Most expats will require a visa for Iraq, which should be applied for and arranged before any upcoming visit.
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
Foreigners often need to secure a visa before arriving in Iraq, although selected nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival. Those who need to apply beforehand can either do so at their closest Iraqi embassy or online via the government's E-Visa system. Visitor visas are valid for stays of up to 30 days.
Kurdistan has its own visa system, separate from that of Iraq. Again, certain nationalities are eligible for a visit visa on arrival here. Those who need to can make applications in advance via a Kurdistan Regional Government office. Representatives for the region are listed on its official government website. Kurdistan visit visas are valid for stays of up to 30 days.
Because the two visa systems are separate, expats should note that a visa for Iraq doesn't grant entry into Kurdistan, and vice versa.
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 work permit. The employer will act as a 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 and is usually renewable and valid for one year. Renewal papers should be submitted by the permit holder's employer at least a month in advance of expiry.
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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