Last updated: 25 Jun 2018

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 2018: 

Jan 1, 6; May 1; Jun 15-17; Jul 14; Aug 22-25; Sep 12, 21; Oct 3; Nov 21; Dec 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.

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

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Travel Health

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