Foreign investment is expected to grow within Iraq in both the dominate oil field, as well as the non-oil sector of the economy, such as forestry, mining, energy, and agriculture. As foreign investment increases, the demand for reliable business travel information increases as well. Read through the following information to help navigate your business trip to Iraq.
To gain entry into Iraq, a visitor must have a visa. If a visitor travels or flies to Iraq without an entry or working visa, he/ she will be deported immediately. A visa can be purchased at most border crossings for $80 US. The Turkey/US border no longer charges for Visa-s, as of 2007. Crossing the border usually takes 1 hour for individual visitors. If a visitor needs to gain a Visa before entering, he/she must be prepared in advance for a long wait, and bring multiple documents to prove identification and reason for entering the country.
Letters on company or government letterhead are most accepted.
To obtain a Visa, one must be prepared for a long and complicated process. A Visa application may be obtained at the Embassy of Iraq. Applications are reviewed in Baghdad by officials. Even if you obtain a visa, you may be refused entry into Iraq. One must prepare as much ahead of time as possible and make sure to have many forms of identification and reason for entering the country.For foreign business people traveling to Iraq, a business visa is required, and can be applied for through the nearest Iraqi Consulate, located in major cities worldwide. In order to apply, individuals need to possess an official invitation from the Iraqi ministry, and/or a signed agreement between the United States government and the governing Iraqi authority.
A business letter, detailing the purpose of the trip, the individuals involved, as well as who is financially responsible for the individual applicant(s) is required. This letter can be generated through free services online.
Proof of departure, such as a purchased air ticket itinerary, is also necessary. Iraqi business visas are valid for 3 months. It typically takes between 3-4 weeks for a visa to be processed if it is approved.
Americans are recommended to register their trip with the US State Department, which can be accomplished online.
For more visa information, visit: www.Iraq.visa.com.
Iraq’s largest international airport is the Baghdad International Airport, located approximately 10 miles outside downtown Baghdad. It is the hub of Iraqi Airways and Al-Naser Airlines. Since 2010, more international airlines have started direct flights to and from Baghdad, making it easier for business people to arrive and depart from the country with ease. Airlines such as Emirates, EgyptAir, Qatar airlines, and Turkish airlines now have direct flights flying to Baghdad from nearby hubs including Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul and Dubai. Besides Baghdad, many international business people may also find themselves called to two other major cities that deal with trade and oil: Basra (southern Iraq) and Erbil (northern Kurdish territories). Both can be reached by vehicle or plane. For successful business travel in Iraq, it is above all important to have reliable contacts who can offer connections, networking and advise.
Ask any expat or native Iraqi, and all will say the same thing: The safest place to hold a business trip is in northern Iraq, in Kurdistan. This region has been safe for many years, and continues to attract Western and Eastern development partners. To read a full article on Security in Iraq, click here.
Iraqi accommodations are improving, with more hotels achieving Western standards of excellence. There is still much room for growth in the Iraqi Tourism sector. Many cities in Iraq are still without a Five Star Hotel. Here is a (growing) list of hotels by governorate located in Iraq. (listing is not an endorsement of services)
It is easiest and most controllable to travel Iraq by car. With approximately 45,000 kilometers of roadway, and only 7,000 kilometers of roadway unpaved, taxi services abound and are extremely affordable, even for individual travelers.
The most economical way to travel Iraq is by bus. A tourist can travel 70 miles from Baghdad by bus for only $4 USD. For one person traveling the same distance by car, the cost is roughly $40 USD. There are no rental cars available in Iraq.