My partner and I are planning a large trip through India, China and Central Asia, finishing in Iran in July. The visa issues are involved, but we are making progress. I wanted to know if you could help with clarifying how long an Iranian visa "lasts" - as I understand it, once you get the visa in your passport, you have 90 days to enter the country and then can be there for a further 30 days (or however long you get the visa for). Is this correct?
Yes that is correct, once you get the visa in your passport, you have 90 days to enter the country. For the visa to Iran you have three ways:
1. Fill in the visa form on Iran visa application, it takes about 3-7 working days to get your reference number and two working days to collect your visa at the embassy by direct referral or one working week by posting the docs to the embassy. You can pay the visa fee in cash in Iran.
2. Fly to Iran and get a 30-day on arrival visa at the airport. This kind of visa is issued for 98 nationalities excluding USA, England, Canada, Colombia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Somalia. If your nationality is among the countries authorized to get it, you can easily collect you visa against offering your passport, a passport-size photo and about10-150€(depends on the nationality) to the staff at the airport. There is no need to fill in any form beforehand.
3. Refer to the Iranian embassy in your country and ask for a visa to be issued for you. Usually this way takes longer time about 30 days.