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: 20 April 2014

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

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the districts of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province. There are reports of clashes between security forces and militants in parts of Anbar province, including heavy fighting in Fallujah.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Iraq, except the Kurdistan region.

If you intend to travel to those parts of Iraq to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should employ a professional security company and take all necessary security precautions.

You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby violence, leave the area immediately.

There is a high threat of terrorism including kidnapping. There was a marked increase in the number of terrorist attacks across Iraq in 2013. While terrorist incidents are less frequent in the Kurdistan region, there have been attacks in September and December 2013, and in January 2014.

The threat of terrorist activity is likely to increase in the run up to national elections, which are scheduled to take place on 30 April. You should remain vigilant in the run up to elections and during the election period.

Foreign journalists have been banned from entering al Anbar province unless they have specific approval from the relevant authorities (including the Iraqi Ministry of Defence and the Anbar Operations Command Centre). International and local journalists have previously been detained in Iraq due to allegations of inadequate paperwork. Journalists should exercise extreme caution and take adequate security measures.

Seek local advice before travelling to the remote areas bordering Turkey, where there have been incidents of shelling, unexploded ordnance and mines.

Armed groups operate along the border between Iraq and Syria, which has led to violent incidents at some border crossings.

The British Embassy in Baghdad and the British Consulate-General in Erbil are able to offer limited consular assistance only.

You must get a visa before you travel. You can apply for a visa at Iraqi missions overseas, contact the Iraqi Embassy in London.

If you’re only travelling to the Kurdistan Region, you can get a visa on arrival, but this will not be valid for the rest of Iraq.

Edited by Jane Duru
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