Iraq Travel Information

The Basics

Local Customs

Although Iraq is considered less 'fundamentalist' than some of its Middle Eastern neighbours, 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 although alcohol is legal in Iraq, 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.

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.

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