Border crossing Turkey – Iraqi Kurdistan

So this was the beginning! Luckily Duygu can speak Turkish and she could ask the officers what kind of list the kids selling. Well they didn´t give a clear answer, just that we need this list. It is a simple passenger list, just a paper in which you can type in the passengers and the car you are travelling in. We had the feeling that this was kind of a favour for this kids. Instead of the border police is printing it they give the kids a chance to make some pocket money (maybe, maybe not).

We bought this list for less then a Dollar, you will need it later that is for sure.

Having the list we faced the first check, just one officer looking inside the car asking where we go, if we have some illegal things etc. It was pretty smooth and we continued to the next checkpoint. It was the “checkout” of Turkey with our passports. Exiting Turkey with a Turkish document requires a so called stamp. So Duygu went to the office and bought a stamp for 15 Lira, without this she cannot leave the country.

We got our exit stamps and went through the usual checks, the car, customs and before you exit Turkish territory they are asking you for the lista. All this area is a little bit chaotic and it is a big area. I guess this passenger list just gives the possibility for the border police to see who is going inside this area and who is going out.

Anyway this process took us at least 1-1,5 hours. We crossed a bridge and were welcomed from a big sun in the Flag of Kurdistan.

Seeing the Flag of Kurdistan doesn´t mean that you are in Kurdistan.

Two Peschmerga soldiers where stopping us in a friendly way and tried to involve us in a small talk asking the usual question. Where are you from, how many people, and so.

After exchanging a few phrases the showed us the way to a car park in front of huge building. A worker helped us to park our car and sent us inside the house for the passport control.

It was an exciting moment for us entering this place. A huge and empty hall, Barzani pictures on ever side. In the far corner we found two counters, with some people in front. It looked funny, this big empty hall and in the corner some people queuing. Nothing in this big building, but still they had to push to be the firs in the line.

After looking at a very serious looking passport officer we got our stamps for Kurdistan, realizing that we both got a visa for 30 days in Kurdistan.

We met an English speaking guy who helped us with translation and showed us the way to the next checkpoint. Cars with European Numberplate will be checked extra. 2 guys were walking around the car checking the papers of the car extra carefully and double check it with the chassis number in the car.

They were quiet friendly and asking me: “Is it your first time in Iraq?”, I said “yes”. He said: “This is not Iraq, this is Kurdistan. Welcome!”

After a little time they were finished with us and sent us in the next building. It looked like a ordinary department, I hand in the papers the guys gave me. He checked it and sent me outside to the next guy. This is the part were you have to pay money. It is the only part (besides the kids outside the border).

10 000 Dinar, around 9$. After paying this fee we returned to the department, handing in the receipt that we paid and received a paper from the officer.

After this point you are almost finished, we got stopped one more time, but it was just a little small talk with the soldier. Passing this we only had to show our passports and all the collected papers again at the exit of the border.

All in all this crossing took us 3-4 hours. It was easy going because people were friendly, helpful and not pushing at all.

It was more like a game, managing one task and being allowed to the next one, without knowing how many more there is to come.

Just to give a summary:

You only need a passport and normal car papers.

Duygu and me (Turkish and German passport) got a 30 days visa without payment or application.

For the car we had to pay a 10 000 Dinar ( ~9 $) fee.

This was the only border so far, where we had to show Wallaces papers.

People were very easy going.

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