Any foreign national who wishes to enter Iraq for leisure, employment, mass media, business, diplomatic function, investment, studies, permanent residency, etc. is required to obtain the necessary requirements and apply for a visa from the Iraqi Embassy or Consulate in their countries of current residence. A passport valid for a minimum of six (6) months since the date of visa issuance is also required.
The Iraqi Immigration Department and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for checking your passport, visa and other travel documents upon arrival. There are special provisions regarding foreigners entering the country. Officers will also ensure that you only stay within the time range allotted during approval of application. There are laws and statutes governing immigrants and visitors which should be followed properly.
For foreign nationals, you need to apply for a visa from the Iraq missions. Your application must have completed and updated documentation duly certified by authorities.
Amended Foreigners Residence Law No. (118), 1978 indicates the details and coverage of all foreign nationals visiting Iraq. The law manages and directs the entry, residence and departure of any foreigner in the country. The Director of Residence is responsible for making sure that all visiting individuals only remain in the given timeframe when their visas were issued. The Residence Officer is given the authority to implement the provisions of the Residence Law.
Foreigners are described as any individual who does not possess Iraqi citizenship or have Iraqi nationality. Expatriates citizens are described as any individual belonging to the Arab nation, but does not reside in an Arab state or holds the nationality of any Arab state.
Certification may be granted by the Residence Directorate based on the submitted application. Any threats or untoward activity toward the local or national security can lead to withdrawal of certification. Any foreigner residing in the Republic of Iraq can be subject to deportation or detention by the competent authority. This means the competent authority also has the right to expatriate or deport any foreigner who has illegally entered the country. According to the law, any foreigner should be prepared to present the residence document issued by a competent Iraqi authority, permitting residency in the country.
Visa Immigration Service
All foreign nationals are required to have passports valid for a minimum of six (6) months from the date of visa issuance. Visas for religious tourism purposes are yet to be issued at present. Visas for tourism are now present, but only under special provisions and certain circumstances. Nationals are advised to place their inquiries at the nearest Iraqi Embassy or Consulate.
At present, visa issuance is available to the following:
• Non-Iraqi spouses of Iraqi nationals are required to present documents proving such relationships.
• Students in Iraq are required to show documents certifying their admission or continuing studies in Iraq universities, educational institutes and schools.
• All official delegations from different nationals visiting Iraq.
• Truck drivers are required to show documents certifying their transport of products and goods to Iraq upon request by an official Iraqi company or authority with operations in Iraq.
• Diplomatic personnel and workers together with their families who have missions in Iraq including other Arab, regional and international Iraq-accredited groups.
• Journalists and public media personnel are required to submit the formal application.
• Businessmen and investors providing sufficient evidence of official invitations and relations with Iraqi authorities, or being introduced as such by ministries of foreign affairs in their country of residence. The chambers of commerce will also need to supply appropriate letters.
• Citizens of Coalition nations joining the multinational forces and other member countries of over 50 troops in the multinational force (UK, USA, Australia, Italy, Holland, South Korea, Japan and Poland). Exceptions are made for holders of service or diplomatic passports, official delegations and subcontractors who are not required entry visas
• NGO members provided that the official Iraqi authority submits a letter to the ministry of foreign affairs confirming its relation with such organizations.
Nationals should obtain a residency stamp at the main residency office in Baghdad for stays lasting more than ten (10) days. Valid qualifications or proof of employment, two (2) passport pictures and HIV test results are also required for presentation. Citizens of Arab origin will not be allowed to enter Iraq even if they are holders of a valid visa, except for journalists, holders of a diplomatic passport and nationals married to an Iraqi citizen. The full comprehensive list of nationals who are allowed entry visas are present in the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq. Passport and visa requirements are also subject to change within a short period of time.
Iraqi missions in H.K. of Jordan, Arab Syrian Republic, Egypt Arab Republic, Turkey, Lebanon, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kingdom of Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and France are authorized at present to issue Entry Visas.
Journalists and public media personnel after the submission of applications for visa through Iraqi missions abroad or the office of their respective news agency, satellite TV in Baghdad or newspaper should write a letter directed to the Press Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or MFA. The letter should state the name of the Iraqi mission abroad or Iraqi Embassy where their visas will be claimed. NGO’s also need to send a letter to the MFA indicating the purpose and all organizations, groups and relevant persons involved.
Subcontractors under companies working on the field-reconstruction of Iraq are not required Entry Visas, provided that the Iraq-accredited main contractor sends a note to Iraq’s Ministry of Interior plus a copy to MFA indicating the applicant’s name, main contracting company names, passport details, duration of stay in Iraq and Point of Entry (land or air).
Types of Visas
This is issued to foreign nationals who wish to enter Iraq for leisure, family gatherings, vacation and other personal reasons. Applicants may be provided with single or multiple entries. Holders are authorized to enter Iraq once in a span of three (3) months since the date of issuance and reside in the country for one (1) month. The holder should enter Iraq once within seven (7) days since the date of visa issuance and reside in the country for fifteen (15) days for religious purposes or visiting Holy “Atabat”. Extensions are available as well at a maximum period of thirty (30) days.
This is consent permitting foreign nationals to enter the territory of the Republic of Iraq. It is stamped on the passport by the Iraqi Consul, an authorized representative, or any party given responsibility to manage the interests of the Republic of Iraq.
This is consent given by the competent authority requiring foreign nationals to leave the territory of the Republic of Iraq upon maturity of validity indicated on the passport.
There are seven (7) types of Entry visas. These are:
• Ordinary Visa
• Transit Visa
• Non-Stop Transit Visa
• Political Visa
• Service Visa
• Visit or Tourism Visa
• Emergency Visa
The Ordinary Visa authorizes the holder to enter the country once in a span of three (3) months since the date of issuance. Maximum validity period is three (3) months.
The Transit Visa authorizes the holder to enter Iraq once in a span of three (3) months since the date of issuance. This is ideal for travelers passing through Iraq to reach their ultimate destination. Maximum validity period is seven (7) days.
The Non-Stop Transit Visa authorizes the holder to transit once through the territory of the Republic of Iraq under the guidance of the competent authority without stopping in a span of three (3) months since the date of issuance.
A Political Visa is issued based on instructions given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to implement the principle of reciprocal treatment.
A Service Visa is issued to holders of service passports based on instructions given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the discretion of the Ministry of Interior Affairs to implement the principle of reciprocal treatment. Emergency Visas are issued by the Residence Officer to a foreign national who arrives in Iraq to enter but does not have an Entry Visa. The Residence Officer needs to be advised immediately and convinced of the reasons why the foreigner failed to acquire the appropriate visa.
Types of Permits
The competent authority may issue a Residence Permit to foreigners for them to stay in Iraq for a period of time no longer than eight (8) years. Foreigners are then required the following:
• Fill out and submit the arrival form within fifteen (15) days since the date of arrival
• File an application to the Residence Directorate, after the residence period expires, given the visa by which entry has been permitted
• Granted a consent, extension for residence may be extended for one (1) year.
• One (1) month before the residence period expires, the foreigner may request for residence extension for another year
A work permit is granted to foreign nationals who have a pre-drawn employment contract with Iraq-based companies, provided that sufficient proof of transfer, position or employment is presented. The foreigner’s dependents may also be given residence permits and visas by filing together with the initial application or after approval.