IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Iraq has announced changes to entry procedures for foreign nationals.
What does the change mean? Under the new rules, foreign nationals must complete mandatory blood tests and have them authenticated before traveling to Iraq. They will then apply for a multi-entry/exit visa (MEEV) at the airport upon arrival, rather than at a Ministry of Interior office.
Additional information: Under the old rules, foreign nationals would (1) enter Iraq on a letter of authorization, or LOA (often called an EVAM for military contractors), (2) obtain a multi-entry visa (MEV) at the airport, (3) complete mandatory blood tests, and (4) obtain an MEEV at the Ministry of the Interior. Authorities recently announced changes to the rules, however, that will require foreign nationals to (1) complete blood tests in their country of residence, (2) have their blood test authenticated at the Iraqi Embassy; (3) travel to Iraq on a valid LOA and (4) obtain an MEEV at the airport upon entry. Travelers will no longer obtain an MEV at the airport and will not be required to visit the Ministry of Interior to obtain/activate an MEEV.
For nationals of most countries, the required blood work involves being tested for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C. Nationals of these countries must also obtain a malaria test.
The procedures for obtaining an MEEV at the airport will involve completing an application that is partially in English and partially in Arabic. Travelers must also be prepared to provide visa application fees using U.S. dollars (cash), though the exact amount of the fees is not known at this point.
Analysis & Comments: The changes will add to the time it takes for foreign nationals to prepare for travel to Iraq. Immigration providers may be able to coordinate “meet and greet” services to help foreign nationals prepare and review their visa applications at Baghdad International Airport or Al-Asad. Some points remain unclear at this point, including when the new requirements will be enforced and how much fees will be for obtaining an MEEV at the airport. Those with urgent travel needs who have not completed blood tests should contact their immigration provider to discuss the options available to them at this time.
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