US Travel Warning

Unrest in Syria has resulted in large numbers of people seeking refuge in the area. Iranian authorities previously detained, for an extended period, U.S. citizens who were hiking in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) in the vicinity of the Iranian border.  The resources available to the U.S. Embassy to assist U.S. citizens who venture close to or cross the border with Iran are extremely limited. The Department of State discourages travel in close proximity to the Iranian border.

The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services to U.S. citizens throughout Iraq, including Baghdad, is particularly limited given the security environment.  The U.S. Consulates in Basrah and Kirkuk cannot provide routine services such as passport applications, extra visa pages, and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.  U.S. citizens in need of these services in Erbil must make an appointment with the Consulate on-line, either through the Embassy’s website or the website for the Consulate in Erbil.  The Embassy's website includes consular information and the most recent messages to U.S. citizens in Iraq.  U.S. citizens in Iraq who need emergency assistance should call 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888.

For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis,” please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis link.  Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. citizens who choose to visit or reside in Iraq despite this Travel Warning are urged to take responsibility for their own personal security and belongings (including their U.S. passports) and to avoid crowds, especially rallies or demonstrations.  U.S. citizens who choose to travel in Iraq should be aware that Iraqi authorities have arrested or detained U.S. citizens whose purpose of travel is not readily apparent.  Persons also have been detained for taking photographs of buildings, monuments, or other sites, especially in the IZ in Baghdad.

All U.S. citizens in Iraq, including those working on contract for the U.S. government, are urged to inform the U.S. Embassy of their presence in Iraq by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain updated travel information.  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to provide updated security information or to contact them in emergencies.  The Embassy also offers SMS text alerts delivered to your mobile phone when new security and emergency messages are released.

U.S. citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about Iraq by contacting the U.S. Embassy, located in the International Zone, via email, or by accessing U.S. Embassy Baghdad's website.  The after-hours emergency numbers are 011-964-770-443-1286 or 011-964-770-030-4888 (from the United States) or 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888 (within Iraq).  As cell phone service is unreliable in Iraq, emergency calls may also be placed through the Department of State at 1-888-407-4747.

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

(Source: US Embassy)

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