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Country Risk Code:



Iraq is a HIGH RISK country. Unchecked violence and terrorist activity by militant groups including the Islamic State are primary threats, along with inconsistent access to healthcare and emergency services, and uncontrolled infectious diseases. 

Essential Precautions: 

• Avoid travelling to the Anbar, Diyala, Duhok, Kirkuk, Nineveh, and Saladin regions 

• If in Baghdad, avoid travelling to cities outside of Baghdad’s Green Zone, particularly Basra, Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi, Najaf, and Kufa 

• Avoid government or religious buildings, as these can be targets for terrorist attack 

• Avoid demonstrations and protests, as they can often turn violent 

• Avoid street food in general and only drink bottled water 

• Do not use public transit – arrange for a taxi through radio dispatch or in front of a major hotel, or use a private driver 

Insurance becomes a priority if you intend to travel or work in Iraq. Traveling to Iraq presents several significant risks due to ongoing security concerns, political instability, and the presence of armed conflict. The situation can change rapidly, so it\'s essential to consult up-to-date travel advisories from your government or reliable sources like the U.S. State Department, UK Foreign Office, or your country\'s equivalent. Here are some factors to consider:

Security Concerns: There is an ever-present threat of violence in Iraq due to terrorism and unrest. Baghdad and Basra are known to host violent protests that can occur without much warning. Pockets of Islamic State militants are entrenched in the regions of Anbar, Nineveh, Diyala, Saladin and Kirkuk, particularly in the Hamreen Mountains, the outskirts of Mosul, east of Halabja, and Daquq. IS and anti-government militias have shown the capability and intent to strike heavily fortified areas including Baghdad\'s International (Green) Zone in terrorist attacks. Improvised explosive devices are the most unpredictable and universal threat to travelers on Iraq’s roads. Unemployment and easy access to weapons have also exacerbated the rise of violent criminal gangs. Kidnappings for financial or political reasons are common throughout Iraq. Carjackings by armed thieves are also very common, even during daylight hours, and particularly on the highways from Jordan and Kuwait to Baghdad. In Erbil and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region most crime is non-violent and generally does not target foreigners; however, “snatch-and-grab” robberies targeting handbags or cell phones are common in popular tourist areas, including the Ankawa neighborhood and along the main thoroughfares where criminals can escape quickly on motorbikes. Further to the north, Turkish airstrikes and cross border incursions have taken place in the nearby Qandil, Zap, Avasin-Basyan, Hakurk, Metina, Pshdar and Bradost regions.

Terrorism: Iraq faces threats from terrorist organizations, including the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other extremist groups. Terrorist attacks targeting civilians, government installations, and foreign interests have occurred in the past and continue to pose a risk. Travelers should remain vigilant, stay informed about local developments, and follow guidance from local authorities and security personnel.

Kidnapping and Crime: Kidnappings for ransom and other forms of crime, including robbery and extortion, are prevalent in Iraq. Foreign nationals, including journalists, humanitarian workers, and contractors, have been targeted in the past. Travelers should exercise caution, avoid traveling alone or at night, and take steps to enhance personal security, such as varying routines and maintaining a low profile.

Political Instability: Iraq\'s political situation is complex and often marked by tensions between various ethnic and sectarian groups. Political protests, demonstrations, and civil unrest can occur, sometimes leading to violent clashes with security forces. Travelers should stay informed about the current political environment, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, and be prepared for disruptions to travel plans.

Infrastructure and Services: Iraq\'s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and public services, has been significantly impacted by years of conflict and neglect. Travelers may encounter challenges such as poor road conditions, limited access to healthcare, and intermittent electricity and water supply. It\'s important to be prepared for basic living conditions and to have contingency plans in place.

Travel Restrictions and Documentation: Travel to Iraq may be subject to restrictions and require obtaining appropriate visas and permits. Foreign nationals should consult with Iraqi embassies or consulates and carefully review entry requirements before planning their trip. Additionally, travelers should register with their embassy or consulate upon arrival and adhere to local laws and regulations throughout their stay.

Health and Medical Care: Iraq\'s healthcare system has been strained by years of conflict and instability, resulting in limited access to quality medical care, especially in remote or conflict-affected areas. Travelers should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, including evacuation to a higher level of care if necessary. It\'s also advisable to carry a well-stocked medical kit with essential medications and supplies.

Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance: Iraq is heavily contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) from past conflicts, particularly in rural and border areas. Travelers should exercise caution when venturing off established roads and paths, as there is a risk of encountering dangerous remnants of war. It\'s essential to stay on well-traveled routes and heed warnings from local authorities regarding minefields or hazardous areas.

Cultural Sensitivities and Religious Sites: Iraq has a rich cultural and religious heritage, with many historical sites and religious landmarks of significance to Islam, Christianity, and other faiths. Travelers should show respect for local customs, traditions, and religious practices, including dress codes and behavior at religious sites. Avoid sensitive topics such as politics or religion in conversations with locals to minimize the risk of inadvertently causing offense.

Overall, traveling to Iraq involves significant risks, and caution is warranted. It\'s essential for travelers to conduct thorough research, obtain up-to-date information from reliable sources, and consider the advice of security experts before making any travel arrangements. Additionally, travelers should exercise vigilance, maintain situational awareness, and take appropriate precautions to mitigate risks while in Iraq.

Choosing the right cover for your trip to Iraq

Many insurers exclude cover for travel to Iraq. It is vital to check that your policy includes journeys to this nation. Ascertain that your policy coverage includes medical expenses, repatriation, crisis management, and kidnap for ransom cover. Medical care in Iraq is highly inconsistent. It will still be necessary to evacuate you for medical and other critical care.

Required Vaccinations: 

• None

Pre-Trip Checklist: 

•Carry a copy of your passport

• Bring a necessary supply of prescription medication 

• Bring a copy of your prescription in case medication is lost or stolen 

• Delete VPNs on devices before entering the country, as they are illegal

LGBT travel advice for Iraq

Traveling to Iraq as an LGBTQ+ individual poses significant risks due to the country\'s conservative social attitudes and legal environment. Overall, LGBTQ+ travelers to Iraq face significant risks and should exercise extreme caution. It\'s advisable to research local laws and customs, avoid overt displays of affection in public, and maintain a low profile during your stay in Iraq. Connecting with local LGBTQ+ communities or support networks is not recommended due to the risks involved.