Kuwait to Iraq – Abdali to Safwan Border Crossing

Unlike the last borders we’ve done this one is not easy. It’s quite reminiscent of the Confusion of Africa, the Iraq side is a mess.

Prepare yourself with Iraq money as no card machines or ATMs are there at the border the only thing you can pay with card is the Iraq visa itself.

My advice is to take a 5000 dinar note for the photocopies and US dollars for the rest.

Step one, you arrive at the gate and hand over your passports the green paper and CDP these are inspected and handed back.

Step 2 you arrive at a split in the road go to where the yellow arrow shows below to the side of the hut. There was a guy in the hut and he did gesticulate which way to go.

You can drive straight through the x-ray machine. There is a sign that says no stopping otherwise you will probably glow in the dark but just carry on to the hangers.

Park in the hangar and go to the Blue office indicated within.  Here he just wanted to see the passports green paper and CDP (which has not been stamped into Kuwait) They still want to see the CdP as they want to stamp it out.  Don’t get worried about using an additional page as this will become clear later. You don’t lose a page for nothing.

So you hand him over the passports green paper and CDP. He does all of his stuff and he gives you a slip for the vehicle shown below in 4.6. You will need this slip later.

He also stamps out the CDP. He stamps the top middle and bottom portions of the CDP on the right hand side. If you want additional stamps i.e. a stamp on the top left you can ask him as he doesn’t care. Kuwait don’t use the carnet and all these stamps are for the Iraq side as they require an exit stamp from Kuwait.

Pass through the next hanger as there is nobody there. Drive slowly just in case there is.

From the hanger you have just driven through without stopping you can see an office to the right. This is the “hall of departing”, park there.

Go inside the hall of departing and handover the passports, green paper and blue visa paper for each passport. He stamps your passports and keeps the green and blue papers. You get a slip for each passport back. You will need these two slips later as shown in 6.1

Another gate and hand over your passports and the slips you just got in 6.1.

He keeps the slips, gives you the passports back and opens the gate.

So this is the last Gate in Kuwait and they want to see your passports and the first slip you received in 4.6

You drive out of Kuwait and into Iraq past the quadruple fence of no man’s land and arrive at the first Iraqi structure where you stop getting put and walk to the left.

At the hut on the left which unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of he takes your passports and CDP he writes something in a big book or ledger and stamps the driver’s passport only. You can see the stamp you get below.

The hut is not the one on the immediate left shown in the photo above but the next hut along. There was a guy there who spoke good English

I don’t know why I didn’t go back to him later as we had trouble with the rest of the staff not speaking good English and he was right there only yards away. Stupid !

After you’ve got your stamp for the car (in the passport of the driver) you drive over to the right where you are actually parked on a roundabout and reverse Park against the curb.

This area is where it all goes wrong as hardly anybody speaks English and the process is as confusing as it could possibly be. Once you get here it’s like being in the most confusing Africa border you’ve ever been in.

There are four main parts to this process the first one is the Customs office numbered 10.1 and then the insurance office numbered 10.2 the photocopy office numbered 10.3 and the bank numbered 10.4

We think Office 10.1 is just Customs as everything seemed to revolve around the CDP first of all he wrote some things in a book or ledger and handed the CdP to the table to his left.

At this point we believe there was a concerted effort to make us use a fixer but we declined.

The next step is to go to the insurance office shown in 10.2 and buy the insurance.

It was all very confusing about how much the insurance was and for how long we think the fee for one week is 22 dollars and the fee for one month is 25 dollars.

To get the insurance I gave him my passport and car registration document.

We believe the insurance paper below shown in 10.2 is for one month and I think I paid 25 for it after handing over 28 and him handing me back the superfluous 3 dollars. talking everything to the photocopy shop shown in 10.3

Take everything to the photocopy shop shown in 10.3

What we do know is the photocopy shop would not accept dollars and would only accept Iraqi money and the charge was 5,000

They will make three sets of copies and they need passport driving license car registration document CdP and the insurance

After you have your copies you need to go to what they call the bank this is a tiny little hut which may or may not be a bank but they do take a charge and give you a receipt which is needed when you go back to the Customs office 10.1

You can see the paper you get from the bank in 10.4 below.

GPS Coordinates for Bank. NOT EASY TO FIND!!!

30.10371 47.71505

Once you’ve been to the bank go back to the Customs office 10.1 armed with everything. The copies, the insurance and all the originals. He processes everything and gives you a slip shown in 11.1. There’s also a post-it note attached to one of the little stapled bundles. At this point he keeps one of the bundles and you are given two of them which are used later.

Next go to get your visa in the new building which is clearly marked on the outside. You can see it from the area of confusion.

Go inside the room and go immediately to the left. You get given a form to fill out and then you hand this over with your passports. They do a lot of typing on the computer and then you need to pay. The charge is currently 78 US dollars cash or 75 US dollars on card with an additional fee added of some 4 point something dollars. Ultimately it was easier and cheaper to pay 78 cash.

After you have paid you take your passports over to the counter at the bottom right where you do your entry formalities into Iraq as you now have the visa in your passport.

The only biometrics they take on the entry is a photograph.

Out the last Gate you hand over your passports and the last slip that you received from the Customs office 10.1 and shown below as 11.1

Welcome to Iraq.

Hand in the Slip at the last gate

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