What is the change? The Iraqi federal government has established new rules for foreign nationals who are late to file required visa “activation” and medical exams upon arrival in-country.

What does the change mean?  The grace period has been extended from seven days to 15 days for foreign nationals to activate their multi exit-entry visas, but the late penalties will apply per diem and can reach up to 5 million dinars (about US$4,200). Previously, a flat penalty of 100,000 dinars applied. Now, 100,000 dinars will be levied immediately after the 15-day deadline and 10,000 dinars per day thereafter, but not to exceed 5 million dinars.

  • Implementation time frame: The change took effect Nov. 27.
  • Visas/permits affected: Multi exit-entry visas.
  • Who is affected: Individuals applying for residence and work authorizations in Iraq, including for federal government work on a Department of State or Department of Defense-sponsored contract.
  • Business impact: Employers sending foreign workers to Iraq must ensure that the employee activates the multi-entry visa within the new grace period of 15 days after entry in order to avoid a fine and to allow the work permit application process to commence.

Background: Foreign nationals entering Iraq for work on a multiple-entry visa must complete “visa activation” procedures soon after arriving in Iraq by obtaining a multi exit-entry visa. Under the new policy, they will have 15 days from entry to present their passport with verified medical exam results (blood work for Hepatitis B and C and HIV) to the Ministry of Interior in order to obtain the multi exit-entry visa sticker. The sticker allows employees to exit and re-enter Iraq as many times as needed within the visa validity period.

BAL Analysis: Although the grace period has been lengthened, companies and foreign nationals are encouraged to apply for the multi exit-entry visa as soon as possible upon arrival to avoid penalties and delays to the work permit process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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