Iraq – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, COVID-19, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Iraq due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Iraq.
U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for violence and kidnapping. Terrorist and insurgent groups regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq. Attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occur in many areas of the country, including Baghdad.
Demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently. These events can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.
Public consular services at the Embassy remain suspended until further notice as a result of terrorist attacks on the Embassy compound on December 31, 2019. U.S. Consulate General Erbil remains open for routine American Citizens Services but is only able to provide limited appointments for nonimmigrant visa interviews.
On March 25, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of designated U.S. government employees from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center due to security conditions and restricted travel options as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to security concerns, U.S. Embassy personnel in Baghdad are instructed to not use Baghdad International Airport.
U.S. citizens should not travel through Iraq to Syria to engage in armed conflict, where they would face extreme personal risks (kidnapping, injury, or death) and legal risks (arrest, fines, and expulsion). The Kurdistan Regional Government stated that it will impose prison sentences of up to ten years on individuals who illegally cross the border. Additionally, fighting on behalf of and/or supporting designated terrorist organizations is a crime, which can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines in the United States.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Iraq, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Iraq:
- See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19.
- Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
- Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
- Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
- Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.
- Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
- Avoid areas of demonstrations.
- Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Iraq.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to civil unrest information.