Visa Update… #2 - 10.04.2005

There are many people trying to go to Iraq. I must admit after yesterday, when there was hardly anyone at the Embassy, I expected the same today. I was very surprised this morning. When I arrived I was told to go to the rear of the Embassy, where the Visa Entrance is.

Behind the Embassy there was a chaotic queue of people waiting to get into the visa office. There were many people of all types waiting to get visas, businessmen, young women, old women, men who fit the American stereotype of Muslims with long beards and traditional clothing.

I was unsure at first what to do, some people had many forms with them, others had nothing but their passports. I was worried that I was in the wrong line or that I would wait a long time and have to get back in line with the proper forms, but I didn’t know what else to do, so I waited.

After 30 minutes or so I made it into the office in the rear of the Embassy, the same place I had gone the day before. There were even more people in the are of the back office, and eventually I found my way to Walid Alrawi, who is the man to see for a visa if you are from an outside country.

I spoke to him, filled out the various forms, left two photos etc. He told me that it may take a week or possibly more to approve the visa, because they have to cable Baghdad with the application for approval.

So now I have a decision to make. I have been told that if I take a plane to Baghdad I should be able to get a visa the same day at Baghdad International Airport, but if this isn’t true and they refuse me, then I will have spent about $700 to fly to Baghdad and back, without ever being allowed entry to the country.

I think I will do this if I don’t hear anything about the visa in 5-7 days, but again, it is very expensive and since the trip has been all by donation, it might not be the smartest thing to do or the best use of the money for the trip, and certainly, if for some reason I was given a visa after I returned to Amman, it would be very hard to return again.

As soon as there is more about the visa it will be posted.

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