Iraq is undergoing a period of transition since the end of the US-led war against Saddam Hussein's regime in March/April 2003. Most of the country's political, social, physical and economic infrastructures have, by and large, been destroyed and need to be rebuilt. The USA has formed the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) to administer the country on an interim basis, provide humanitarian aid, rebuild infrastructure and help establish a representative government. As a result of the uncertain situation, some of the following information may be unreliable or inaccurate. All travel to Iraq is ill-advised unless for relief purposes.
Holders of Israeli passports or other passports containing Israeli visas will be refused entry. In addition, Jewish passengers may be refused admission if their religion is mentioned in their passport.
Passport valid for at least 6 months from date of issue of visa required by all.
Extension Of Iraq Passport Restriction
On February 12, 2003, the Secretary of State signed a Public Notice extending for an additional one-year period the existing restriction on the use of the United States Passport for travel to, in or through Iraq. The Public Notice was published in the Federal Register on February 25, 2003.
"On February 1, 1991, pursuant to the authority of 22 U.S.C. 211a and Executive Order 11295 (31 FR 10603), and in Accordance with 22 CFR 51.73 (a)(2) and (a)(3), all United States passports, with certain exceptions, were declared invalid for travel to, in, or through Iraq unless specifically validated for such travel.
The restriction was originally imposed on the grounds that (1) armed hostilities then were taking place in Iraq and Kuwait, and (2) there was an imminent danger to the safety of United States travelers to Iraq. American citizens then residing in Iraq and American professional reporters and journalists on assignment there were exempted from the restriction on the grounds that such exemptions were in the national interest. The restriction has been extended for additional one-year periods since then, and was last extended through February 25, 2003.
"Conditions in Iraq remain hazardous for Americans. In an effort to compel Iraq to fulfill its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, the United Nations has initiated an intensive inspections program. Mounting tensions between the Iraqi regime and the international community create an increasingly hazardous atmosphere for Americans in Iraq. If hostilities were to break out, the risk to Americans would be grave. The Iraqi regime has in the past demonstrated a willingness to use violence and intimidation against foreigners to pursue its foreign policy goals, and we believe it remains prepared to do so in the future.
At the outbreak of the Gulf War, the Iraqi regime took private citizens, including American hostage and forced them to serve as "human shields" at strategic sites throughout Iraq. The Iraqi government has long asserted that it cannot ensure the safety of U.S. citizen United Nations humanitarian workers in Iraq, prompting the United Nations to remove them. Iraq regularly fires anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles at U.S. and coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, and regularly illuminates U.S. and coalition aircraft with target-acquisition radar.
The tactics Iraq uses in the repression of its own civilian population creates a high risk to innocent bystanders. In addition, U.S. citizens and other foreigners working inside Kuwait near the Iraqi borders have been detained by Iraqi authorities in the past and sentenced to lengthy jail terms for alleged illegal entry into the country.
The U.S. Interests Section at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Baghdad was temporarily closed on February 7, 2003 and no consular services are available to U.S. citizens at this time.
In light of these circumstance, and pursuant to the authorities set fort in 22 U.S.C. 211a, Executive Order 11295, and 22 CFR 51.73, I have determined that Iraq continues to be a country where "there is imminent danger to the public health or physical safety of United States travellers".
"Accordingly, United States passports shall continue to be invalid for travel to, in or through Iraq unless specifically validated for such travel under the authority of the Secretary of State. This restriction on the validity of U.S. passports for travel to, in or through Iraq shall not apply to U.S. passports held by persons resident in Iraq since February 1, 1991 or by professional reporters and journalists on assignment there.
"The Public Notice shall be effective from the date it is published in the Federal Register and shall expire at midnight on February 25, 2004, unless sooner extended or revoked by Public Notice."
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