ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Following US President Donald Trump signing an executive order on Friday to ban for 90 days the issuance of visas to nationals of seven countries — including Iraq, Iran and Syria — the US consulate in Erbil announced it has halted processing of visas by nationals from those countries.
The US Consulate in Erbil announced on Saturday that visa issuance to Iraqis, Iranians, and Syrians “has been suspended effective immediately until further notification.”
“If you are a national, or dual national, of one of these countries, please do not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees at this time,” the statement read. “If you already have an appointment scheduled, please do not attend your appointment as we will not be able to proceed with your visa interview.”
Trump’s executive order, which aims for “extreme vetting,” included exemptions for diplomats.
“Please note that certain travel for official governmental purposes is not subject to this suspension,” the consulate wrote, adding that people should continue to monitor the consulate’s website.
Within an hour of being on Facebook, the post elicited more than 700 reactions.
Some of the hundreds of comments included:
“This is unfair treatment with people of Kurdistan who is fighting against Daash [sic]!” Dashty Hamad wrote, referring to an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
“[The] Donald J. Trump ban on Iraqi and others entering the U.S. is ridiculous and wouldn’t have stopped any of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11. Pure politics!” Sirwaan Nemati wrote.
“I already got an appointment notification email and i paid visa fees. Is it possible to get back the fees?” Nashwan Mustafa inquired.
The US, under former President Barack Obama, announced plans earlier this month to build a $600 million, 200,000 square-meter consulate general building in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region.
As of Saturday evening, the US Embassy in Baghdad had not made a similar announcement regarding visas.
[This article was originally published by Rudaw and reproduced here with permission.]