Last updated: 20 Sep 2021

Iraq

About

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.
Official Name: Republic of Iraq
Local Name: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
Capital:  Baghdad (BGW / SDA)
Currency:  Iraqi Dinar (IQD)
Language:  Arabic (official). Other languages spoken include Kurdish, Persian, Chaldean, Assyrian and Armenian. English is widely spoken in urban areas.
Dialling code from SA:  + 964
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2021: 

Jan 1, 6; May 1, 13-15; Jul 13, 20-23; Aug 10, 19; Oct 3, 19; Dec 10, 25

Side of the Road: Right. Driving is not recommended, except in military convoy. Mines and IED’s are present on some roads. 
Plugs:  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.
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Milk is unpasteurised. 
Health: Medical facilities are very limited. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies.  Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: As a predominately Islamic country, dress should always be conservative: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms, legs and heads covered. Drinking alcohol in public should be avoided.  Photography us becoming more accepted, but it is advisable to ask permission before taking photos. People should not be photographed. The right hand should be used to greet, eat and exchange items. Respect to religious customs should also be shown during the month of Ramadan – avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public. In Kurdistan, social conventions are more relaxed and women do not have as strict a dress code. 
Local Offences / Laws: It is illegal to photograph military personnel and government buildings. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Check the local political situation before travelling – in general, only essential travel is recommended. Hotels may require payment in foreign currency. Banking infrastructure has been subject to disruption. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Iraq without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 25 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 250g of tobacco
• 1L of spirits
• 2L of fortified wine
• 2L of wine
• 8L of beer
Residents of Iraq may import goods up to the value of ID500,000 within a 72-hour period. There is no specific value for non-residents, provided the goods are for personal use.
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited imports include magazines, films and videos 'contrary to public norms', arms and ammunition, explosives and narcotics. Restricted imports include non-military explosives, industrial materials used in explosive devices such as fertiliser, and fowl or poultry products from countries with outbreaks of avian influenza.
Prohibited Exports: Prohibited exports include magazines, films and videos 'contrary to public norms', historical artefacts, arms and ammunition, explosives and narcotics.  Restricted exports include non-military explosives, certain foodstuffs (e.g. sugar, tea and wheat), animals (excluding household pets), bar soap and detergents (other than for personal use), and certain manufactured goods (e.g. steel and wood), and date palm seedlings and shoots.

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 14/09/2021

Iraq is open for travel from some countries with various health measures in place. Passengers may be subject to further testing on arrival.

Entry restrictions

  • Passengers travelling from India are not permitted to travel to Iraq.
    • This does not apply to Iraqi nationals, who must sign a pledge to quarantine for 10 days on arrival. This also does not apply to diplomats and employees of international organisations, provided they hold a negative PCR test obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival.
  • Passengers who have been in India since 20 April 2021 are not permitted to travel to the Kurdistan region in Iraq.
    • This does not apply to nationals of Iraq, who will be tested for Covid-19 on arrival and must quarantine according to the Ministry of Health Regulations.

Test requirements

  • Passengers travelling to Iraq, must hold a negative PCR test certificate obtained with 72 hours prior to departure.
    • This does not apply to passengers travelling from Canada, who may instead hold a negative PCR test certificate obtained within 96 hours prior to departure.
  • Passengers travelling to the Kurdistan region in Iraq are advised to hold a negative PCR test certificate obtained within 48 hours prior to travel.

Quarantine and testing requirements

  • Passengers may be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Iraq.
  • This does not apply to the following passengers, provided they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and are not travelling from India:
    • Diplomats;
    • Official delegations;
    • Experts, technicians;
    • Workers in service projects.
  • Passengers will be subject to a PCR test at their own expense on arrival in Iraq.
  • Passengers travelling to the Kurdistan region in Iraq not holding a PCR test certificate will be subject to a PCR test on arrival at their own expense. Passengers must also sign a pledge form committing to 14 days quarantine on arrival. Passengers who violate the pledge will be fined 1 million Iraqi dinars (IQD). Passengers who test positive or are found to have infected others with Covid-19 must fund all medical costs and will be held accountable to legal procedures.
    • Official delegations, business people and tourists on short stay trips are not required to quarantine if a negative result is received.

Exit requirements

  • Passengers departing Iraq must hold a negative PCR test certificate obtained within 72 hours prior to departure, and are not permitted to depart Iraq for tourism purposes as part of a group.
  • Valid from 1st October 2021: Passengers departing Iraq must hold an International Certificate of Vaccination as proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Iraqi Embassy
803 Duncan Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria, 0181
PO Box 11089, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028
Tel: (012) 362 2048/9 Fax: (012) 362 2027
E-mail: iraqiembassy1.pretoria@gmail.com 
Web: http://mofamission.gov.iq/en/SAF

Office hours: Mon-Thur 0900 -1400 and Fri 0900-1100

Visa Requirements

Visas are required by SA passport holders.

VISAS ARE ISSUED:

• If you are a Diplomat or have a service passport
• If you would like to visit the Holy Places, confirmation from the Iraqi Authorities has to received first, BEFORE the visa is issued.
• If you have an invitation from the Iraqi Authorities.

Passengers have to apply IN PERSON - no agent can apply on their behalf and no courier services accepted

WARNING: Travellers with Israeli stamps in their passports will not be granted entry into Iraq.

REQUIREMENTS:
• Valid passport (valid 6 months after return) with 2 blank visa pages.
• Application form to be typed out.
• 2 passport size photos (colour/recent)
• Colour copy of the passport pages
• Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iraq.
• Proof of payment for the visa.
• Flight details and itinerary

Visa Processing Time

Depending how long it takes to get approval from Iraq.

Visa Cost

Single entry      USD40
Multiple entry   USD100

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever (Dependant on Country of Origin/Stopover)
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio