There are a number of ways to get to Iraqi Kurdistan. Everyone’s experience will be different but this is a rough guide of what to expect.
Overland from Turkey
You enter Iraqi Kurdistan from Turkey through the Ibrahim Khalil border. Silopi is the nearest Turkish town and can be reached by bus from Turkish cities like Istanbul or Ankara. Silopi is in the east of Turkey so it is a long bus ride to get there. There are various places to stay in Silopi if you need to rest before crossing the border. Keep in mind that your crossing might take a few hours so leave plenty of daylight to avoid arriving in the middle of the night.
From the Silopi bus station ("otogar" in Turkish) you can catch a share taxi to and across the border. This should cost 15-20 Turkish lira per person. You may be offered a more expensive private taxi but you should be able to find local people to share a taxi with.
The border is 15km from Silopi. At the border you will be stamped out of Turkey and driven across the Tigris River into Iraq. Your taxi driver should take care of the other paperwork. On the Iraqi side you will be served free tea and asked questions like "how long you are visiting for", "where you are saying", and "what is your occupation". Answer honestly and you should be issued the standard visa which is free and valid for 10 days.
There are two international airports in Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil International Airport and Suleimaniah International Airport. Numerous airlines fly to both airports. Check out their websites for the lists of airlines.
For information about arriving in Erbil airport, click here.
Overland from Iran
There is an open border crossing between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. If you want to cross into Iran from Iraqi Kurdistan you will need a prearranged Iranian Visa. You can read a description of this border crossing in the Experiences section.
Overland from Syria
There is no border crossing between Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan. There is a border further south between Syria and Iraq but it is unsafe to travel there. If you are travelling overland from Syria you should go via Turkey (described above).
Overland from the rest of Iraq
It is unsafe to unsafe to travel in the rest of Iraq so we recommend that you approach Iraqi Kurdistan from another direction.
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