Most governments advise their citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq because of the country's volatile security situation. Expats who move to Iraq usually do so for lucrative short-term employment contracts and, in this case, the employer takes responsibility for applying for a work permit.
Visitor visas for Iraq
Most foreigners need to secure a visa before arriving in Iraq. While a visa is required to enter the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, it can be obtained upon arrival, but it is not valid anywhere else in the country. Visas for Iraq can be applied for at the Iraqi embassy in the expat's home country. Travellers must be in possession of a passport valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry in Iraq.
Work permits for Iraq
Expats moving to Iraq to take up a job offer will have their employer carry the burden of applying for their visa. The employer will act as sponsor for the expat and will need to provide a motivational letter to the Iraq Ministry of Foreign affairs.
The work permit needs to be applied for before the expat arrives in Iraq. Work permits are usually issued for three months, after which they can be extended. Workers who plan to stay for longer than six months are advised to apply for a residency permit.
Exit visas for Iraq
Foreigners who remain in Iraq for more than 10 days will require an exit stamp to leave the country. The expat's sponsor, who is usually their employer, must apply for an exit visa through the Residency and Immigration Office. A letter stating the start and end date of employment in Iraq will be required.
►See Moving to Iraq for an overview of the country.
►For information about business culture, see Doing Business in Iraq.
Are you an expat living in Iraq?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Iraq. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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