Currently, only certain categories of persons (Syrians) are granted a 30-day entry visa to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) at Peshkhabur border crossing point, namely, those seeking family reunification with immediate family members, brides coming for marriage purposes, persons with serious medical conditions, traders, persons with embassy appointments in KRI and those transiting through Erbil airport.
Upon entering and during your stay in KR-I, please make sure that you have a valid visa or residency status throughout your stay.
If you wish to seek asylum while in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, please ensure that you initiate your asylum claim with UNHCR and apply for the Humanitarian Residency Permit while your visa/permit is still valid, otherwise you are likely to be subject to a fine depending on the number of days that you have exceeded your visa. You may be prevented from leaving the KR-I if you are unable to pay the fines before departing.
As an asylum seeker, holding a 30-day visit visa, registration with UNHCR alone will not be considered a legal residency in KR-I. You will still have to obtain a Humanitarian Residency Permit from the Residency Office in the location where you reside. Failure to do so may expose you to fines for overstaying your visa.
It is primarily your responsibility to ensure you have a valid visa, or a residency status during your stay in KRI. UNHCR will not request a waiver of payment of fines. UNHCR intervention will be based on needs only.
For Syrians who wish to voluntarily return to Syria
Should you voluntary decide to return to Syria, your temporary protection status in Iraq will end. You may accordingly face challenges if you later wish to return to Iraq. Reinstatement of the temporary protection status, in this case, may only be possible if a positive assessment is delivered by the national authorities following an individual interview conducted with you.
Please Note: You are entitled to receive counselling on whether or, not to return. Please ensure that you make your wishes clear to UNHCR and the Iraqi authorities.
- If you wish to voluntarily return to Syria and surrender your UNHCR certificate, please approach the Derabon Return Centre near Peshkhabur Border Crossing Point for processing and counselling. The centre and Peshkhabur Border Crossing Point are open on Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays from 09:00 am – 03:00 pm hrs.
- Please be aware that UNHCR does not promote or facilitate returns to Syria, all arrangements are voluntary and self-organized with the KRI authorities.
- If your visa has expired and you were not able to renew it, you are likely to be required to pay a fine to the Residency Directorate upon your departure from KR-I back to Syria, The amount of the fine is IQD 20,000 per day counting from the day your visa expires.
- If the departure is made within 10 days following your visa expiration date you will have to pay the fine at Peshkhabour Border Crossing Point. However, if your visa expiration exceeds 10 days, you will need to approach the KR-I Residency Office in Dohuk.
- If you are under 18 years old and on your own, please first approach UNHCR or a Child Protection actor (ACTED) who can provide you with counselling. If you are unsure of who to approach, you can approach the nearest UNHCR and partner community centre for information. Upon your departure from KRI, your asylum seeker/refugee status with UNHCR will be inactivated.