International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Iraq

Iraq
Republic of Iraq
Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism and armed conflict.

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.  On September 28, 2018, the Department of State ordered the departure of U.S. government personnel from the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah.  The American Citizens Services (ACS) Section at the U.S. Embassy Baghdad will continue to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Basrah.

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. Additionally, 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:

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Following us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Iraq.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Al-Kindi Street
International Zone
Baghdad, Iraq

Telephone:  0760-030-3000
Telephone: 301-985-8841, ext. 4293 or 2413 (U.S. dial numbers that ring in Baghdad)
U.S. Citizen Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-964-770-443-1286 or 011-964-770-030-4888 from the United States or 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888 from within Iraq.
Email: baghdadacs@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Erbil
413 Ishtar, Ankawa Erbil, Iraq
Telephone: During business hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday through Thursday (local Erbil time is eight hours ahead of EST and seven hours ahead during EDT)
From Iraq: 066-211-4554
From the United States: 240-264-3467 and then extension 4554
After hours emergencies and on weekends (Friday, Saturday & Holidays):
From Iraq:
 066-211-4000 and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
From the United States: 240-264-3467 and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
E-mail: ErbilACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Basrah
Basrah, Iraq (near Basrah International Airport)
At this time, U.S. Consulate General Basrah does not provide consular services; please contact the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for assistance.

The work week in Iraq is Sunday through Thursday.

General Information


For information concerning travel to Iraq, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Iraq.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

 

On March 21, 2014, Iraq acceded to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention); however, the United States and Iraq are not yet treaty partners.  Until Iraq and the United States establish a treaty relationship per Article 38 of the Convention, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to Iraq or wrongfully retained in Iraq are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue the return of or access to their children.  

 

 

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iraq and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website: travel.state.gov
Email: MiddleEastIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Iraq.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iraq and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Iraq are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

The Iraqi government does not provide mediation services.  Parents should consult with an attorney in Iraq to learn of possible mediation services in Iraq.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: May 8, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Al-Kindi Street
International Zone
Baghdad, Iraq
Telephone
0760-030-3000
Emergency
301-985-8841, ext. 4293 or 2413 (U.S. dial numbers that ring in Baghdad)
Fax
No Fax

Iraq Map