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Iraq Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT +3

Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are standard.

Language

Arabic is the majority language, Kurdish is spoken by approximately 15-20% of the population. English is spoken by most businessmen.

Travel Health

There are a few health risks to consider when travelling to Iraq. Travellers are recommended to be vaccinated against polio and typhoid. Malaria is a risk in some parts of the country, and cholera outbreaks also occur. Yellow fever certificates are required by those arriving from an infected country in Africa or the Americas. Tap water should not be drunk, including ice in drinks, and food precautions should be taken. Healthcare facilities are limited, especially in rural areas. Travellers are advised to have full medical insurance and to consult with their medical practitioner prior to travel.

Safety Information

All but essential travel to Iraq is advised against. Travel within Iraq remains very dangerous given the security situation.

Local Customs

The overwhelming majority of Iraqi citizens are devout Muslims, and travellers to the region should be aware that the Koran still provides the basis for many of the country's social mores and customs. Conservative dress (covering the arms and legs) and reserved public behaviour are the norms, and drinking it in public is taboo. Photography is becoming more socially accepted, although travellers should exercise caution whenever using their camera ('Ask First' is probably a good rule to abide by, and don't photograph military installations or personnel). It is considered rude to show the soles of your feet or shoes, and to touch or move objects with your feet. Visitors should also avoid using their left hand when greeting others, or when eating, as it is considered 'haram' (impure). During the month of Ramadan, do not eat, drink or smoke in public places between the hours of sunrise and sunset, as it is bound to offend local sensibilities. Finally, it might be useful for travellers to bear in mind that in Iraq, an indirect communication style is favoured, with politeness and deference (especially to one's elders) being highly valued.

Business

Most Iraqi businessmen speak English and are polite and conservative in their manner. The same respect is expected in return. Exchanging business cards is normally restricted to senior business figures and it is advisable to have a translation of details on the alternate side. Appointments should be made and punctuality is expected for business meetings. Dress is formal and conservative and though Iraqis do not wear ties, it is not negative for foreigners to do so. Women should dress modestly and cover their hair. Business gifts are quite acceptable. Friday is the Muslim holy day when everything is closed, and most businesses also close on Thursday. During Ramadan business hours may be shortened.

Communications

The international dialling code for Iran is +964. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom).

Duty Free

Travellers to Iraq may import the following goods tax-free: up to 200 cigarettes/50 cigars/250g of tobacco, one litre of wine or spirits, 500ml of perfume in open bottles, and gifts valued to US$28. Total value of duty-free goods must not exceed ID100. It is also advised not to bring magazines, films or books contrary to country norms.

Become our Iraq Travel Expert

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