Time zone: GMT +3 hours (GMT +4 hours during Daylight Savings Time, April to October)
Business hours: 0800-1500
Government hours: 0800-1300/1400
Working week: Sunday to Thursday
International dialling code: 964
Electricity: 220v; AC 50Hz
Main languages: Arabic, Kurdish
Climate: Cool winters, extremely hot summers and cold winter conditions in the north
Applications for business visas should be made at the nearest
Iraqi consulate prior to departure. The process can take two to six weeks from the date of submission. Visas are issued to business people provided they have official invitations from Iraqi authorities or are introduced as such by their respective ministries of foreign affairs and supplied with supporting letters, for example, from a chamber of commerce.
Applicants should also submit a letter of request from their own company stating the reason for travel.
Asiacell, Korek and Zain provide mobile telephone services in Iraq. Internet connections are available; speed is currently comparable to an early DSL connection, though available bandwidth is growing. IT systems in the ministries are generally outdated so responses to e-mails can sometimes be slow. Investors should be aware that many senior ministry officials use Hotmail or Yahoo! e-mail addresses and that many of these inboxes are monitored by multiple individuals.
National Investment Commission (NIC)
Key Iraqi ministry websites
Construction and housing:
Displacement and migration:
Foreign affairs: www.mofa.gov.iq
Higher education and scientific research: www.moheiraq.org
Industry and minerals:
Municipality and public works:
Tourism Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
Water resources: www.mowr.gov.iq
Other relevant government
Council of Ministries: www.cabinet.iq
Free Zones Board:
General Commission for Taxes:
The unit of currency is the Iraqi dinar (ID). The Central Bank of Iraq has a policy of managed appreciation of the dinar. In April 2008, the exchange rate was $1: 1203 ID. In September 2009, it was $1: 1170 ID. The most widely recognised foreign currency is the US dollar. Although cash machines are being installed throughout the country, currently there are still few available and credit cards are not widely used.
Investment Law No. 13 covers investments in all sectors except for oil and gas exploration and production, and banking and insurance; in private and mixed public-private sectors; with a minimum level of capital investment of $250,000.
A copy of the law is available in English at www.investpromo.gov.iq/files/investment_lawenglish.pdf
In 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority introduced a flat tax
of 15% on all income earned by
Iraqi and foreign companies. Income derived from foreign government sources, international organisations and non-governmental organisations is not taxable. A flat sales tax of 10% is applied to ‘excellent and first-class’ hotel and restaurant accommodations.
NIC-licensed projects enjoy exemption from taxes and fees for a period of 10 years from the date that commercial operations begin. The NIC will increase the year of tax exemption in direct proportion to the percentage increase of Iraqi investor participation in the project, up to a maximum of 15 years when Iraqi ownership exceeds 50%.
Iraq has two free zones (Basrah/Khor Al Zubair and Ninewah/Flaifil) and a designated free zone planned for Anbar/Al Qaem. Goods imported and exported from free zones are exempt from all taxes and fees, except when imported through customs. All capital invested, as well as interest and income generated, by projects established in free zones are exempt from taxes and fees throughout the lifetime of the project, including construction and start-up phases. To apply for approval to begin a project in a free zone, investors must submit a request and pay
a $100 fee to the Free Zones Board.
There are a growing number of commercial airline flights from Europe, the US and the Middle East to Iraq’s main cities, provided by Austrian Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Turkish Airlines. Information about private security firms operating in the country can be obtained from the Ministry of Interior or Iraqi consulates. Comprehensive travel and medical insurance is available from a number of specialist providers.
The cost of this supplement was underwritten by the United States government. Reporting and editing were carried out independently by fDi Magazine.