need one to book a flight, or even to board your flight. The airline generally will not look for it, since they will see in Timatic that you are eligible for a visa on arrival.

It’s not mandatory to have a reference number if you wish to obtain a visa on arrival, but it will make the visa-on-arrival process much faster if you have a reference number.

Note that visas on arrival can only be obtained at the major airports in Iran. You can’t obtain a visa on arrival if you enter via land, and will need a regular visa in this case.