What is the change? The Ministry of Interior has announced that all multi-entry visas may only be used once to leave and re-enter Iraq. Foreign nationals who want to leave a second time must activate a multi-entry/exit visa with the ministry or obtain an exit visa.

What does the change mean? Expatriate personnel who depart Iraq a second time before activating their multi-entry/exit visa and without having obtained an exit visa from the ministry will have their visas canceled by passport control at Baghdad International Airport before leaving.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Multi-entry visas.
  • Who is affected: All expatriate personnel moving into and out of Iraq.
  • Impact on processing times: All foreign nationals holding a multi-entry visa who are leaving the country for a second time must either activate their multi-entry/exit visas or complete exit procedures if they choose to leave Iraq without obtaining a multi-entry/exit visa sticker.
  • Business impact: Expatriate personnel who leave on a multi-entry visa for a second time without an exit visa from the ministry will need to get a new letter of authorization to re-enter Iraq.
  • Next steps: Employers should identify personnel who will be moving into and out of Iraq multiple times and ensure that they activate their multi-entry/exit visa at the ministry.

Background: The multi-entry visa, or MEV, is issued at the airport and is valid for 15 days while the expatriate completes bloodwork and applies at the Ministry of Interior for a multi-entry/exit visa, or MEEV, which allows unlimited entries and exits for the visa’s duration.

Authorities have announced that the MEV allows the holder to leave and return to Iraq only once. If the foreign national wants to leave Iraq a second time and has not yet activated the MEEV, he or she must go to the ministry to complete exit visa procedures. If the expatriate then leaves with an exit visa in their passport, they may return and use the MEV once again; the MEV grants another 15-day period when the expatriate returns the second time.

BAL Analysis: In recent months, Iraqi authorities have made several changes to policies regarding entry and exit procedures for foreign nationals, and policies may continue to be unpredictable. Employers should carefully track personnel moving into and out of Iraq to avoid cancelation of multi-entry visas upon exit.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Iraq. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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