Iraq is a dangerous country
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The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.
Before unnecessary, tourist trips to Iraq is currently warned.
Iraq is still classified as a risk area. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides current and detailed figures.
For travelers from Germany and other countries, an entry ban applies to central Iraq. Iraqi nationals, government delegations, diplomats and employees of international organizations and unspecified experts who work on projects of public interest are excluded. The entry ban for travelers from Germany has been lifted for the Kurdistan-Iraq region.
A negative PCR test is required for all travelers when entering Iraq. The result may not be more than 72 hours old for entry. The result must be printed out in English or Arabic on arrival.
Furthermore, when entering Iraq, a PCR test is required on site, which is carried out at your own expense (50 USD in cash). For the quarantine regulations, reference is made to the current regulations of the Ministry of Health. The entry and exit options at the land borders of Iraq are still severely restricted.
Transit and onward travel
Depending on the destination and the regulations there, airlines can make the transportation of a passenger dependent on the submission of a negative PCR test.
There are limited passenger flights to and from the international airports in Baghdad and Erbil.
Restrictions in the country
Until further notice, there is a nightly curfew in central Iraq from Monday to Thursday and a full-day curfew on Friday and Saturday. There is a full curfew from May 12th to May 22nd, 2021. All shops with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies will be closed for this period. This also applies to restaurants, mosques and leisure facilities. There is a ban on assemblies.
A mask is required in public places, on public transport and in taxis; failure to comply may result in a fine.
In the Kurdistan-Iraq region, it is mandatory to wear a mask in public facilities and in public places as well as in shopping centers and markets.
Distance rules must be observed and hands must be washed regularly. Hygiene rules are not observed everywhere.
- Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities. High fines can be imposed if the hygiene regulations are violated.
- In the event of COVID-19 symptoms or contact with infected people, contact the number 122.
- Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.
- Follow the Iraqi media and find out about curfews, travel bans, test obligations, quarantine regulations, health checks and other preventive measures that may have been announced at short notice.
- Follow the instructions given by the security guards.
- When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, test and quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the responsible company or your tour operator, if necessary, and contact the health department at your place of residence or residence if you are entering from a risk area . Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.
Security - Partial Travel Warning
Before traveling to Iraq will be with the exception of the Kurdistan-Iraq region warned.
Unnecessary trips to the Kurdistan-Iraq region are not recommended due to the volatile security situation.
In January 2020, after the deaths of the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and the Chief of Staff of the Muhandis People's Mobilization Units in a US air strike in Baghdad, Iranian attacks on several military bases in central Iraq and Erbil. Since then, in the course of 2020 there have been repeated rocket fire in the so-called International Zone and areas of Baghdad International Airport. On the anniversary of the deaths of Soleimani and Muhandi ‘, the security situation could worsen again due to retaliatory actions.
- Follow local and social media.
- Avoid central infrastructure at the moment. US facilities are particularly at risk.
- Avoid demonstrations if you are in Iraq despite the partial travel warning.
- Follow the instructions given by the security guards.
The terrorist organization IS was militarily defeated on Iraqi territory at the end of December 2017. Nevertheless, there are still groups of fighters in the country who continue to pose a threat. Serious attacks and open armed conflicts between terrorist groups and security forces must continue to be expected across the country.
The security situation across Iraq remains volatile. The number of terrorist attacks, especially in northern and central Iraq, has long been very high. Persons staying in Iraq should follow media reports closely and take all necessary precautions to be able to leave the country at short notice if necessary.
The provinces of Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa (Sinjar, Mosul, border with Syria), Salah Al-Din and the north of the province of Babel are particularly dangerous.
Serious attacks and open armed conflicts between IS and Iraqi security forces must continue to be expected in these provinces. In the northern province of Ninewa there are repeated clashes between security forces and PKK-affiliated forces, which also affect civilians. The same applies to the northern border of the Kurdistan-Iraq region with Syria and Turkey. There have been attacks on the Turkish military and Turkish air strikes on PKK positions. There are also isolated battles on the border of the Kurdistan-Iraq region with Iran.
Any trip to areas with a travel warning should be based on a sound, professional safety concept. Elements of a professional security concept can include, in particular, the use of specially protected vehicles, the deployment of an appropriate number of security guards as well as expert advice from security personnel after preliminary clarification and planning of the routes.
Despite an improvement in the security situation in the capital, Baghdad, there is still a risk of serious attacks, in particular on Iraqi security institutions and their families, on ministries, hotels, public places and religious institutions. There is also a high risk of kidnappings with a terrorist or criminal background. The security situation remains volatile.
Individual sections of the capital Baghdad are particularly secured by Iraqi security forces, including the international airport of Baghdad. Attacks cannot be ruled out there either. In the past, the so-called international zone and immediately adjacent areas were repeatedly the target of mortar and rocket fire, this danger persists.
In the urban area, especially around Tahrir Square and the three Tigris bridges Jumhuriya, Sinak and al-Ahrar, protests and violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces can occur, as in the past. The protests are partially restricting freedom of movement in the city. Further outbreaks of violence in connection with the demonstrations cannot be ruled out.
- Make sure you avoid demonstrations and crowds.
Kurdistan Region Iraq
In the Kurdistan-Iraq region (Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaimaniyah / Halabja provinces) the security situation remains volatile. There is a persistently increased risk of terrorist attacks. Required trips to the region require a careful examination of the current local security situation and appropriate security measures. As a rule, the local host or relevant authorities and companies can provide practical advice on the type and scope of such security measures.
- Avoid unnecessary trips to the Kurdistan-Iraq region and only travel after checking the security situation and with adequate security measures.
- Please also note the worldwide safety information.
In Baghdad and all southern provinces, but also in isolated cases in the Kurdistan-Iraq region, there are regular protests against the government, which repeatedly lead to violence between demonstrators and security forces or, in some cases, armed groups. Hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries have meanwhile been reported in connection with these demonstrations.
In the border area with Syria, there is a risk of ongoing conflict or imprisonment if an illegal border crossing and / or a connection to terrorism is suspected.
The German diplomatic missions abroad are currently only able to provide consular assistance to an extremely limited extent. Even the state security organs cannot guarantee adequate protection or provide assistance in individual cases.
The German embassies in Iraq's neighboring states can only provide consular assistance to Germans who find themselves in an emergency in Iraq after they have crossed the border.
- Make sure you avoid demonstrations and crowds.
- Make sure you avoid border areas, especially with Syria.
- Follow the instructions given by security guards.
There is a high level of criminal violence and a high risk of kidnappings, also or in particular of foreigners and those accompanying them.
There is a risk of robbery and vehicle theft across the country, especially at night.
- Only travel with a viable, professional security concept.
- Avoid moving after dark.
- Keep your money, ID, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe.
- Always take only the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables. Be particularly vigilant in large crowds such as at airports, train stations and on the bus, and watch out for your valuables.
Nature and climate
Iraq lies in a seismically very active zone. Earthquakes of varying magnitude must be expected, especially in the north and east of the country. In November 2016, a severe earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 and in November 2017 a magnitude of 7.3 struck the border region between Iraq and Iran.
Much of the country has a desert climate with very hot summers and mild winters. In the gulf there is increased moisture, especially in the mountainous regions frost is possible. Seasonal flooding in winter and spring is possible during heavy rain, especially after periods of drought, so that roads become impassable and bridges can be damaged. Sandstorms occur year round.
- Familiarize yourself with earthquake behaviors. These are provided by the fact sheets of the German Research Center for Geosciences.
- Keep track of weather reports on a regular basis.
- Always observe prohibitions, signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.
Infrastructure / traffic
Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.
Aviation does not always meet European safety standards. Iraqi Airways is on the EU's list of unsafe airlines.
Road traffic is not safe. Bus traffic is irregular and routes are changed frequently. Traffic rules and traffic lights are very often disregarded, so that there are additional dangers that are further increased in the dark. Insurance coverage is difficult to obtain due to the high level of risk.
- As a matter of principle, avoid participating in road traffic, especially when it is dark.
The international driving license is required and is only valid in conjunction with the national German driving license.
Special rules of conduct / Ramadan
Islamic belief is part of Iraqi culture and laws. This should be taken into account in clothing and behavior, and religious and social traditions should be treated with respect.
During the fasting month of Ramadan, there will be restrictions in everyday life (e.g. during the day restaurants outside the hotels will be closed, reduced working hours at the authorities) and increased sensitivity in religious matters and in questions of respecting Islamic traditions. Eating, drinking and smoking in public are also prohibited for non-Muslims.
Strict Islamic morals apply in Iraq, and these are also reflected in criminal law.
Homosexuality is not a criminal offense in Iraq. However, social acceptance and tolerance are very different. A negative attitude or even violent attacks against LGBTIQ people are possible.
The import, acquisition, possession and consumption of drugs are prohibited. Drug and weapon offenses are punishable by long prison terms and, in serious cases, can even lead to the death penalty.
Arrest warrants from neighboring countries are being carried out in Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This can lead to extraditions to Iran and Syria in particular.
The use of a VPN network is prohibited.
In the fasting month of Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking in public is prohibited by decree during the daytime.
Violations of the security regulations, e.g. by entering the military restricted area in border areas without a special permit, unauthorized entry or photography of military installations and installations of the petroleum or petrochemical industry, will be punished by the authorities.
Money / credit cards
The Iraqi dinar (IQD) is the national currency. Withdrawing cash from ATMs and paying with credit cards are only possible in larger international hotels and shopping malls.
- You should therefore carry cash in euros or US dollars with you
Entry and customs
Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.
Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being informed beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.
Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:
- Passport: Yes
- Temporary passport: Yes
- Identity card: No
- Provisional identity card: No
- Children's passport: Yes
Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least six months at the time of entry.
German citizens need a visa to enter Iraq.
Visa must be applied for at an Iraqi diplomatic mission abroad before entering the country.
The visa requirement applies to the entire Iraqi national territory, including the Kurdistan-Iraq region and entry and exit via Iraqi border crossings, especially at the airports (including Erbil and Sulaimaniyah).
If you cross the border illegally between Iraq and neighboring countries, you can expect imprisonment and fines.
Immigration control and HIV test
All travelers to Iraq, with the exception of those entering on a tourist visa, must show an HIV and hepatitis test within 10 days of arrival. This test must be repeated every 90 days while in Iraq. Information on where the test can be carried out in Baghdad can be obtained from Baghdad Airport.
The Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin and, if necessary, the respective airline should be contacted regarding legal provisions regarding minors traveling alone.
Foreign and national currencies as well as precious metals can be imported and exported up to a value of 10,000 US dollars.
Entry into Kurdistan-Iraq with your own vehicle
When entering the Kurdistan-Iraq region with a foreign vehicle, it is common practice of the Kurdish authorities to withhold the foreign passport at the customs office at the border crossing and to issue a certificate. This certificate does not entitle you to stay in any other part of Iraq. Failure to do so can result in arrest by the Iraqi authorities. The passport will only be returned when the vehicle is re-exported.
- Do not take a foreign vehicle that has been imported into the Kurdistan region of Iraq with you to any other region of Iraq.
To enter Iraq with pets, an animal health certificate issued within a maximum of 15 days prior to the trip, a rabies vaccination certificate and evidence of further vaccinations must be presented. The rabies test must be carried out no less than 21 days after the last rabies vaccination. Furthermore, your pet should have an unencrypted and readable microchip. You can get more information, especially about the vaccinations currently required, from the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.
In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.
- As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.
No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany. All persons over the age of 9 months who are arriving from a yellow fever area or who have stayed there for more than 12 hours in transit must provide evidence of a yellow fever vaccination. Iraq itself is not a yellow fever area.
When entering Iraq from a polio area or leaving Iraq for a polio area, all travelers must provide evidence of vaccinations against poliomyelitis (polio).
- Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute's vaccination calendar up to date.
- Vaccinations against hepatitis A and polio are recommended as travel vaccinations, and also against hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies for long-term stays or special exposure.
- Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
- The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.
Malaria is caused by crepuscular and nocturnal anopheles- Mosquitoes transmitted. If left untreated, the dangerous one is particularly dangerous Malaria tropica often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay in the risk area, see Malaria leaflet.
- If you develop a fever during or even months after a corresponding trip, see your doctor as soon as possible and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.
A minimal risk of malaria exists in Iraq from May to November in the northeast of the country below 1500 m altitude, see Standing Committee on Travel Medicine (StAR) of the DTG. However, no locally acquired cases have been reported since 2009. However, since the transmitting malaria mosquito continues to occur in Iraq, there is a fundamental risk of reintroduction and re-establishment.
Therefore, to avoid malaria, protect yourself consistently against insect bites as part of exposure prophylaxis. You should pay particular attention to the following points:
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers the body (long trousers, long shirts).
- Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body in the evening and at night (malaria).
- If necessary, sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.
Drug prevention (chemoprophylaxis) is currently not recommended.
HIV / AIDS
The prevalence of HIV in the population is very low. However, there is a fundamental risk of HIV transmission through sexual contact, drug use (unclean syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusions.
- Always use condoms, especially on casual acquaintances.
Diarrheal illnesses are common travel illnesses, see information sheet on diarrheal illnesses. However, through appropriate food and drinking water hygiene, most diarrheal diseases and also cholera (see below) can be avoided. Therefore, to protect your health, please observe the following basic information:
- Only drink water of safe origin, never tap water. A previously opened bottle can be identified more easily by purchasing carbonated bottled water.
- If possible, use drinking water to wash dishes and brush your teeth when you are out and about.
- If bottled water is not available, use filtered, disinfected, or boiled water.
- Cook or peel food yourself.
- Make sure you keep flies away from your food.
- Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always before preparing and eating.
- If possible, disinfect your hands with liquid disinfectant.
Cholera is endemic to Iraq. The last outbreak with several thousand infected people occurred in the summer of 2015 in the vicinity of Baghdad. The disease is transmitted through insufficiently treated drinking water or raw food and can therefore be avoided through appropriate food and drinking water hygiene. Only a small part of the people infected with cholera get sick and of these again the majority with a comparatively mild course. The indication for a cholera vaccination is only given very rarely, usually only in the case of special exposures such as working in hospital with cholera patients, see information sheet on cholera.
- If necessary, seek advice from a tropical or travel doctor with regard to your risk profile.
Crimean Congo fever
Crimean-Congo fever is a widespread viral disease that also occurs in Iraq and can be associated with an increased tendency to bleed (hemorrhagic fever). As a rule, the disease is transmitted to humans through direct contact with the blood or meat of infected domesticated animals (e.g. cows, sheep, goats, camels) or through a tick bite. The therapy is primarily symptomatic; a positive effect is ascribed to the virus-inhibiting drug ribavirin. There is no vaccination. The risk to tourists is extremely low.
- Pay attention to protection against tick bites (body-covering clothing, sturdy shoes)
- Be careful when handling raw meat and when dealing with sick people.
MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)
This infectious disease has been causing occasional severe respiratory diseases in countries on the Arabian Peninsula since 2012. The cause is a coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the biology of which has not been conclusively clarified. Camels appear to be involved in transmission to humans. Transmissions from person to person only occurred when there was very close contact with the sick, see MERS Coronavirus leaflet.
- Avoid unnecessary contact with camels.
More infectious diseases
Schistosomiasis is endemic in some regions of Iraq. Avoid fresh water contact there.
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, echinococcosis, and rabies can occur nationwide.
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