IRAQ: Reciprocal Travel Ban Rejected & Changes to Kurdistan Immigration Rules

February 10, 2017

Non-Implementation of Iraqi Parliament Resolution on Reciprocal Travel Ban

On 31st January 2017, the Iraqi Parliament approved a resolution to impose reciprocal measures on US nationals, following the US President’s Executive Order banning practically all Iraqis from entering the US for 90 days.

However, Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi has stated that his government continues to review alternative measures which would not harm Iraq’s national security interests. So far there has been no change to immigration procedures in federal Iraq.

Kurdistan Immigration Changes

On 5th February 2017, the Immigration Office of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced new instructions, valid until 15th May 2017, effectively preventing anyone from exiting Iraq via Kurdistan.

Specifically, anyone who requires an exit card to leave the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) must pay a penalty at the MOI Immigration Office and will receive a red stamp on his/her passport permanently banning them from entering Iraq.

An exit card may be required by those whose visa or iqama (residence permit) has expired, or who are transiting out of Iraq via Erbil (the capital of the KRG) with a valid Iraqi multiple entry exit visa (MEEV) or an expired Common Access Card (CAC – US military ID card).

Additionally, the following nationalities have been added to the list of those banned from entering the KRI without a valid KRG visa or iqama, even if they have a valid Iraqi MEEV:

  • Philippines
  • China
  • Sri Lanka
  • India
  • Syria
  • Nepal

Our advice

Foreign national personnel based in southern Iraq and requiring exit stamps are advised to transit out of Iraq via Baghdad, Najaf or Basra, rather than via Erbil.

For further advice and information regarding Iraqi immigration, please email us at [email protected].