IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Foreign nationals who overstay their visas are now required to obtain exit visas from the Ministry of Interior as a result of changes that were recently issued by the ministry. In addition, those who overstay now face escalating fines for each day they remain in Iraq after their visas expire.
What does the change mean? Effective immediately, foreign nationals who overstay their visas must obtain an exit visa from the Ministry of Interior, rather than at the airport. Penalties for overstaying visas have also increased; those with expired visas will be charged an initial levy of $80 plus $8 for each subsequent day after their visas expire. Fines will be capped at $4,000.
- Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Exit visas.
- Who is affected: Foreign nationals who overstay their visas in Iraq.
- Impact on processing times: The change adds to the time it takes to leave Iraq for those who overstay their visas because they will be required to visit the Ministry of Interior to obtain an exit visa.
Background: The changes described above were recently issued by the Ministry of Interior. Foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas now must visit the ministry and obtain an exit visa before departing. Exit visas are valid for 10 days, and foreign nationals who do not leave within that time frame will be required to obtain a new exit visa and pay a fine of $80 plus an additional $8 for each day after their exit visa expires. Exit visas issued after an initial exit visa has expired will be valid for five days, rather than 10.
BAL Analysis: The changes show that Iraq is growing more serious about foreign nationals who overstay their visas. Those who do overstay their visas will face increased fines and a more complicated exit process.