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Country Profile

Iraq

In 2005, Iraqi citizens adopted a new constitution and participated in legislative elections to create a permanent, democratic government, and in May 2006, a new Government of Iraq (GOI), led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was sworn in. Although the GOI has made political, economic and security progress, Iraq still faces many challenges, including overcoming three decades of war and government mismanagement that stunted Iraq's economy, sectarian and ethnic tensions that have slowed progress toward national reconciliation, and ongoing (even if abating) insurgent, sectarian, criminal, and terrorist violence. Conditions in Iraq are extremely dangerous. While Iraqi Security Forces now take the lead in providing security in most provinces, Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) continues to assist the Iraqi government in providing security in many areas of the country. The workweek in Iraq is Sunday through Thursday. Visit the Department of State Background Notes on Iraq for the most current visa information.

Iraq

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Iraq
Continent: Asia (Middle East)
Capital City: Baghdad
Boundary Countries: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey.
Recommended Hospitals in Capital: Global Med USA
Main Cities: Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul, Al Basrah, Al Kut, Umm Qasr, An Najaf, Ar Ramadi, Ar Rutbah, Karbala, An Nasiriyah, Samarra, Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah
Country Size: 437,072 sq km
Population: 27,499,638

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian.

Currency: New Iraqi Dinar (NID) as of 22 January 2004
Predominant Religions:

Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Chrisian or other 3%

National Holidays: Revolution Day, 17 July (1968); note- this holiday was celebrated under Sddam Husayn regime; the Government of Iraq has yet to declare a new holiday
Economic Status:

Three decades of war and government mismanagement stunted Iraq's economy, leading to increased crime and poverty. Infrastructure is antiquated. Iraq's economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings.

Security:

Iraqi Armed Forces: Iraqi Army (includes Iraqi Special Operations Force, Iraqi Intervention Force), Iraqi Navy (former Iraqi Coastal Defense Force, Iraqi Air Force (former Iraqi Army Air Corps).

US Presence:

US citizens may contact the consular section of the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq located in the International Zone via their e-mail address at usconsulbaghdad@state.gov, via telephone 1-240-553-0589  (this number rings in Baghdad), or the Embassy's web site at http://iraq.usembassy.gov. The after-hours number in case of extreme emergency are Iraqna 07901-732-134 or GSM 914-822-1370.

Document Requirements:

Passports valid for at least six months and visas are required for most private American citizens. An Iraqi visa may be obtained through the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, D.C. Travelers should not rely on obtaining a visa upon arrival at an airport or port of entry in any region of Iraq. Visitors to Iraq who plan to stay for more than 10 days must obtain a no-fee residency stamp. In Baghdad, the stamps are available for all visitors at the main Residency Office near the National Theater.

Travelers arriving to Iraq via the Kurdistan Region are required to obtain a visa through the Iraqi Embassy.  Immigration officials in the Kurdistan Regional Governorate (KRG) routinely allow Americans to enter Iraq without a valid visa, however, the airport-issued visa is not valid outside of the KRG and Americans will not be permitted to travel within Iraq with the KRG-issued document.  In addition, it is difficult for Americans to obtain residency authorization outside the KRG without first obtaining a valid Iraqi visa.  Americans working or living in Iraq without a valid visa are strongly advised to depart Iraq and obtain a valid Iraqi visa at a Government of Iraq Embassy or Consulate.

There is a 10,000 Iraqi dinar (USD 8) penalty for visitors who do not obtain the required residency stamp. In order to obtain a residency stamp, applicants must produce valid credentials or proof of employment, two passport-sized photos, and HIV test results. An American citizen who plans to stay longer than two months must apply at the Residency Office for an extension. Americans traveling to Iraq for the purpose of employment should check with their employers and with the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, D.C. for any special entry or exit requirements related to employment. American citizens whose passports reflect travel to Israel may be refused entry into Iraq or may be refused an Iraqi visa, although to date there are no reported cases of this occurring.

U.S. citizens who remain longer than 10 days must obtain an exit stamp at the main Residency Office before departing the country. In Baghdad, they are available for all visitors at the main Residency Office near the National Theater. Contractors in the International Zone may also obtain exit stamps at the Karadah Mariam Police Station (available Sunday and Wednesday, 10:00-14:00). Exit stamp fees vary from USD 20 to USD 200, depending on the length of stay, entry visa and other factors. Those staying fewer than 10 days do not need to get an exit stamp before passing through Iraqi immigration at the airport. Visitors who arrive via military aircraft but depart on commercial airlines must pay a USD 80 departure fee at the airport.

Iraq does not allow visitors with HIV/AIDS to enter the country. At this time there is no waiver available for this ineligibility. However, please inquire directly with the Embassy of Iraq  before you travel for any changes.

Visit the Iraqi Embassy website  for the most current visa information. The Embassy is located at 1801 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; phone number is 202-742-1600; the fax is 202-333-1129.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  110, Airports w/paved runways:  77

Baghdad International Airport (SDA/ORBI)
Baghdad Airport, Iraq, PO Box 23006, Baghdad, IRAQ
Tel: +964 (0)1 886 3999
Fax: +964 (0)1 888 0187, +964 (0)1 887 8430

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

US Department of State TRAVEL WARNING  Issued 23 Jul 2007, Updated 13 Jun 2008.  The complete warning is available on the US Dept of State website at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_921.html.

 

June 13, 2008
This Travel Warning updates the current security situation and reiterates the dangers of the use of civilian aircraft and of road travel within Iraq. This supersedes the Travel Warning of July 23, 2007.
The Department of State continues to strongly warn US citizens against travel to Iraq, which remains very dangerous. Remnants of the former Baath regime, transnational terrorists, criminal elements and numerous insurgent groups remain active throughout Iraq. Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)-led military operations continue, and attacks persist against MNF-I and the ISF throughout the country. Turkish government forces have carried out operations against elements of the Kongra-Gel (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK)) terrorist group that are located along Iraq’s northern border.
Despite recent improvements in the security environment, Iraq remains dangerous, volatile and unpredictable. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or “Green”) Zone. Targets include hotels, restaurants, police stations, checkpoints, foreign diplomatic missions, and international organizations and other locations with expatriate personnel. Such attacks can occur at any time.  Kidnappings still occur; the most recent kidnapping of an American citizen occurred in August 2007.  Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs), and mines often are placed on roads, concealed in plastic bags, boxes, soda cans, dead animals, and in other ways to blend with the road.  Grenades and explosives have been thrown into vehicles from overpasses, particularly in crowded areas. Rockets and mortars have been fired at hotels, and vehicle-borne IEDs have been used against targets throughout the country. Occasionally, US Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to certain areas depending on prevailing security conditions. In addition to terrorist and criminal attacks, sectarian violence occurs often. Detailed security information is available on the Embassy's web site at http://iraq.usembassy.gov and at http://www.centcom.mil.
Military aircraft arriving and departing from Baghdad International Airport (ORBI) have been subjected to small arms and missile fire. Travelers choosing to utilize civilian aircraft to enter or depart Iraq should be aware that, although there have been no recent attacks on civilian aircraft, the potential threat still exists, as well as does the high risk to road transportation described above. Official US Government (USG) personnel are strongly encouraged to use US military or other USG aircraft when entering or departing Iraq. All personnel serving in Iraq under Chief of Mission (COM) authority are prohibited from entering or departing ORBI on commercial airlines unless approved by the Regional Security Office (RSO) on a case-by-case basis. Other personnel not under COM authority must be guided by their own agency.
The Embassy is located in the International Zone. The Embassy can provide only limited emergency services to US citizens in Iraq. The US Government considers the potential threat to US Government personnel assigned to Iraq sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. At present, travel to and from the International Zone is extremely limited. Unofficial travel to Iraq by US Government employees and their family members requires prior approval by the Department of State.  The US Embassy does not provide visa services to the general public. American citizens who choose to visit or reside in Iraq despite this Travel Warning are urged to take responsibility for their personal security, avoid crowds, especially rallies or demonstrations, and to inform the US Embassy of their presence in Iraq. All Americans in Baghdad are strongly encouraged to register with the Embassy at the following website: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp.
American citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about Iraq by contacting the US Embassy, located in the International Zone, via landline at: 1-240-553-0589, via Iraqna cellular phones at 07901-191-0058/57/56/54/53/52/49/48, via e-mail to baghdadacs@state.gov, or by accessing the US Embassy's website at http://iraq.usembassy.gov. The after-hours numbers in cases of extreme emergency is 011-964-770-443-2594 (from the US) or 964 0770-443-2594 (within Iraq.)
Updated information on travel and security in Iraq may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or for callers outside the United States, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Iraq, as well as the Worldwide Caution, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov/.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  47.04 deaths/ 1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 69.31 years  (male 68.04/ female 70.65).

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None
Recommended:  Malaria, Hep A & B, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters:  MMR, DPT, poliovirus

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is reported throughout the area; visceral leishmaniasis, although rare throughout most of the area, is common in central Iraq. Many cases of leishmaniasis have been reported in the US military in Iraq.

Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from this region) include schistosomiasis.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Basic modern medical care and medicines are not widely available in Iraq. The recent conflict in Iraq has left some medical facilities non-operational and medical stocks and supplies severely depleted. The facilities in operation do not meet US standards, and the majority lack medicines, equipment and supplies. Because the Baghdad International Airport has limited operations for security reasons, it is unlikely that a private medical evacuation can be arranged.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 1
Referrals: 1
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Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

AVIAN INFLUENZA: The WHO and Iraqi authorities have confirmed human cases of the H5NI strain of avian influenza, commonly known as the "bird flu."

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +964
Internet Country Code:  .iq

 



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