Destinations Marathons

Bags In Hand – Where’s My Visa?

Passport photo
Written by Charlie

This is seriously cutting it close as I continue to wait, bags at the ready, for this big trip. Except one thing – where’s my visa?!


Well, right now, I am supposed to be on an airplane bound for Iran. This was to take part (as one of 28 Americans) in the inaugural Tehran Marathon this Friday. This was a marathon I signed up for months ago and submitted all the relevant paperwork for around that time. So, what’s missing?

Bags in Hand – Where’s My Visa?

Last Minute? Yep!

I knew it was going to be close. However, by “close” I thought I would be hearing of my application approval 2 weeks ago and then having to make the trips to the Iranian Embassy for the actual visa. I never thought close would mean having things ready to go and waiting to hear if I would be departing in an hour or so!

Where’s My Visa?!?!

Yet, that is where I found myself yesterday! The Iranian New Year celebration began two weeks ago and there is a period of 13 days after that in which many things continue to be closed. Apparently, that includes some parts of the ministry that handles visa applications. So, the agency handling the marathoners e-mailed me to tell me it might be last minute and they should know something yesterday (Monday).

Waiting…and waiting…and

I remember when I was a teenager with Juno and I was waiting for what I thought was an important e-mail – I would be hammering the Check Mail button over and over and over again. Yesterday, I reverted to that somewhat in the more modern age as I kept checking my iPhone Inbox app for any sign of a visa note. When none came, I began to dumpster dive through my spam and trash folders wondering if it accidentally went there or I inadvertently sent it there when I was doing something else. But, no – no answer had come.

So, I sent off an e-mail to the agency again and they replied today (the day I was supposed to be leaving) and said they are still working on it and will let me know when I get the invitation, if I get it. Except, that means I would still need it by 9am my time tomorrow so I can fly to Athens and get to the Embassy before they stop taking applicants and then fly to another airport and then Iran. Yes, that is a lot to have happen and, believe it or not, flights keep getting more full each passing moment.

And that brings me back to the start – bags in hand, just waiting for my visa. But, I feel at this point that it will not be coming. Oh well, it would have been interesting! I just feel bad for the other 20+ Americans, most of whom probably had plans to fly from the US and now are also waiting in this visa limbo state.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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