Russia Travel Advisory
August 15, 2022

Do Not Travel and Leave Immediately

International Travel

English

Country Information

Iraq

Iraq
Republic of Iraq
Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.

Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.

Country Summary: U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for violence and kidnapping. Terrorist and insurgent groups regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq. Attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occur in many areas of the country, including Baghdad.

Demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently. These events can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.

Public consular services at the Embassy remain suspended until further notice as a result of terrorist attacks on the Embassy compound on December 31, 2019. U.S. Consulate General Erbil remains open for routine American Citizens Services but is only able to provide limited appointments for nonimmigrant visa interviews.

Due to security concerns, U.S. Embassy personnel in Baghdad are instructed to not use Baghdad International Airport.

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 country information page for additional information on travel to Iraq.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Iraq has a high level of COVID-19.  Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

If you decide to travel to Iraq:

  • Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, and read the U.S. Embassy's web page for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook  and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Iraq.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
... [READ MORE]

Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:
6 months
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
1 page per stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Yes
VACCINATIONS:
None
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
None
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
$10,000 USD

Embassies and Consulates

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

Business Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday through Thursday
Telephone:
From Iraq and outside the United States:
 +964-760-030-3000
From the United States:  +1-301-985-8841
U.S. Citizen Emergency Telephone (After-Hours, Friday, Saturday & Holidays):Call and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
Email: BaghdadACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Erbil
413 Ishtar, Ankawa
Erbil, Iraq
Business Hours:
8:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday through Thursday
Telephone:
From Iraq and outside the United States:
 +964-66-211-4000
From the United States: +1-240-264-3467extension 4554
U.S. Citizen Emergency Telephone (After-Hours, Friday, Saturday & Holidays):Call and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
E-mail: ErbilACS@state.gov

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Iraq requires a negative COVID-19 test to enter or exit. Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information. The Government of Iraq strictly enforces entry regulations, weapons authorizations, and movements through checkpoints. U.S. citizens traveling to Iraq without proper authorization or unclear purpose of travel may be detained.

Visa requirements vary depending on the traveler’s citizenship, Iraqi ancestry, purpose of travel, and duration of stay. Iraq has an entry and exit system. Visa on arrival may be available for U.S. citizen tourists at airports in Iraq, including Erbil airport. Exit stamps are required prior to departure. Residency stamps and blood tests are required depending on length and purpose of visit. Iraq imposes penalties, such as fines, detention and deportation, for violations of Iraqi immigration policies, including overstays or working without authorization.  

All travelers should visit the Embassy of Iraq’s website: mofa.gov/washington/visa

for visa, duration of stay, work permits, and residency information. Information on requirements for exit stamps, residency, and blood tests is also available at airports in Iraq.

HIV/AIDS: Iraq imposed HIV/AIDS-related travel restrictions on all visitors and new residents. Travelers should verify their eligibility to travel to Iraq with the Embassy of Iraq before travelling.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists increasingly use less-sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to target crowds at venues such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems, including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Da’esh, is a designated terrorist organization, which is active in Syria and near the Iraq border. ISIS and its associated terrorist groups indiscriminately commit attacks and violent atrocities in Iraq despite improved Iraqi government control. ISIS, militia groups, and criminal gangs target U.S. citizens for attacks and hostage-taking.

Border areas, especially near Syria, Turkey, and Iran are especially dangerous and not clearly defined. U.S. citizens who approach these borders may encounter aerial or artillery bombardments, unmarked minefields, and border skirmishes with smugglers. They may also be detained by neighboring governments, including Iran.

Due to security and safety threats, U.S. government personnel live and work under strict security guidelines, which limit their movements and interactions in Iraq.

Crime: Petty theft is common in Iraq, including pickpocketing and theft of valuables from hotel rooms and private residences. Carjacking is common, even during daylight hours, and particularly on the highways from Jordan and Kuwait to Baghdad. Kidnappings of foreigners, Iraqi citizens, and dual U.S.-Iraqi citizens can occur for ransom or political/religious reasons. Many hostages have been killed. The murder rate remains high due to terrorism, tribal and family disputes, and religious/sectarian tensions. Sexual assault and domestic violence are common.

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

International financial and romance scams can be connected to Iraq. See the Department of State and the FBI webpages for information.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes, fires and accidents to local authorities by dialing 104 (Police), 115 (Fire), 112 (National Emergency Hotline), or 139 (sexual assault and domestic violence). Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. They speak Arabic. U.S. citizen victims may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at +964-760-030-3000.  We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism: Tourists participate in activities at their own risk. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Furthermore, some laws are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Property Disputes: Land disputes are common in Iraq and are often difficult to resolve through legal channels. The U.S. Embassy cannot take sides in a legal dispute. Those involved in a court dispute risk having cases filed against them, arrest, and being jailed.

Special Circumstances:

Iraq has serious deficiencies in public services. Electricity often fails. Fire and rescue services are inadequate, and hotels may not be equipped with fire safety equipment. Landline telephone service is limited; while cellular service reliability varies by region. The banking and financial infrastructure is underdeveloped. Transactions are largely cash-based. Hotels usually require payment in foreign currency. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are rare.

Customs officers have broad authority to search persons or vehicles at Iraqi ports of entry. Officers may confiscate any goods deemed a threat to the peace, security, health, environment, or social order of Iraq. Antiquities, cultural and undeclared items for export may be confiscated. Visitors may be ordered to return such goods, at their expense, to the jurisdiction from which they came.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Possession of counterfeit goods may be confiscated or fined. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

 

LGBTQI+ Travelers: Discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and unconventional appearance is common. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights report for details.

Travelers with Disabilities: Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the United States. Buildings, public restrooms, classrooms, offices, public transportation, and other places may not be accessible.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  Female U.S. citizens have been subject to threats, kidnappings, abuse, and extortion by their family, including loss of custody of children or forced marriage. U.S. laws do not protect U.S. citizens when they are outside of the United States. The Iraqi police and legal system may offer little protection.  See our travel tips for Women Travelers

Health

Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Iraq. 

Basic, modern medical care and medicines are not widely available in Iraq and do not meet U.S. standards. A limited number of companies facilitate medical evacuations. Blood banks exist in Iraq, though the blood supply may not be sufficient in the event of an emergency and likely has not been tested under U.S. standards for infectious disease. There is limited mental health or psychiatric care in Iraq.

For ambulance services dial 122. Ambulance services are not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas. They are not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in the original packaging along with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further Health Information:

Prevalent Diseases:

Water Quality: In many areas, tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Air Quality

Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Iraq. Seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may be especially harmful to the following people:  

  • Infants, children, and teens
  • People over 65 years of age
  • People with lung disease, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • People with heart disease or diabetes
  • People who work or are active outdoors

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Vehicular travel in Iraq can be extremely dangerous. There have been attacks on civilian vehicles and on Iraqi military and security convoys on roads and highways throughout Iraq, both in and outside metropolitan areas. Attacks can occur at any time, night or day, and have involved small arms fire and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) capable of destroying vehicles.

Traffic Laws: Drivers usually do not yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and ignore traffic lights (if available), traffic rules, and regulations. Jaywalking is common. Roads are congested. Some cars do not use lights at night and urban streetlights may not be functioning. Some motorists drive at excessive speeds, tailgate, and force other drivers to yield the right of way.

Iraq has many government checkpoints scattered throughout the country. New ones may be placed randomly, particularly after terrorist attacks. It can take a long time to navigate them in crowded traffic, and some may shut down altogether at certain hours. Drivers should have car registration and ID documents available and should be very patient and polite.

Public Transportation: Buses run irregularly and frequently change routes. City transit vehicles are often poorly maintained and can be involved in accidents. Long-distance buses are available but are often in poor condition and drive at unsafe speeds.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Iraq, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Because of the risks to civil aviation in the vicinity of Iraq, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) that prohibits U.S. operators and codeshare flights from operating in Iraqi airspace below 32,000 feet. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration's Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Iraq should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard Homeport and the NGA Broadcast Warnings website. 

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Iraq. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report. 

Last Updated: June 29, 2022

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

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

Iraq Map