Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Post by Solo2ruedas »

We are planning to travel from turkey to Iraq by bicycle to visit the autonomous kurdistan region and from there cross to Iran. Does anyone know if it's possible and safe? Which border crossings should we use?
Thank you
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Re: Iraq kurdistan

Post by ollymanson »

Only one crossing: Ibrahim Khalil Border Crossing
Did it via bus in reverse
Bus had no security. Few checkpoints to go through.
But you are passing through the most dangerous part of Turkey and near the Syrian border.
Kurdistan I found was very safe.
Crossing into Iran should be simple at the Piranshahr crossing.
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Re: Iraq kurdistan

Post by steven »

Let us know how it was for you, solo2ruedas!
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Re: Iraq kurdistan

Post by Solo2ruedas »

Hi again!
It was great. No major problems at all. The border from silopi is open and we crossed without problems. Its obviously not used a lot by tourist and the road seems closed but its perfectly ok. Iraqi kurdistan itself was totally safe, no isis whatsoever, at least the route we took: zakho batufa amedy barzan soran and hamilton road ( it was amazing, really beautiful). The border in haji omara from kurdistan to iran was a little bit more tedious, specilly the iraqi side, but also problemless.

Recommended route indeed. Interesting people, beautiful landscape and totally safe. Police will say that is dsngerous because of terrorists, but in our experience pkk is nothing to worry about, the opposite, the worst thing are the police controls. They tend to be much more tedious in the turkish part, we had 14 controls in three days and with some nasty militar, but in iraq they are much more friendly.

Thats all, enjoy your travels!
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Re: Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Post by Caetano »

I confirm !

to make my own opinion, on the road of Iran, at the end of March - beginning of April I contacted Turkish motorbikers : in general, they advised me not to go to Kurdistan.

It's wrong ! There is no need to get around for Georgia to get to Iran.

What is true: the more you progress to the east of the country, the more you meet Check points. Which does not mean you're stopped every time, but count half a dozen anyway. Malatya, for example, the presence of a police car at each important crossroads. Diyarbakir: heavy atmosphere. It is impossible to visit the citadel even when presenting its passport. After Mardin, the road runs along the Syrian border: a sinister wall for 40 kilometers, which I did not know 2 years ago. Check-points more numerous, 4 ways reduced to two to slow down traffic, presence of para-military in black tee-shirts.

I chose to cross the border into Silopi, to pass through the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Much cooler than Turkey! Take the road to Souleymanieh, or Erbil, not that of Mosul, of course! A few checkpoints, but much more friendly. The road up to the Iranian border of Marivan is very pretty.
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Re: Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Post by levelo »

I crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan one week ago using the Beshmakh border crossing ( Marivan to Slemani/Sulaymaniyah ).
No major issues. I was given a free one month visa which seems to be the norm.
Just had to purchase a compulsory insurance for IQD 5000.
Lots of checkpoints everywhere but the soldiers are polite and very Professional. It is understandable.
Loving it so far !
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Re: Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Post by tatterdemalion »

N.B. Crossing from Turkey into Kurdistan/Iraq cannot be made by foot, the other direction has no such requirement. I can't speculate as to how bikes would be received.

Hitched from the Otogar to the centre of Silopi but there are also Dolmus available to take you the 3kms (apparently 3 Lira).
I caught the Dolmus from the centre of Silopi to the border (2 Lira - leaves when full), takes you all the way to security (past the 500+ metres of cars).
Drivers from cars will approach you to take you through the crossing. Going rate seems to be 10,000Dinars or $8-10 for the cars nearer to the front; the car I took was eighth from the front and it still took at least 40 minutes to get through the security gate. Busses and trucks are in a separate line and don't have to wait long, but it really slows down the car lane when busses turn up.
Many have made the crossing for free, just by finding a driver willing to take them - generally families making the crossing, check hitchwiki for more info.

Kurdistan Visa 30 days on arrival for usual suspects, no cost.
I rarely find borders where officials don't love me and even though it was no different here, two officials seemed unsure about letting me in and asked the usual questions and then some (finances, next country and visa, accomodation, etc.). Also they initially asked for an Iraqi visa but were fine once I mentioned I get the Kurdistan visa free on arrival.
Few days on I met a Swiss traveller that was apparently questioned for four hours, mainly along the lines of ISIS/Daesh, religious friends, Syria, etc.
I exited Turkey with a British passport and entered Kurdistan with an Australian passport (as it had my Iranian visa), officials did ask to see Turkish exit stamp but had no problem with the change.

In total it would have been 2-2½ hours. 1½-2 exiting Turkey and 30 minutes entering Kurdistan/Iraq.
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Re: Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Post by hitchhikable »

Hi all,

Any recent updates on this border please? I've heard that tourists are not being let through anymore. Last that I know of, my Polish friend successfully crossed there both ways in Nov 2017. But just looking for current reliable information.

Any links or your experiences appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Post by Malcolm »

Hi Hitchhikable,
I'm wondering if you went to Kurdistan, or found any more information?
I'm hoping to go through by bike, from Turkey and afterwards to Iran.
I would appreciate any recent reports.
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Re: Iraqi Kurdistan - Turkey border crossing reports

Post by CallumT »

Crossed this border about a week ago with my partner from Erbil to Diyarbakir on a bus.

Despite reaching the border at about 11:30pm, there was plenty of vehicles trying to get through and it was incredibly slow and inefficient. The Kurdish side was easy, a simple stamp out and on your way. Turkish side was more annoying. Very slow and we were pulled aside for individual background questioning and to explain our intentions in Turkey. One soldier got quite annoyed when my partner referred to Kurdistan as a country. They made us give them our phones which they casually scrolled through, took photos of us holding our passports, asked us to tell them how much cash we had on us, then let us go.

Maybe it's because we said we were just transiting through to Georgia, but it seemed like more a hassle for us and them than a proper questioning. The whole time taken from arriving at the Kurdish border to leaving the Turkish side was about 4 hours. Don't be surprised if it takes longer though, especially if you're in your own vehicle. Cars were moving very slowly.
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