Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism and armed conflict.
U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for violence and kidnapping. Numerous terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq and regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq. Attacks by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occur frequently in many areas of the country, including Baghdad.
The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq is extremely limited.
U.S. citizens should not travel through Iraq to Syria to engage in armed conflict, where they would face extreme personal risks (kidnapping, injury, or death) and legal risks (arrest, fines, and expulsion). The Kurdistan Regional Government stated that it will impose prison sentences of up to ten years on individuals who illegally cross the border. Fighting on behalf of, or supporting designated terrorist organizations, is a crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines in the United States.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Iraq, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the Safety and Security section on the Country Information page.
If you decide to travel to Iraq:
Iraq is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
Under the laws of Iraq, adoption of Iraqi children is not permitted. U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents considering Iraq are encouraged to read more about seeking guardianship under Islamic Shari'a Law.
Under limited conditions, the Government of Iraq, through its Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA), may accord guardianship of an Iraqi child to a member of his or her extended family or a family friend, provided that the guardian is an Iraqi national of the Islamic faith, and that the child will be cared for in Iraq. Additionally, a family cannot obtain guardianship over a child of a different religious faith. Foreign citizens cannot be guardians. Questions regarding the eligibility for guardianship may be directed to the MOLSA.
U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Iraq who would like to adopt a child from the United States or from a third country should also contact MOLSA. See contact information below.
Caution: U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when conditions permit a family reunion. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.
IRAQ’S GUARDIANSHIP AUTHORITY:
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA)
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Iraq, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
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