From accommodation to public holidays - all you need to know about relocating to Iraq
As relocation experts, at Move One we understand how important it is to familiarize yourself with your potential new home before making the big move, and of course to have a seamless transition when settling in to your new destination.
Therefore, to make your relocation as hassle-free as possible, Move One profiles a country every month, providing an in-depth look at Relocation, Immigration, Moving and Pet Transportation issues. This month, we take a closer look at relocation to Iraq.
Known in classical antiquity as ancient Mesopotamia (the land between the rivers), Iraq is located in Western Asia, bordering Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the south, Jordan in the west, Syria in the northwest, Turkey in the north, and Iran in the east. Iraq is divided into three distinct zones: the plains, the desert in the west and southwest, and the highlands in the northeast. Although Iraq mostly consists of sandy deserts, the two rivers: Euphrates and Tigris cater to the water needs of its people. The geography of this country is diverse, from snowy mountain peaks and sandy deserts, to sea level at the Gulf. Its coastline along the Gulf is only 30 km long.
Diverse population of Iraq includes around 20 million Arabs (Shiite Muslims – 60 % and Sunni Muslims – 35 %), and Christians (3 %). About four million Kurds, non-Arab Muslims, live in the mountainous northeast. Other distinct groups are Turkomans, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Iranians, Lurs, and Armenians.
After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Transitional Administrative Law recognized the existing government of Iraqi Kurdistan Region. The Constitution of Iraq that was adopted in 2005 defined Iraq as a federal country for the first time.
The economy of this country is dominated by the oil sector. Oil production is estimated to 2,7 million barrels per day, with 2,2, million barrels being exported daily. Production of oil currently makes about 90% of foreign exchange earnings. The Iraqi Government plans to radically enhance production and export capacity in the next decade.
The second largest source of jobs and contributor to gross domestic product of Iraq is agricultural sector. Nevertheless, this sector is well below its potential in terms of land and water resources available.
The capital city of Iraq is Baghdad, which is located in the east central part of the country. The capital city of Kurdish Autonomous Region is Erbil.
Property Market in Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq caused devastation and damage to a great part of the housing sector, mainly in and around Baghdad. The UN provided construction materials through the Oil for Food Program in the attempt to respond to the crises. This program has assisted construction of approximately 64,932 housing units.
On the other hand, Iraqi Kurdistan is experiencing a property boom. This area is more secure and more opened to international investments and, consequently, the property market is recovering faster, as more people and corporations are willing to invest.
Erbil property has been one of the best investments in Iraq over the past year. In only one year, prices of real estate in Erbil have doubled. Expats living in Erbil may choose from the variety of housing options.
Health Care in Iraq
The Health Care system of Iraq was once one of the most developed in the region, with large number of medical schools, variety of advanced resources and largely accessible care. Today, Iraqi medical sector struggles with lack of professional personnel and destroyed or poorly maintained facilities.
In most urban centers, medical facilities have been rebuilt. Baghdad Medical City formerly known as Saddam Medical City is a complex of several teaching hospitals in Bab Al-Moatham. The largest hospital in the complex is the Surgical Specialties Hospital. The second largest is the Baghdad Teaching Hospital, built in the early 1970s, which contains the out patient clinics and the emergency department.
Health care system in the Kurdish Autonomous Region relays heavily on donations from abroad and the efforts of international aid organizations. Treatments may be expensive in private hospitals, and payment in advance may be required. Expats are advised to obtain medical insurance prior to departure. It is advisable to foreigners to bring any prescription medications with them and to keep it in the original container.
Main hospitals in Erbil:
Hawler Private Hospital (Cardiac Center “Local and German Team”, French orthopedic and spine Team)
Emergency Hospital, Erbil
phone: +964 662273883
Dental Care in Erbil:
Cost of living in Iraq
The cost of living in all areas in Iraq is considered very low compared to other places. All areas in Iraq are currently ranked 734 overall out of 768 places (rank 1 is most expensive: rank 768 is least expensive).
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||$4.93|
|Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant (three course)||$33.36|
|Combo Meal at McDonald’s or similar||$7.62|
|Fresh Milk (1 liter)||$1.38|
|Loaf of White Bread (500g)||$1.17|
|Lettuce (1 head)||$1.44|
|Chicken filet (1 kg)||$4.62|
|Apples (1 kg)||$2.48|
|Oranges (1 kg)||$1.56|
|Water (0.33 liter bottle)||$0.25|
|Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)||$0.48|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)||$4.50|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||$6.50|
|Bottle of Wine (mid-range)||$9.00|
|One-way Ticket (local transport)||$0.52|
|Taxi Start (normal tariff)||$0.50|
|Taxi 1km (normal tariff)||$0.83|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||$0.66|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||$32.50|
|Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat||$6.25|
Languages of Iraq
The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish. More than three fourths of people speak Arabic, which has several major dialects. Around one fifth of the population speaks Kurdish language, in one of its two main dialects. Kurdish is the official language in the Kurdish Autonomous Region.
English is the most commonly spoken foreign western language. Nevertheless, not many people speak or understand English. Therefore, it is highly advisable to learn at least some common words in local language prior to travel to Iraq.
Other languages are spoken by smaller ethnic groups, including Turkish, Turkmen, Azerbaijanian, and Syriac.
|Good day||Roj Bash|
|Good morning||Bayanit bash|
|Good afternoon||Nee-wa-rowt bash|
|Good evening||Ewarat bash|
|Good night||Shav Shad|
|Hello||Roj baş, Silaw|
|Thank you||Supaas dekem|
|How are you||Choni? /Tu chawa yi?|
|I’m fine||Chaakem / Ez bashim|
Education in Iraq
Education for local population is funded by the state. Primary education for children from 6 to 12 years of age is compulsory. Secondary education for children between 12 and 18 years of age is widely available.
In the past, many Iraqi students went abroad for university and graduate studies, mostly to United States and Europe. This practice has become uncommon following the Persian Gulf War.
Expats moving to Erbil may choose from a number of international schools in Erbil, available for foreign pupils.
International schools in Erbil:
Climate in Iraq
Most of Iraq has a continental climate with extremes of heat and cold. The north mountain region has relatively short and cool summers and rather cold winters, often with snowfalls. In the lowlands, winters are shorter and cool, and summers are long and hot.
Due to the influence of the monsoons, Iraq has a constant northwesterly wind (shamal) in summer, which brings dry air and cloudless sky. Southeasterly wind (sharqi) develops in the beginning of winter, and is often accompanied by dust storms. Hot and dry summers may last from May to October, with temperatures reaching even 50° C during the hottest time of the day. Spring and autumn are short and feel more like brief transitional periods, rather than seasons. Annual rainfall is less than 38 cm.
Expat Life – Living in Iraq
Despite a decrease in the level of violence in Iraq, there is still a high threat of terrorism. The Kurdistan Region (the provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaimaniyah) is considered significantly safer. Here, the risk from terrorism is noticeably lower than elsewhere in Iraq.
Except in the Kurdistan region, crime and corruption are widespread. Carjacking and robberies are frequent. The security situation may get worse after nightfall. Violent conflicts involving elements of organized criminal, street gangs or militant groups are common.
Some of typical crimes such as pickpockets, theft or scams are not common in Iraqi Kurdistan. The crime threat in Kurdistan region is considered low, and crimes against expatriates are infrequent, but may occur occasionally. Moderate precaution measures should be taken.
Driving across Iraq may be rather dangerous, as many traffic accidents occur due to reckless driving. Traffic signs and speed limits are often ignored and most of the vehicles on the roads are poorly maintained. Drivers usually do not give way to pedestrians at crosswalks and ignore traffic lights.
Roads in Iraq cities are congested. In Erbil, it is relatively easy to get around the city. The roads in Erbil are in rather good condition and new roads are being constructed to relieve overcrowded traffic.
International Driving Permit is required for foreign visitors holding a Visit/Business Visa. Expats entering Iraq under an NOC can apply for a temporary Driving License.
Places to visit in Iraq
The Erbil Citadel
The Citadel is located in the middle of Erbil City. It dominates the old city, with total area of 110,000 square meters. The history of its building goes back 6000 years. It is oldest known uninterrupted human settlement which has been built upon seven layers of civilization. This is the place to visit for anybody traveling to Erbil.
Amadiya (Amediyah, Amadia, Amedi, al-Amadiyah), is a small town built on the flat top of a mountain north of Dohuk. The history of this town goes back to the time of ancient Assyria, 3000 years B.C. It is a magnificent place with magical views. This place is definitely worth visiting.
Lalish temple is a site of worship for people of the Yazidi faith. The Yazidis are an ethnic and religious minority in Iraq. The temple is set in a mountain valley situated in northern Iraq.
This museum is the second biggest in the country after the national museum in Baghdad. Here, visitors can see Kurdish and ancient Persian artifacts dating back from 1792 to 1750 B.C.
This is the oldest structure in the Kirkuk city. It is located in the center of Kirkuk on a 40 meter high artificial mound. It is believed that King Ashurnasirpal II originally established Kirkuk Citadel during 884-858 B.C.
National Holidays in Iraq
January 1 – Independence Day
January 6 – Armed Forces Day
March 21 – Nowruz (Iraqi Kurdistan only)
April 9 – Liberation Day (Iraqi Kurdistan only)
April 17 – FAO Day
May 1 – Labour Day
July 14 – Republic Day
July 27 – Shiite Rebellion
August 8 – Ceasefire Day
October 3 – National Day
- Islamic New Year
- Prophet’s Birthday
- End of Ramadan (2 days)
- Feast of the Sacrifice (4 days)
If you are considering moving to Iraq, Move One’s relocation services include city orientation, home and school searches, immigration as well as door to door moving services worldwide and cover packing of personal effects, warehousing, pet transportation and fine art shipping. Should you need help with your corporate or individual relocation needs, or if you would like to receive a free moving quote, do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
Rest of the series:
No related posts.