We can all agree arriving at a new airport can sometimes suck. Arriving in a new country can be a daunting process, especially when it’s a country like Iraq. But have no fear! Here is our guide to help you through your arrival into Baghdad.
For those of us that can get a visa on arrival at Baghdad International Airport, once you’ve got off the flight, follow the signs to immigration downstairs. Here you will see two lanes, one for Iraqis and one for others. Don’t go here.
Instead, look towards a small desk with a paper sign that says “visa”. There may or may not be an Iraqi border guard there. On the desk, there will be paper forms to fill out for the visa.
Fill this out and wait for the border guard to come back. They will then take your passport and the form and disappear.
This whole process will seem very chaotic and informal. Welcome to Iraq.
The time it takes for them to come back can vary wildly. We’ve heard of people taking 20 minutes and some others two hours! For most people, it will probably take around an hour. They will call out your name one by one at the small desk where you will go and pay. The price is advertised as USD 77 but if you don’t have the exact change they will charge you USD 80.
You must have cash for this part and USD is king here, although it is possible to pay in EUR and GBP, but you won't get a favourable rate.
Once you have that precious visa, head through to passport control and they will stamp you in.
Depending on the time you arrive you may be able to get a sim card at the airport. Zain is the company we usually go with, but you can explore the options. They have pretty good prices, with a sim card costing roughly $10 with plenty of data.
The only taxi you can get at the airport is a government taxi called ‘Mosafer’. This will cost you 50,000 IQD and you will pay at a small window when you drive out of the airport. They will accept USD and give you change in IQD if you don’t have local currency yet.
If you're on a tour, of cousre we can organise this beforehand so someone is waiting for you if you don't want to have to navigate this yourself when you arrive.
They will give you a receipt which you can show on your way back to Baghdad airport when departing which gives you a 10% discount on your next airport taxi.
And there you go! You’ve now successfully navigated Baghdad Airport and you have made it into Iraq!