Iraq to Turkey – Ibrahim Khalil to Habur Border Crossing

A very confusing border and very long, although it only took us 2.5 hours for some people it has taken 11 hours.

One of the top tips we were given is to follow the sign for the bus and this is quite near the beginning. I have mentioned it in the pictures. If you follow this path you will be treated as a VIP and not behind the massive row of cars and taxis that are probably the reason that it has taken the 11 hours for some.

When you see the sticking up bit which is in number 1 below turn off to the right, if you don’t do this you will have to do a u-turn and come back. It’s not marked at all but your sat nav should take you in the correct direction. You are looking for the pointy upy thing shown in the picture below.

Go straight under the big entrance and immediately turn right into number two which is a check for passports only. After this point you are then looking for the blue sign.

After the check above just continue forwards to the blue sign and do not turn left.

You can see below the blues sign marked with the yellow arrow, turn right through the hole in the concrete barrier and head to the left hand side of the white gate box do not head left against the wall as this is the line of cars that means you can take 11 hours.

So do not go left I have marked that on the picture below where it says do not go here, go just the other side of the next row of concrete barriers to the left hand side of the white box. The guy stood on this junction should send you this way as he will recognize you are an overlander.

At the bottom of what is essentially a car park the concrete blocks end and then you head left shown by the yellow arrow in number 6 below. There is a guy in a box but he will probably just just gesticulate to you which way to go.

If you went the wrong way you’ll be in the line of cars to your left hopefully you followed the instructions and you are in the VIP lane.

You’ll be driving past a lot of people pulling suitcases who have abandoned their vehicles or transport and are trying to get through the border in a reasonable time scale.

In step 10 below you’ll need to park out the end. Most people we saw just blocked the road and then started the process. We pulled against the wall directly in front to the left as you are going in that direction.

At this point step 10 you go to the office on the right and hand over your carnet and passport he will want to see your Iraqi entry paper for the vehicle. This is now a stamp in your passport. It might be worthwhile finding that stamp before you arrive at the window.

I’m trying to recall if he wanted to see the vehicle registration document because he takes a photocopy of a few things. So consider that he does ask for it, I cannot remember.

He gives you a paper shown below and you take this over to window number two.

Head over to window number two, there is the figure 27,000 ( this is not the price you pay but the price the locals pay ) he will tell you the price is 43,000 which is shown on the receipt you get which is shown below in 10.3.

It does seem this price of 43,000 increases regularly so expect it to be something different if it’s a few months after this post. You will need the document in 10.3 for a later stage. He takes the paper given in 10.1 and keeps it.

Armed with your paper shown in 10.3 drive to the end of the row of blocks passing again parked cars queuing to get through the border and park at the end in between the concrete blocks. We just chose a row with no car in it although it wasn’t particularly busy.

Go into the building shown with the arrow number 11 and hand over your passport and do the exit formalities.

Once you have your passport stamped out you can go and park over the inspection pit in the next building just to the right of the passport office.

We believe it is at this point where you get selected for x-ray or not X-ray. As we didn’t get chosen for an x-ray we cannot comment on that but what I will say is make sure that you take note of the rest of the stages in our write up. Some people at the end of the border didn’t have one of the things they needed.

In step 13 we handed over the paper we just got before, the receipt in 10.2. He did some quick checks of the car inside the back. This we believe was in lieu of the X-ray. We were lucky.

Once he has done the check he gives you the pink paper shown above 13.1 which is needed later.

After step 13 it’s a very short drive to a row of orange cones which may or may not be across the road but it’s the next building along.

There is a small window to the far end of it with a guy with a passport scanner. We walked up to the window handed over our passports, he’s scanned both and that was it, nothing was said and nothing was asked for.

After we have done that somebody came over and moved the cones and told us to drive onwards to the building with the orange roof.

He wanted us to drive under the orange roof but we were too tall so we tagged in behind the trucks and then pulled in up the other side of the building.

At this point yet again he wanted to see the passports and also this slip we received in 13.1 which we believe is the permission to continue which you would probably get after the x-ray had you been sent that way.

We are of course speculating as we do not know what happens if you turn left after step 13 into the x-ray area. We understand you actually have to pay for the x-ray if you are selected.

After step 16 merging behind the trucks and follow them all the way around to the next building. When you arrive there go left do not follow the trucks to the right hand side it’s just shown below in the next pictures. If you follow the trucks to the right you do not end up in the vip car lane which  you have been in all this way.

There was no stopping in this area for us but we did speak to the guy so just drive slowly and attract the attention of one of the officials and carry on.

When you arrive at the gate across the road with the concrete blocks there is a small window shown with the arrow in step 19 and you will be asked to pay 200 lira or 10 US dollars. We just told him we didn’t have any money and eventually he let us go without paying anything. I would suggest that you don’t follow this idea and actually pay something as who knows what could happen in the future.

After the guy raises the barrier you turn left through the fence and then immediately right towards the next building.

You’re finally in Turkey. Well almost.

In step 22 we got out of the car and went up to the window shown with the yellow arrow in step 22 and had our passports inspected and our photo taken this is the entry into Turkey.

We believe we were given 90 days although it is only an entry date on the stamp.

We then went back to sit in the car and just waited. We didn’t actually know why we were waiting but the car in front was also waiting so eventually a Customs guy came over and asked us for the passenger list.

The passenger list consisted of simply today’s date the registration of the vehicle in one line at the top of the paper which we hand wrote under the names of all passengers in full below.

The custom guy asked me to open the bonnet, he’s stuck his head underneath and then asked me to open the back of the car to have a look in there. Nothing else asked for and he then signed the passenger list and handed it back to us.

He spotted our walkie talkies and also asked about those. We told him they were for communication between vehicles and he was okay with that.

Step 24 is where it starts to go all wrong or at least it did for us.

Firstly we pulled into row 1 and we were told to go to row 2.  Little did we know that row one was very important.

We had no insurance for Turkey or green card and row 2 will not process the vehicle without insurance.

We presume that row 2 is actually doing the temporary import for the vehicle.

After a monumental expedition around the whole complex to try and find the place that row 2 had gesticulated about I was brought back by a friendly person to row one.

It turns out that row one is the insurance broker and he is the guy that sells you the insurance.

This in itself is a problem as he saw “motor caravan” on my registration which he took to mean caravan. He then proceeded to ask me how many pieces of the caravan there are which I presume refers to how many things I was towing. This of course was zero as I was towing nothing as I am a motor caravan not a caravan.

I then had to explain to him what a motor caravan was but he was still adamant he needed to register me as a caravan which was a hundred US dollars for 45 days. The cost for a normal vehicle is $20 for 90 days. So you can imagine my reluctance to pay the excessive amount for a shorter period. Eventually after a very long discussion involving much Google translate he let me go as a car for the 20 US dollars. It wasn’t easy to get him to agree.

This is reminiscent of the Kuwait border where they were insistent that I was a commercial truck.

My top tip for this aspect is if you are your European is to get yourself a European green card or get Turkey included on your European insurance.

Another thing I noticed is the guy in row 2 could not find my VIN number on his system, which is not surprising considering my vehicle is ex-military. This seemed to be a big issue although eventually he let me go.

I am not convinced he did the import at all and we shall find out when we leave.

At one point I had to go back to the vehicle and take a photograph of the VIN plate to show him so he could check that my vehicle registration document was correct. He literally did not believe that any vehicle would not be on his system.

Step 25 is just passports as it is the final gate and you hand over the passenger list which was signed by the guy earlier.

So that’s it you are out of Iraq on into Turkey. Quite possibly one of the most confusing borders ever.

I hope this guide helps those that follow and to remove some of the confusion.

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