Last updated: 17 December 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 www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- Anbar province
- Ninewah province
- Salah-ah din province
- Diyala province
- Tam’mim (Kirkuk) province
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Iraq, including the Kurdistan region.
If you’re currently in Anbar, Ninewah, Salah-ad-Din, Diyala or Tam’mim (Kirkuk) provinces you should leave now.
This advice follows attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on towns to the South West of Erbil on 6-7 August. The U.S. announced on 8 August that the US military has begun conducting targeted airstrikes against ISIL in northern Iraq. Following advances in June 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other armed groups now control parts of Iraq, particularly in Anbar, Ninewah, Sala-ad-din and Diyala provinces.
On 19 November an explosion near official buildings in central Erbil killed and injured a number of people.
The security situation throughout Iraq remains uncertain, and could deteriorate quickly. You should monitor media reporting and make sure you have robust contingency plans in place.
Following recent fighting in Ninewah province, large numbers of displaced persons have travelled to Dohuk province in the Kurdistan Region, joining other displaced persons already taking refuge there. If you are travelling to this region you should factor this in to your planning.
If you travel to those parts of Iraq to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel:
consider your security arrangements carefully and take all necessary security precautions, including contingency plans. Outside of the Kurdistan Region, you should employ a professional security company.
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 across Iraq. Terrorist groups operating in Iraq routinely use kidnapping as a tactic. Westerners continue to be targeted and many terrorists in Iraq view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets.
There was a marked increase in the number of terrorist attacks in Iraq in 2013, and this trend has continued in 2014. Although terrorist incidents have been less frequent in the Kurdistan Region the situation could deteriorate rapidly.
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.