South Korea to relax travel restrictions to Iraq, citing business

Composite image of the flags of South Korea, the Kurdistan Region, and Iraq. Photo: Rudaw/CC

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region South Korea will start to roll back its travel ban to Iraq amid a rise in business travel requests and the Iraqi forces' gains in Mosul.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry in Seoul announced on Thursday that its Overseas National Security Division has decided to include limited new business in Iraq for its "exceptional passport license review."

It added that such reviews were previously banned since the fall of Mosul by ISIS in 2014, but because of Iraqi government troops, the security situation has improved.

"A large number of Korean companies" have asked to travel into Iraq and applications have increased, according to the ministry.

"It is expected that the inclusion of new projects in Iraq will be the foundation for Korean companies to enter the restoration and infrastructure construction projects in Iraq," the statement concluded.

South Korea maintains a consulate in Erbil.

South Korea and the Kurdistan Region have cooperated on many projects such as a water treatment facilities and other infrastructure projects.

The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has had an office in Erbil since 2004. It manages KOICA projects and training programs, including sponsorship programs.