IRAQ – Further Changes to Entry and Exit Rules
On 4 September 2018, Iraq’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) announced several important changes to the immigration rules.
A multi-entry visa (MEV) is issued at the airport on arrival, on presentation of a letter of approval (LOA), and allows the holder to undergo a blood test and to apply for a multi-entry/exit visa (MEEV) at the Ministry of Interior in Baghdad.
What are the changes?
1. Validity of Letter of Approval
An LOA must now be activated within 90 days of issuance, or it will be rejected at the MOI Baghdad or the MOI at Baghdad International Airport.
2. Penalty for Expiry of Multi-Entry/Exit Visa (MEEV)
The penalty for expiry of a MEEV is now IQD 500,000, regardless of the number of days past expiration and whether the holder has submitted a renewal or exit application.
3. Exit Sticker Application Timing
An exit sticker issued by MOI is valid for use within ten days of issuance. An exit sticker should not now be obtained more than ten days before expiration of the MEEV, otherwise the MEEV holder will be liable to pay the IQD 500,000 penalty for an expired MEEV.
4. Expired Passports
MOI Baghdad will no longer activate a MEEV in a new passport on the basis of an LOA, for someone with an expired passport and an expired MEEV. MOI Baghdad now requires that a MEV is first activated at Baghdad airport.
5. Blood Tests
The MOI is now rejecting results from blood tests taken in Erbil before an MEV sticker is obtained.
6. MEEV Renewals
A MEEV cannot now be renewed more than once unless the holder exits the country and re-enters, obtaining another MEV.
7. MEV/MEEV Fees
Fees for in-country renewal of MEEV are now as follows:
One year: USD 300; Three/Six months: USD 200.
MEV fees at Baghdad Airport are now as follows:
Multi-entry visa (one year): USD 152; Multi-entry visa (three/six months): USD 102; Emergency visa (one month): USD 102; Visit visa (one month): USD 52; Normal visa (two months): USD 52.
Employers and assignees who may be affected by these changes are advised to contact an immigration specialist.