Iraq

Iraq Flag
Warning: The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against traveling to Iraq. Conditions within the country remain unsettled and dangerous.

In addition, the Department of the Treasury prohibits all travel-related transactions by U.S. persons intending to visit Iraq, unless specifically licensed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The only exceptions to this licensing requirement are for journalistic activity or for U.S. government or United Nations business.

The categories of individuals eligible for consideration for a special passport validation are set forth in 22 C.F.R. 51.74. Passport validation requests for Iraq should be forwarded in writing to the following address:

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services
U.S. Department of State
1111 19th Street, N.W., Suite 260
Washington, D.C. 20522-1705
Attn: Office of Passport Policy and Advisory Services
Telephone: (202) 955-0231 or 955-0232
Fax: (202) 955-0230

The request must be accompanied by supporting documentation according to the category under which validation is sought. Currently, the four categories of persons specified in 22 C.F.R. 51.74 as being eligible for consideration for passport validation are as follows:

[a] Professional reporters: Includes full-time members of the reporting or writing staff of a newspaper, magazine or broadcasting network whose purpose for travel is to gather information about Iraq for dissemination to the general public.

[b] American Red Cross: Applicant establishes that he or she is a representative of the American Red Cross or International Red Cross traveling pursuant to an officially-sponsored Red Cross mission.

[c] Humanitarian considerations: Applicant must establish that his or her trip is justified by compelling humanitarian considerations or for family unification. At this time, "compelling humanitarian considerations" include situations where the applicant can document that an immediate family member is critically ill in Iraq. Documentation concerning family illness must include the name and address of the relative, and be from that relative's physician attesting to the nature and gravity of the illness. "Family unification" situations may include cases in which spouses or minor children are residing in Iraq, with and dependent on, an Iraqi national spouse or parent for their support.

[d] National interest: The applicant's request is otherwise found to be in the national interest.

In all requests for passport validation for travel to Iraq, the name, date and place of birth for all concerned persons must be given, as well as the U.S. passport numbers. Documentation as outlined above should accompany all requests. Additional information may be obtained by writing to the above address or by calling the Office of Passport Policy and Advisory Services at [202] 955-0231 or 955-0232.

U.S. Treasury Restrictions: In August 1990 President Bush issued Executive Orders 12722 and 12724, imposing economic sanctions against Iraq including a complete trade embargo. The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control administers the regulations related to these sanctions, which include restrictions on all financial transactions related to travel to Iraq. These regulations prohibit all travel-related transactions, except as specifically licensed. The only exceptions to this licensing requirement are for persons engaged in journalism or in official U.S. government or U.N. business. Questions concerning these restrictions should be addressed directly to:

Licensing Section
Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Washington, D.C. 20220
Telephone: (202) 622-2480
Fax: (202) 622-1657

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Hostilities in the Gulf region ceased on February 27, 1991. United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, adopted on April 3, 1991, set terms for a permanent cease-fire, but conditions in Iraq remain unsettled. Travel in Iraq is extremely hazardous, particularly for U.S. citizens.

Regional conflicts continue in northern Iraq between Kurdish ethnic groups and Iraqi security forces. In southern Iraq, governmental repression of the Shia communities is severe.

U.S. citizens in Kuwait working near the Kuwait-Iraq border are in jeopardy of detention by Iraqi security personnel. In 1992 and 1993, a number of U.S. citizens and other foreigners working near the Kuwait-Iraq border were detained by Iraqi authorities for lengthy periods under harsh conditions.

Medical Facilities: Basic modern medical care and medicines may not be available. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proved useful. The international travelers hotline at the Centers for Disease Control, telephone (404) 332-4559, has additional useful health information.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Reports of crime in Iraq are increasing, especially in the larger cities. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police, and the U.S. Interests Section or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa." They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Terrorism: Tension in the Persian Gulf region remains high because of continuing Iraqi defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. As a result, the risk of terrorism directed against U.S. citizens in Iraq remains a continuing concern.

Registration: There is no U.S. Embassy in Iraq. The U.S. government is not in a position to accord normal consular protective services to U.S. citizens who, despite this warning, are in Iraq. U.S. Government interests are represented by the Government of Poland, which, as a protecting power, is able to provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens.

Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Iraq. The U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Poland is located opposite the Foreign Ministry Club (Masbah Quarter); P.O. Box 2447 Alwiyah, Baghdad, Iraq. The telephone number is (964) (1) 719-6138, 719-6139, 719-3791, 718-1840.

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