Mosque, Samarra, Iraq
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Mosque, Samarra, Iraq

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Iraq Travel Guide

Key Facts

438,317 sq km (169,235 sq miles).


31.9 million (2013).

Population density

72.7 per sq km.





Head of state

President Jalal Talabani since 2005.

Head of government

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki since 2006.


230 volts AC, 50Hz. Various two- and three-pin plugs are in use. Electricity supplies were severely affected in the 2003 conflict and are still unreliable.

There are hopes that Iraq may have started on the path to stability. After all, civilisation as we know it once emerged from this region. Slowly, over the last several years, regional and national elections have been held, foreign troops have started to depart and the healing process looks to be underway. More optimistic Iraqi refugees have returned as security improves and foreign companies have begun to bid for the first post-war oil contracts.

Iraq is rebuilding slowly. Most of the country's political, social, physical and economic infrastructures were, by and large, destroyed during the war in 2003. However, national elections in December 2005 have brought increased stability to the country. In June 2009, after largely successful provincial elections earlier in the year, American and British troops withdrew from the streets of Iraqi towns and cities, though a limited number still remain in bases.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 29 March 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit

Local travel

British government officials serving in Iraq live and work under strict security rules. All British officials live in secure, guarded accommodation and travel with close protection teams at all times. Depending on the threat level, they may be prevented from travelling to certain areas of Iraq.

If you travel to areas of Iraq to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should take appropriate security precautions before travelling. Outside of the Kurdistan Region you are strongly advised to employ a private security company, make arrangements for secure accommodation and transport and consider pre-deployment training.

Land borders

Border crossing points with countries neighbouring Iraq may close with little or no notice. There are reports that a number of Iraqi border crossings with Syria are now under ISIL control and have been closed. 3 Saudi Arabian border guards were killed at the Arar crossing between Iraq and Saudi Arabia on 5 January. You should check in advance whether border crossings will be open before travelling through these areas.


British nationals in Baghdad should have robust contingency plans in place and continue to monitor media reporting. You should stay in close contact with your private security companies and to monitor our travel advice pages. Routes in and out of Baghdad may become blocked and airports closed or inaccessible at little or no notice. You should plan and check your routes in advance of travelling.

The Kurdistan region

The Kurdistan Region is administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government which has considerable powers of autonomy within Iraq.

While the Kurdistan Region has a different security environment to the rest of Iraq, ISIL controls territory nearby. On 15 March 2015, several rockets landed within 10km of Erbil, to the west of the city. The security situation in the Kurdistan Region could deteriorate quickly.


There are no country-wide curfews at present, but curfews and vehicle bans can be enforced at short notice, particularly around religious holidays, pilgrimages and key political dates like elections.

Advice to business

A number of UK companies visit and operate successfully in Iraq. However, movement is restricted and companies nearly always travel with close protection security teams. Specific guidance for companies seeking to do business in Iraq can be found on the UK Trade & Investment website (UKTI). UKTI are also able to put you in touch with companies operating in Iraq who offer security services.

For UK business visitors on their first few visits to Iraq, the British Embassy in Baghdad can provide accommodation and support services (like meals and laundry) on the secure Embassy compound in the International Zone. In addition, the Embassy’s mobile security teams can provide secure transportation to and from the airport, and to any meetings where an Embassy Officer is accompanying.

Air travel

Baghdad, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Basra International Airports are generally considered secure, but Baghdad International Airport has been the target of attacks in the past. you should take care within the terminals. Don’t leave Baghdad or Basra International Airports without taking adequate security precautions.

Flight schedules may change without notice. Contact your airline or travel company for the latest information before travelling.

Sea travel

Maritime facilities are under a high risk of attack. Maritime and sailing craft should take great care in the northern Persian Gulf. Vessels transiting the Gulf of Oman, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb regions may be at increased risk of attack. You should consider any regional tensions that may affect your route.

Road travel

Road travel within Iraq remains highly dangerous and there continue to be fatal roadside bombings and attacks on military and civilian vehicles. False vehicle checkpoints have been used to launch attacks. There is also a risk of carjacking and robbery.

Road traffic accidents are frequent and often result in fatalities.

Consular assistance

The British Embassy in Baghdad and the British Consulate-General in Erbil operate a limited consular service by appointment only. It is highly unlikely that the Embassy in Baghdad will be able to intervene in any Iraqi visa-related matters on entry into Iraq, travel to unsecure areas of Baghdad outside the International Zone, or make a visit to a police station in the International Zone within Baghdad or any Iraqi prison (consular staff will, however, try to make contact by telephone).