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No visa needed; visitors can come by car, plane
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 5: The Iraqi Ambassador to Kuwait Al-Manhal Al-Safi revealed that residents of the Gulf countries are allowed to enter Iraq without a prior visa during the period of the 25th Gulf Championship that Iraq is hosting, which will start on Friday in the Iraqi province of Basra, reports Al-Nahar daily. He said, “Entry into Iraq, either through land or other vital ports, will be allowed after placing an entry stamp upon arrival. Anyone with a valid residency in the GCC countries, regardless of his nationality, can visit all Iraqi cities, including the religious cities. We hope that this measure, which was established only for the period of the championship, will prevail. It is an experiment that the Iraqi authorities are carrying out to build on later.”
Regarding Basra’s readiness to receive delegations, the ambassador said, “Indeed, Basra is ready in all aspects to receive the participating sports teams, guests, fans, and journalists. The teams of Bahrain, the Emirates, Yemen, Oman, and the Saudi Blue, and Qatari teams were received.” Regarding the Iraqi government’s interest in the success of “Gulf 25”, he said, “The aim of holding the championship is to increase the cohesion between the people of this region, especially the brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council. In addition, Iraq has not had the opportunity to organize this tournament for 42 years. Organizing it in Basra Governorate specifically sends a message to the brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen that Iraq is able to receive its brothers, that it is recovering, and that it is eager to perpetuate the spirit of brotherhood between the brotherly countries.”
The ambassador sent a message to the supporters of the teams participating in the “Gulf 25”, particularly the fans of Kuwait’s national team, saying, “The Prime Minister and the government supposed in providing all facilities and watering down all obstacles that would impede the entry of brothers and fans of Iraq of all nationalities through the airports (Basra Airport) and the land ports (Safwan port and Arar port) from the Saudi side.” He explained that facilities are in place for the entry of cars and drivers through the adoption of an approved mechanism between countries, including the need for cars from the Gulf countries to have a temporary customs entry, or KT.
A large number of cars began to flock to “KT” offices, expecting fans to flock to Iraq and Basra. The authorities in Basra Governorate (the Ministry of Transport) worked to provide buses to transport fans directly from the Safwan port to the heart of Basra for free. This matter can revive the Iraqi economy and stimulate tourism. The initial concern was related to security but it has begun to fade.
The ambassador said the opening ceremony, which will be held on Friday, January 6 will be a grand ceremony befitting the occasion and the return of the Gulf championship to Iraq. He urged people to visit Basra, saying, “The Gulf championship has a flavor that differs from other championships because it is a competition among brothers of equal abilities and levels, and it is expected that it will be a strong championship.”
Regarding the fans taking advantage of this occasion to enter Iraq and practice hunting, he said, “The fans who obtain the entry stamp can roam throughout Iraq from north to south except for hunting purposes, as it is subject to certain agreed-upon procedures and requirements that do not apply to visitors during this period.” Al-Safi highlighted that the Safwan port was modernized to receive visitors. He expressed his happiness over the modernization that the port witnessed because the port showcases the country and is the the first thing a tourist sees.
He said, “The new work halls of the outlet were commissioned on Wednesday, with a new mechanism, and all are welcome in Iraq.” As for holders of Article 17 passports, Al-Safi said they will be dealt in the same manner as Gulf citizens except that they must also obtain a security clearance from the port security management.” He stated that the documents and papers required from visitors from Kuwait are a passport that is valid for a period of no less than six months, and the civil ID card. Meanwhile, in a different context, Al-Safi said, “The joint bilateral committee has not set a date for its meeting yet due to the engagements of officials of the two countries in the coming period. Communication is ongoing between the two sides through diplomatic channels to determine the appropriate date.”