UK, US and EU travellers are granted a 10 day visa upon arrival when entering at Erbil airport, for which there is no charge. Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.
Health and vaccinations
We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations you can also visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.
It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover, which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.
Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.
The local currency in Iraq is the Iraqi dinar. It is best to bring US dollars for exchange purposes and these should have an issue date of 2006 or later, otherwise you may find it difficult to exchange them. Many places will also accept US dollars.
It’s not difficult to change money in Iraq, either at banks or the hotels and your guide can assist with this. Iraq is very much a cash society – credit cards are not widely accepted. There are a few ATMs in larger towns – these may or may not work though so it’s best not to rely on these as a source of funds.
When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and thank you for your patience.
We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO advises against all but essential to Iraqi Kurdistan.
This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.
Sunni Arab areas of Iraq (unlike Kurdistan) have had numerous and almost continuous security issues since 2003. Kurdistan has for many years been a separate autonomous region with its borders secured by the local very sizable and competent Peshmerga (Kurdistan military). One of the key reasons both media and many governments often refer to Kurdistan as ‘The Other Iraq’ is that the region has remained relatively safe and stable over the past decades – unlike the rest of Iraq.
The Kurdish security forces are on a higher state of alert and readiness, but that is purely precautionary to insure the integrity of the region. Otherwise, there are no changes in terms of movement, control, or conduct of daily business. The border areas have received large numbers of displaced persons, but they are being held in displaced persons camps if they do not have relatives or others who can vouch for them inside of Kurdistan.
It is important to know that our local team is in constant contact with the Kurdistan security forces leadership and are well aware of the real time situation. We are also constantly evaluating our routes and destinations to ensure we are staying clear of any areas that are potentially troublesome. The safety of our travellers is paramount and we would not operate tours where we felt there was a significant risk to safety. We are operating our scheduled tours in Kurdistan for the foreseeable future, as the security situation within the Kurdistan Region is largely unchanged.
Please note that the information contained above is highly susceptible to change, and while we endeavour to keep up to date we recommend that you use this as a guide only. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Updated May 2019