Iran to ease visa rules for Iraqi Kurdistan travelers

March 9, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran is to loosen travel restrictions for Iraqi Kurdistan travelers in the hope of boosting tourism by offering electronic visas instead of printed ones.

“Electronic visa will soon replace paper visas,” Iranian consul general in Erbil Morteza Ebadi said, ANA reported.

“Print copies of visas have been done away with, meaning that now we will no longer waste a passport page by sticking visas on them,” Ebadi told Rudaw on Friday. “Entrance and exit stamps will no longer exist,” he added.

Applicants would receive confirmation they have been granted a visa from the consulate in Erbil but nothing will be inserted into their passports, Ebadi explained. “They can also apply online,” he added.

Iran’s tourism department has announced it would end the practice of stamping visitors’ passports in a bid to save the industry while the United States ramps up efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.

Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization Director Ali-Asghar Mounesan, said in November that the government would introduce protectionist measures to support the tourism industry. Police and the Foreign Ministry backed the move to stop putting entry and exit stamps into visitors’ passports.

Some two million Iraqi nationals visited the country during the first seven months of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2018), constituting Iran’s largest source of tourists.

According to Iran’s tourism body, people of Iran’s neighboring countries were used to visit Iran for pilgrimage, trade and work but nowadays Iraqi and Azerbaijani nationals are mostly pursue medical services, a kind of tourism which usually fetches good income for the country.

AFM/MQ/MG

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