September 28, 2021

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Iraq Travel Advisory

11 min read

Do not travel to Iraq due to COVID-19, terrorismkidnappingarmed conflict, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.    

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Iraq due to COVID-19. 

Travelers to Iraq may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures, and other emergency conditions within Iraq due to COVID-19. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Iraq. 

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 and coalition security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq. Attacks by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occur in many areas of the country, including Baghdad. 

  • U.S. Embassy Baghdad: On March 25, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of designated U.S. Government employees from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad due to security conditions and restricted travel options as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The January 1, 2020 suspension of the Embassy Baghdad public consular services remains in effect until further notice, as a result of damage done by Iranian-backed terrorist attacks on the Embassy compound. Due to security concerns, U.S. Embassy personnel in Baghdad have been instructed not to use Baghdad International Airport. 
  • Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center: On March 25, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of designated U.S. Government employees from the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center due to security conditions and restricted travel options as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • U.S. Consulate General Erbil: U.S. Consulate General Erbil remains open and continues to provide consular services.
  • U.S. Consulate General Basrah: On October 18, 2018, the Department of State ordered the suspension of operations at the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah. That institution has not reopened.

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

If you decide to travel to Iraq: 

  • See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19.   
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel COVID-19.     
  • Visit our website for Travel to High and -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 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.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information and to remove information about the ordered departure for Consulate General Erbil.

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