By Marko Lukic.
Iraq’s once easy-going visa regime has tightened up, leading to protests from foreign ambassadors.
In early 2010, the visa process to enter Iraq was both liberal and easily accessible, taking only around 24 to 72 hours to go through the relevant procedures and paperwork. Officials were so flexible in fact, that expats who went home for the holidays without first obtaining a re-entry visa for their return were simply waived through, rather than being redirected all the way to Amman to obtain permission.
This easygoing attitude has since changed considerably. “Now everything is different, due to changes the Iraqi government has installed,” states Karoly Niklasz, Move One’s Operations Coordinator in Iraq.
Instead of the original five forms, now eight separate documents need to be filled out, two of which are in Arabic. Moreover, the administration process has been prolonged to at least 14 days. As of February 2011, Iraqi authorities have extended the process even further to a total of 21 days, which led to complaints by the US Embassy and has caused disagreements between the two countries.
“What makes the situation even more complicated is the fact that the Iraqi Government is demanding a billion dollars from the US for damages caused to Baghdad, claiming that everything is still surrounded by T-walls and that army convoys use public parks as through routes, etc,” said Karoly.
With seven offices located throughout Iraq, Move One employees have all the necessary documentation, work permits and visas needed to reside and operate legally within the country. Our extensive local knowledge of the region dates back to 2003 and has helped us build a successful track record in handling everything from small shipments to heavy, over-sized cargo for a variety of customers in the oil and gas industry as well as civil reconstruction.
For further information about our logistics services in Iraq and the Middle East, please contact Erik Hemphill, Move One’s Regional Manager at [email protected].