IMO this is the start of something big
Iraq signs new visa-free agreements to elevate low-ranking passport
By Rudaw 11/10/2018
The passport for the Federal Republic of Iraq. File photo: AP
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Following a new survey that ranks the Iraqi passport as the lowest in the world, the foreign ministry says that Iraqi citizens will be able to travel to several new countries visa free beginning next year thanks to a series of agreements reached with foreign governments.
"The foreign ministry continues its efforts and we've signed a few memorandums of understanding about our diplomatic, service and ordinary passports and traveling for tourism visa free," Ahmed Mahjoub, the spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Mahjoub said the world passport ranking was outside the control of the Iraqi foreign ministry and countries draw their visa rules "by taking into account the security and economic situation" of other countries.
According to Henley & Partners Passport Index, the Iraqi passport ranks 106th in the world, allowing its holders visa free travel to 30 countries.
The Japanese passport comes out on top, allowing visa free travel to 190 countries.
Mahjoub told the media that things will improve in the first half of 2019 "because negotiations with some countries have had really good results."
The foreign ministry spokesperson said that "the reciprocity policy" is what decides what countries give visas to the citizens of another country "and for that same reason getting an Iraqi visa is among the most difficult."
Currently, Series A passports are issued to Iraqi citizens in all provinces and valid for eight years with final approval coming from the central government in Baghdad.