The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • Anbar province
  • Ninewah province
  • Salah-ah din province
  • Diyala province
  • Tam’mim (Kirkuk) province

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Iraq, including the Kurdistan region.

If you’re currently in Anbar, Ninewah, Salah-Al-Din, Diyala or Tam’mim (Kirkuk) provinces you should leave now.

This advice follows attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on towns to the south west of Erbil on 6-7 August 2014. Coalition forces, including the UK, continue to conduct targeted airstrikes against ISIL in northern and western Iraq. Following advances in June 2014, ISIL and other armed groups now control parts of Iraq, particularly in Anbar, Ninewah, Salah-Al-din and Diyala provinces.

The security situation throughout Iraq remains uncertain, and could deteriorate quickly. You should monitor media reporting and make sure you have robust contingency plans in place.

Following fighting in Ninewah province, large numbers of displaced persons have travelled to Dohuk province in the Kurdistan Region, joining other displaced persons already taking refuge there. If you are travelling to this region you should factor this in to your planning.

On 15 March 2015, several rockets landed on the outskirts of Erbil, to the west of the city. No injuries were reported but some carriers have suspended flights to and from Erbil airport. If you’re planning to travel to Erbil check with your airline or travel company to confirm your itinerary.

On 26 January 2015, a Fly Dubai aircraft was struck by gunfire on approach to Baghdad International Airport. No injuries were reported. As a result some carriers have suspended flights until further notice. If you’re planning to travel to Baghdad, check with your airline or travel company to confirm your itinerary.

If you travel to those parts of Iraq to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel:

  • consider your security arrangements carefully and take all necessary security precautions, including contingency plans. Outside of the Kurdistan Region, you should employ a professional security company. See Local travel

  • avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people; if you become aware of any nearby violence, leave the area immediately

There is a high threat of terrorism including kidnapping across Iraq. Terrorist groups operating in Iraq routinely use kidnapping as a tactic. Westerners continue to be targeted and many terrorists in Iraq view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets. If you travel to Iraq to fight, and your activities amount to offences against UK terrorism legislation, you could be prosecuted on return to the UK.

There was a marked increase in the number of terrorist attacks in Iraq in 2013, and this trend continued in 2014. Although terrorist incidents have been less frequent in the Kurdistan Region the situation could deteriorate rapidly. See Terrorism

The British Embassy in Baghdad and the British Consulate-General in Erbil are able to offer limited consular assistance only.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

According to Iraqi law you must get a visa before you travel. You can apply for a visa at Iraqi missions overseas, contact the Iraqi Embassy in London.

Immigration officials at airports in the Kurdistan region of Iraq routinely allow travellers to get a visa on arrival. These visa are only valid for 15 days. The government of Iraq doesn’t regard them as valid for travel elsewhere in Iraq.