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Call 1300 555 135
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Call +61 2 6261 3305
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Call 1300 555 135
Call +61 2 6261 3305
text +61 421 269 080
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Do not travel to Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, due to the volatile security situation and very high risk of violence, armed conflict, kidnapping and terrorist attack.
The security situation is unstable. It could worsen with little warning. Leave as soon as possible. If you decide to travel to or stay in Iraq despite our advice, get professional security advice.
There’s a very high risk of kidnapping. Terrorists and criminal gangs may kidnap expats working in Iraq. Journalists and aid workers are at particular risk.
Large, coordinated attacks by armed groups have killed and injured 1000s of people. Terrorist attacks occur often and without warning. Avoid possible targets. If you must visit them, always have an exit plan.
Political rallies and protests often happen in Baghdad and other regions of Iraq. These grow quickly and can turn violent. Avoid large public gatherings. If you're caught in an affected area, stay indoors. Follow the advice of local authorities or your security provider.
Violent crime and corruption are common. Crime includes kidnapping, murder and robbery. Organised criminal gangs, militia and tribal groups are significant threats. If you decide to travel to or stay in Iraq despite our advice, travel with your vehicle doors locked and windows up. Secure your accommodation against intruders.
Be alert to scams. Scammers may claim to represent the Australian or Iraqi governments, or say they're Iraqi importers. Tell the Australian Embassy in Baghdad if you're contacted by people or websites claiming to represent the Australian Government. Contact the Iraqi Embassy in Canberra before making any payments to people claiming to be from the Iraqi Government. Get legal advice if an Iraqi importer contacts you or your company.
Full travel advice: Safety
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave, including coverage for medical costs and evacuation. You'll probably need a special policy that covers travel to high-risk destinations. Most Australian policies won't cover you.
Insect-borne diseases are common. Malaria is widespread in the southern province of Basrah and areas below 1500m. Consider taking anti-malarial medicine if you're travelling to these areas. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
HIV/AIDS is common. Take steps to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include cholera, typhoid and hepatitis. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid raw or undercooked food.
Iraq is no longer affected by wild poliovirus. However, the disease may still come in from nearby countries. Ensure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.
Health facilities in major cities are limited. In remote areas, they're very basic or not available. If you're seriously ill or injured, you'll need medical evacuation. Make sure your travel insurance covers it.
Full travel advice: Health
Many laws in Iraq are different than in Australia. It's illegal to preach anywhere except in a place of worship. It's also illegal to attempt to convert a Muslim, or for Muslims to abandon their faith. Familiarise yourself before you go.
Heavy penalities apply for murder, treason, drug offences and terrorism, including the death penalty.
During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, it's illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours.
It's illegal to photograph or film government buildings, checkpoints, military bases and embassies. Get approval if you want to film in a public place. Journalists without approval have been arrested.
Under Australian law, it's against the law for Australians to enter or remain in the Mosul district and Ninewa province without a legitimate reason. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has declared Mosul an area where a terrorist organisation is taking part in a war-like activity.
Full travel advice: Local laws
If you're in Iraq, leave straight away. If you travel there despite our advice, get a visa issued by the Iraqi Government before you arrive. If you're only travelling to the Kurdistan region, you may be able to get a 30-day visa on arrival. Contact an Iraqi embassy or consulate for details.
There are security checkpoints throughout Iraq. Follow the instructions of officials at checkpoints. Criminals and terrorists have used false security checkpoints to stage kidnappings, robberies and murders or launch attacks.
The local currency is the Iraqi Dinar (IQD). US dollars and euros are the easiest foreign currencies to exchange. Do this at commercial banks and exchange bureaus.
Road travel is dangerous. Risks include roadside bombs, attacks at checkpoints and robberies. If you need to travel by road, get professional security advice from a reputable company.
Airport closures or flight suspensions may occur with little notice. Check your flights well in advance. Aviation safety and security standards may not meet those set by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Full travel advice: Travel
The Consular Services Charter details what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Our ability to provide consular services in Iraq is extremely limited.
The Australian Embassy in Baghdad provides limited consular services by appointment only. Make an appointment online.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
The security situation is unstable. It could worsen with little warning.
If there are no commercial options for leaving Iraq, the Australian Government can't help you leave.
In May 2019, the US State Department ordered all non-emergency US Government employees to leave Iraq. This includes staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Erbil.
Curfews and other security conditions can change at short notice.
If, despite our advice, you travel to or stay in Iraq:
get professional security advice and regularly review your security measures
have contingency plans
never visit areas of military activity, including border areas
obey restrictions set by local authorities
monitor the media for new safety or security threats
always be alert to your surroundings
Leave Iraq as soon as possible.
Australian officials have adopted enhanced security measures.
Armed opposition groups are active throughout Iraq. They have staged large, coordinated attacks against the Government of Iraq and civilians.
These groups have killed and injured 1000s of people in many parts of Iraq, especially in the provinces of:
There has also been fighting between armed groups and Peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan region.
Terrorist attacks occur often and without warning.
Attacks may target or happen during political events. This includes international meetings and conferences or political rallies.
Religious events, including Ramadan, Ashura and Arba'een, have also been targeted.
Iraqi security forces, supported by international partners, have made recent military gains against armed opposition groups, including Islamic State (IS). However, sporadic attacks still occur across Iraq.
Targets for terrorist attacks include:
Iraqi security forces
Terrorists also target:
Baghdad International Airport and public transport
mosques and churches
markets, schools and universities
funerals and religious gatherings
other civilian infrastructure
In the Kurdistan region, terrorists targeted official buildings in Erbil in 2018.
In September 2018, the International Zone in Baghdad was targeted by rocket attacks.
Iraqi security forces often conduct security operations across the country with little warning.
Coalition forces conduct targeted airstrikes against militants.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
There's a very high threat of kidnapping.
Terrorists may be planning to kidnap expats working in Iraq. Journalists and humanitarian workers are at particular risk.
Many foreigners have been kidnapped and murdered. Criminal gangs demand large ransoms for releasing hostages.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Large violent protests in Baghdad and other cities across Iraq have been taking place since 1 October 2019. Security forces have used tear gas, water cannons and live ammunition against protesters.
Roads in Baghdad, including the main route to the airport, may be closed. Security restrictions, including curfews and interruption to internet and social media service, may occur with little notice.End of added content
Political rallies and protests often happen in Baghdad and other regions of Iraq. Large crowds can quickly gather and turn violent. Avoid large public gatherings.
Most rallies and protests are held in Tahrir Square or near government buildings.
In September 2018, protests in Basrah became violent. Several protesters died and many more were injured.
In April and May 2016, protesters accessed the International Zone. This is where diplomatic missions are located. The protesters demonstrated at the Parliament, Cabinet Office and Prime Minister's office.
The Kurdistan Regional Government held a referendum on independence from Iraq in September 2017. This led to tensions in the Kurdistan region and neighbouring areas, including Kirkuk Province.
If, despite our advice, you travel to or stay in Iraq, monitor the media and other sources about possible unrest.
If you're in an affected area, stay indoors and follow the advice of local authorities or your security provider.
Violent crime and corruption are common. Many kidnappings, murders and robberies occur.
Organised criminal gangs, militia and tribal groups are significant threats.
If, despite our advice, you travel to Iraq:
travel with your vehicle's doors locked and windows up, even when moving
secure your accommodation, even when you're in it
always be alert to your surroundings
Some fraudulent websites and Facebook accounts in the past claimed to represent the Australian Government in Iraq. They approached local businesses for tender opportunities.
Tell the Australian Embassy in Baghdad if you're contacted by fake sites.
Some Australian businesses have been contacted by companies claiming to be Iraqi importers. They offer to do business in unusual or suspicious ways. Scammers may have knowledge of the industry and appear legitimate.
Get legal advice if you or your company is contacted.
Australian companies have been contacted by people claiming to represent the Government of Iraq. They are looking for payments associated with recently won contracts.
Get advice from the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Canberra before making any payments.
Sandstorms and dust storms are common.
From July to September, daytime temperatures reach over 40°C. Temperatures are often above 50°C.
If, despite our advice, you travel to or stay in Iraq and there's a natural disaster:
secure your passport in a safe location
monitor local media and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
follow the advice of local authorities
stay in touch with friends and family
The Government of Iraq has started improving the structural integrity of Mosul Dam.
A dam failure would cause significant flooding from Mosul to Baghdad. It could interrupt essential services.
A failure of the Mosul Dam cannot be predicted.
If, despite our advice, you travel to or stay in Iraq and you're in an area near the Tigris River, including Baghdad:
monitor local media reports
have a contingency plan that covers evacuation
The Australian Government can't help you if commercial flights and other transport options aren't available.
If the Mosul Dam fails:
secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location
follow the advice of local authorities
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
You'll probably need a special insurance policy that covers travel to high-risk destinations. Most Australian policies won't cover you for travel to Iraq.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need.
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Iraq. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating:
what the medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use only
Insect-borne diseases are common.
Malaria is widespread in the southern province of Basrah and areas below 1500m. This includes the northern provinces of:
To protect yourself from disease:
make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
always insect repellent
wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
Consider taking medicine to prevent malaria.
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
HIV/AIDS is common. Take steps to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus.
The World Health Organization has confirmed human cases of bird flu in Iraq.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases happen. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
drink boiled or bottled water
avoid ice cubes
don't eat raw and undercooked food, such as salads
avoid contact with dogs and other mammals
If an animal bites or scratches you, get medical help straight away.
Get medical advice if you have a fever or have diarrhoea.
Iraq is no longer affected by wild poliovirus. However, it's still at risk from international spread of the disease.
Stay up to date with vaccinations against polio (poliomyelitis). Get a booster dose before you travel.
Health facilities in major cities are limited. In remote areas, they're very basic or not available. Stocks of medical equipment and medicines are severely depleted.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated.
Medical evacuation is very expensive. It may be difficult to arrange because of the security situation.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe. They include long jail terms and the death penalty.
The death penalty can be applied for murder, treason, drug and terrorism-related offences.
Get professional advice for local legal matters. Know your rights and responsibilities, especially in family law, such as:
It's illegal to:
drink-drive or drink alcohol in public
eat or drink in public between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan
take antiques or artefacts out of the country
preach anywhere except in a place of worship
attempt to convert a Muslim
abandon the Islamic faith, if you're Muslim
Unauthorised filming in a public place is against the law. Authorities have arrested several foreign journalists for filming without approval.
It's also illegal to take photos or film government and security buildings, including:
Although the laws of Iraq do not prohibit consensual sexual acts between people of the same sex these acts could be illegal under other provisions of the law, such as public indecency. Homosexuality is not socially accepted and there are no legal protections against discrimination. Violence against LGBTI people occur.
Local laws can change without notice. Check legal requirements with an embassy or consulate of Iraq.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Unless you have a legitimate reason, it's against the law for Australians to enter or remain in the Mosul district and Ninewa province.
The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs has declared Mosul an area where a terrorist organisation is taking part in a war-like activity.
Iraq recognises dual nationality.
If a dual-national child has an Iraqi father and the child wants to leave the country, you may need proof of the father's permission.
Hotels may not allow couples to stay unless you can prove you're married.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is likely to be between late April and late May in 2020.
During Ramadan, take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs.
Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public or in front of people who are fasting.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
If you're in Iraq, leave straight away. See Safety
If you travel to Iraq despite our advice, you'll need a visa before you arrive. The Government of Iraq issues visas.
Authorities may arrest you for immigration offences if you enter Iraq without a valid visa.
Australian travellers arriving through Erbil International Airport or Sulaymaniyah International Airport may be eligible for a 30-day visa on arrival.
This visa is only valid for travel within the region the Kurdistan Regional Government administers. It's not accepted for travel to other areas of Iraq.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. For details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules, contact either:
For a child travelling without a parent, the guardian must carry documentation saying that the child's parents allow the travel.
An Australian-Iraqi dual national child with an Iraqi father may need to prove permission from the child's father before authorities will let them leave Iraq.
If despite our advice, you travel to border areas note that border crossings can close with little or no warning.
Security checkpoints are stationed throughout Iraq.
At these checkpoints:
follow the instructions of local authorities
exercise extreme caution
Criminals and terrorists have used false security checkpoints to:
stage kidnappings, robberies and murders
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who want to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
2The local currency is the Iraqi Dinar (IQD).
On exit and entry you must declare all amounts in excess of IQD200,000, $USD10,000, or the same amount in other foreign currencies. Gems, jewellery or other items valued at USD10,000 or more must also be declared.
US dollars and euros are the easiest foreign currencies to exchange at local commercial banks and exchange bureaus.
Road travel is dangerous.
attacks at checkpoints
drivers not following road rules
Drink driving is illegal. See Local laws
If, despite our advice, you need to travel by road, first:
get professional security advice from a company with a good reputation
arrange personal security measures
make contingency plans
get local advice on possible routes
Airport closures or flight suspensions may happen.
Double-check flight arrangements before travelling to the airport.
In the past, some airlines have suspended flights to and from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah International Airports due to political tensions.
Aviation safety and security standards may not meet those set by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Iraq's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Consular services are severely limited due to the security situation.
The Australian Embassy provides limited consular services by appointment only.
Visit the embassy website to make an appointment.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.