IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Iraqi authorities have resumed issuance of exit visas at federal airports, but only for foreign nationals whose visas expired before Nov. 27, 2017.
What does the change mean? Foreign nationals with visas that expired before Nov. 27 may obtain an exit visa at federal airports in Baghdad, Basra or Najaf and leave Iraq upon paying a late fee of 500,000 dinars (about US$420). Those with visas that expired on or after Nov. 27 must apply for an exit visa at the Ministry of Interior Immigration Office in Baghdad. Foreign nationals with valid visas may leave Iraq without obtaining an exit visa.
- Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Single-entry visas, multiple-entry visas, multiple-entry/exit visas that expired before Nov. 27.
- Who is affected: Foreign nationals holding the visas listed above that expired before Nov. 27.
- Impact on processing times: The change will simplify procedures for foreign nationals holding visas that expired before Nov. 27.
Background: As BAL reported last month, Iraqi authorities recently changed procedures and increased the penalties for foreign nationals who overstay their visas. As a general rule, foreign nationals who overstay their visas now must visit the ministry and obtain an exit visa before departing. Authorities have now made an exception, however, for those holding visas that expired before Nov. 27.
BAL Analysis: Iraq is growing more serious about foreign nationals who overstay their visas. Those who do overstay them will face increased fines and a more complicated exit process, although the newly implemented exception will ease exit procedures for some foreign nationals.