Updated December 2014
NGO international staff can apply for visa:
1) From outside the country: Through one of the Iraqi Embassies abroad, as Ambassadors have the authority to grant a visit visa. This works on irregular/ad-hoc bases especially if you still do not have operations inside Iraq.
2) From inside the country: Through the NGO Directorate and Residency Department. This works when you start operations inside Iraq.
Applying for visa from inside the country:
- NGOs first need to gain a registration certificate from the NGO Directorate according to the NGO Law No. 12 of 2010 to allow it to operate inside Iraq.
- You need an Iraqi sponsor (national staff or consultant) authorized in written to represent your NGO in both the NGO Directorate and the Residency Department.
- All applications and communication are in Arabic.
- Colored copies of passports and passport sized photos will be needed.
- International staff members' passports can not have an Israeli stamp and need to be valid for at least 6 months.
- You can apply for a visit visa, which is valid for three months. This works for HQ visitors, consultants, etc.
- You can apply for a multiple entry visa which is valid for three months in which your staff member can come in and out of the country multiple times.
- Currently 6 months – 1 year residencies are almost not possible to secure for NGO workers.
- All applications needs to be signed by the HoM/CD holder of PoA or a legal written authorization must be given to another staff member.
- A visa application letter request needs to be submitted first to the NGO Directorate using an NGO format letter, signed by the CD/HoM and stamped. Please find the template here.
- Info includes: Name, Passport number, Nationality, Address outside and inside Iraq, and Entry Point (name of airport) with passport copy.
- For new staff/arrivals you need to submit another letter to update the staff member info in the NGO directorate, this is done only once for every new staff member.
- The NGO Directorate internal procedures take maximum 10 working days.
- The NGO directorate official letter to the Residency Office takes maximum 5 working days.
- Your sponsor will prepare 4 files for each application including his/her national ID cards (Iraqi 4 official cards) and photo, expat passport copy and photo, registration letter, and sponsor authorization letter (annex 2) and Visa Application Form (annex 3).
- Your sponsor will visit the Residency Office and check in the mail office in the Internationals or Arabs section for the NGO Directorate letter.
- Then s/he will follow the internal procedures that can take 1 to 3 working days. Sponsor will sign assurance letter taking responsibility - along with the NGO - over the expat while in country. S/he will be issued a card for interviews.
- Sponsor on behalf of the expat will have two interviews with the National Intelligence and the National Information Agency (both have offices at the Residency department). Any of the two agencies could stop the visa process for security reasons.
- After the interviews receiving the Visit Visa usually take maximum 10 days, Multiple Entry Visas will take maximum 15 days. Meanwhile the sponsor will visit the office to follow up on the approval and get the approval letter when finished.
- Copies of the official letter will be sent through mail to inform the entry points (will take 2-3 days for Baghdad Airport, and 7 days for Basra or Najaf airports)
- Sponsor will send copy of the approval letter to the expat, expat needs to carry a copy of the letter with him. A visa sticker will also be stamped on the passport upon arrival at the airport.
- Expat will pay 82 USD at the airport for a visit visa and 202 USD for a multiple entry visa.
Notes: a new procedure was noticed recently in which airline companies do not accept the visa approval letter alone and require obtaining the visa sticker at the Iraqi Embassy ahead of travelling. This issue was faced recently with Dubai and Turkish airlines. This will cause 10 days delay until the residency and entry points are informed by the visa issuance from the Embassy.
- Sponsor on behalf of expat will need to visit Residency Office within 10 days of arrival to apply for single/multiple exit visa stamp which will allow the expat to travel out of the country. Original passport will be needed for a day or two to do that.
- Sponsor will request a letter for blood tests. Expats can do the blood test in Rusafa Side, in the Blood Center in Allwiya (Karada area) or in Karkh side, in the Blood Center in Salahiya area.
Updated December 2014