The government of Iraq has announced a plan to re-open of Kurdistan’s airports. Here is the official decree. The embargo has been in place since the self-run September 25, 2017 independence referendum in Kurdistan.
Federal control will be implemented at the airports which means no easy visa on arrival for many nationalities that was enjoyed while regional Kurdistan authorities ran the show. The statement mentions all border crossings, so those who have been using land borders for visa on arrival may soon have that access shut off.
Kurdistan24 reports on the conditions to be met within a week for this all to move forward. Assuming it does, the visa to Iraq is one of the more difficult in the world for most travelers to obtain:
Another statement released by [Prime Minister] Abadi’s media office on Tuesday contained additional details, stating that international flights can resume after conditions of the decree are met, “provided that this period shall not exceed the period of the week from its date.”
It also described a new government body that will be formed to oversee the management and security of airports in the Kurdistan Region, and that would report directly to Abadi’s office. The head of the body, called the Directorate for Special Protection of the Airports of the Kurdistan Region, must hold the rank of colonel or higher, and would be appointed by Iraq’s Interior Minister.
My Facebook group Every Passport Stamp is the place to go for travel news like this and to find travelers on the ground with real experience. We have one traveler who just took the bus in to Kurdistan with visa on a arrival a few days ago.
Kurdistan is a fantastic destination welcoming of travelers. I hope this doesn’t crush their tourist industry; the effects are likely severe.