Marrying and Sponsoring an Iraqi Citizen

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Marriage to an Iraqi  Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to an Iraqi citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.

If you want to bring your Iraqi spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.


Iraqi Marriage Basic Requirements

In order to marry a citizen of Iraq, you must demonstrate to the Iraqi government that you are eligible to do so. This includes:

  • Proof of country of birth
  • Proof of age requirement


Family Members

If your Iraqi spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Iraqi Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry an Iraqi citizen.


List of Iraqi Consulates in Canada

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq


Calling Iraq from Canada

To make a direct call to Iraq from Canada, you need to follow the international dialling format given below. The dialling format is the same when calling Iraq mobile or land line from Canada.


  • 011 – 964 – Area Code – local number
  • Follow the dialling format shown above while calling Jordan from Canada.
  • 011 – Exit code for Canada, and is needed for making any international call from Canada
  • 964– ISD Code or Country Code of Iraq


Area Codes for Major Centres in Iraq (landlines only)

Amarah 43 Erbil 66 Najaf 33
Baghdad 1 Hillah 30 Nasiriyah 42
Baqubah 25 Karbala 32 Ramadi 24
Basra 40 Kirkuk 50 Samawa 37
Diwaniya 36 Kut 23 Sulaymaniyah 53
Duhok 62 Mosul 60 Tikrit 21

For Cells the code will always begin with a 7; it is three digits long.


Calling Canada from Iraq

To make a direct call to Canada from Iraq, you need to follow the international dialling format given below. The dialling format is the same when calling Canada mobile or land line from Iraq.

  • 00 – 1 – Area Code – local number
  • Follow the dialling format shown above while calling Canada from Iraq.
  • 00 – Exit code for Iraq, and is needed for making any international call from Iraq
  • 1 – ISD Code or Country Code of Canada

List of area codes in Canada

Province Code Province  Code
Alberta 403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867
BC 236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)

Ontario 226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec 418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902


Time Difference

Iraq is on Arabian Standard Time (GMT+3). Iraq does not participate in daylight saving time.

Canadian Time Zone # of Hours Iraq is Ahead # of Hours during DST
Pacific (BC, Yukon) 11 hours 10 hours
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) 10 hours 9 hours
Saskatchewan 9 hours 9 hours
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) 9 hours 8 hours
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) 8 hours 7 hours
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) 7 hours 6 hours
Newfoundland 6.5 hours 5.5 hours


Emergency Information for Canadians in Iraq

There is no Canadian diplomatic mission in Iraq. For assistance, contact the Embassy in Jordan.

Embassy of Canada in Amman

133 Zahran Street

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 815403, Amman, 11180, Jordan

Telephone: 962 (6) 590 1500
Fax: 962 (6) 590 1501
E-mail: [email protected]

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The Government of Canada’s Travel Alerts for Iraq

For travel alerts, click here

Iraqi Money

The dinar (Arabic pronunciation is the currency of Iraq. It is issued by the Central Bank of Iraq and is subdivided into 1,000 fils, although inflation has rendered the fils obsolete.



History of Iraqi Money

The dinar was introduced into circulation in 1932, by replacing the Indian rupee, which had been the official currency since the British occupation of the country in World War I, at a rate of 1 dinar = 11 rupees. The dinar was pegged at par with the British pound until 1959 when, without changing its value, the peg was switched to the United States dollar at the rate of 1 dinar = 2.8 dollars. By not following the devaluations of the U.S. currency in 1971 and 1973, the dinar rose to a value of US$3.3778, before a 5 percent devaluation reduced the value of the dinar to US$3.2169, a rate which remained until the Gulf War, although in late 1989, the black market rate was reported at five to six times higher (3 dinars for US$1) than the official rate.

After the Gulf War in 1991, due to UN sanctions, the previously used Swiss printing was no longer available. A new, inferior quality notes issue was produced. The previous issue became known as the Swiss dinar and continued to circulate in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Due to sanctions placed on Iraq by the United States and the international community and excessive government printing of the new notes issue, the dinar devalued quickly, and in late 1995, US$1 was valued at 3,000 dinars.

Following the deposition of Saddam Hussein in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi Governing Council and the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance began printing more Saddam dinar notes as a stopgap measure to maintain the money supply until new currency could be introduced.

Between October 15, 2003 and January 15, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued new Iraqi dinar coins and notes, with the notes printed by De La Rue using modern anti-forgery techniques, to “create a single unified currency that is used throughout all of Iraq and will also make money more convenient to use in people’s everyday lives. Old banknotes were exchanged for new at a one-to-one rate, except for the Swiss dinars, which were exchanged at a rate of 150 new dinars for one Swiss dinar.



Coins were introduced in 1931 and 1932 in denominations of 1, 2, 4, 10, 20, 50 and 200 fils, seats with the 200 fils known as a rial. The 20, 50 and 200 fils were minted in silver. In 1953, silver 100 fils coins were introduced.

Following the establishment of the Iraqi Republic, a new series of coins was introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 fils, with the 25, 50 and 100 fils in silver until 1969. In 1970, 250 fils pieces were introduced, followed by 500 fils and 1 dinar coins in 1982. Coin production ceased after 1990.

In 2004, new 25-, 50- and 100-dinar coins were introduced. However, these coins proved to be unpopular and were withdrawn from circulation.



In 2003, new banknotes were issued consisting of six denominations: 50, 250, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 25,000 dinar. The notes were similar in design to notes issued by the Central Bank of Iraq in the 1970s and 1980s. A 500 dinars note was issued a year later, in October 2004. In the Kurdish regions of Iraq, the 50 dinar note is not in circulation.

250 dinars

The 250 Iraqi dinars Banknote depicts on the front, an astrolabe while on the back it depicts Spiral minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra. The Great Mosque of Samarra is a 9th century mosque located in Samarra, Iraq. The mosque was commissioned in 848 and completed in 851 by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil who reigned (in Samarra) from 847 until 861.


500 dinars

The 500 Iraqi dinars Banknote depicts on the front Dûkan Dam on the Al Zab river while on the back it depicts Assyrian carving of a winged bull.


1000 dinars

The 1000 Iraqi dinars Banknote depicts on the front, a gold dinar coin while on the back it depicts Mustansiriya School in Baghdad.


5000 dinars

The 5000 Iraqi dinars Banknote depicts on the front, Gelî Ali Beg and its waterfall while on the back it depicts Desert fortress at Al-Ukhether


10000 dinars

The 10000 Iraqi dinars Banknote depicts on the front, Abu Ali Hasan Ibn al-Haitham who was a Muslim scientist and polymath described in various sources as either Persian or Arab. He made significant contributions to the principles of optics, as well as to physics, astronomy, mathematics, ophthalmology, philosophy, visual perception, and to the scientific method. On the back it depicts Al-manara al-hadba fi al-Mawsil (the hunchbacked tower of the Great Nurid mosque in Mosul)


25000 dinars

The 25,000 Iraqi dinars Banknote depicts on the front,A Kurdish farmer holding a sheaf of wheat, a tractor, a gold dinar coin while on the back it depicts Carving of the Code of King Hammurabi which is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating back to about 1772 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets. The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man


Iraqi Wedding Customs

The Iraqi wedding traditions consist of a series of parties beginning with the engagement and ending with a party several days or weeks after the actual marriage ceremony. Between the engagements party, also called khitooba, and the wedding ceremony is the nishan, where the couple and their family and friends gather to celebrate the pending marriage. The bride wears several dresses for the occasion–anywhere from three to seven. The night before the wedding is a celebration called lailat al-henna. Traditionally, seven days after the wedding is the sab’a; however, this has been modified in modern days to take place whenever the couple returns from their honeymoon.


When an Iraqi man sees a woman that he finds attractive, he informs his mother. His mother will then research the girl’s family in every aspect to see if she would be a good match for her son. If his mother agrees, she will be the one that goes to the young girl’s home and ask for her hand in marriage to her son, at which point the girl’s family will then research his family.

Once both families agree, they will all come together to meet. The potential bride and groom will spend some alone time together to get to know each other. In the event one or both do not like the other, the courtship is over, otherwise the wedding is on. In smaller towns or villages, marriages between cousins are still the preference.

As mentioned above, often cousins marry each other, and the couple may barely know each other until the engagement is announced. The wedding in Iraq has many celebration but two celebrations are normally considered important that the others: These two celebrations are an engagement party and a wedding party. After the engagement party, the process of dating and getting to know each other begins. Sometimes the young couple are given a short period of time to get to know each other. They sometimes can be allowed to talk during the engagement party in order to get to know each other. Under certain circumstances, usually both the young man and woman have questions prepared for them in advance by their parents that they will ask each other.  By the end of the meeting the couple generally decides whether they wish to marry or not considering the questions that they have asked each other at the party. If they agree to marry each other at the party, they are considered as engaged. Generally, most Iraqi couples do agree to marry each other at the engagement party.


In some cases the engaged parties, man and woman sign the papers at the engagement party and they are considered as legally married. If they choose not to proceed with the engagement, even though they have not lived together, they must divorce. Iraqi couple may be engaged for a period of several weeks or for a period of several years, depending on their family’s traditions.  During the engagement period some couples may receive further opportunities to get to know one another; others may not.  Generally, it can be said that how much contact or if any contact at all between the couple prior to their marriage is dependent on the families and how open they are with each other.  It is a must that the Iraqi brides must be virgins on the wedding night.

A small ceremony would take place before the actual celebrations.  The Iraqi marriage would be solemnized before a religious Sheikh


At any time, a husband may take another wife. Polygamy with up to four wives is legal in Iraq. Divorce is also legal but very rare as compared to the western nations. When there is a divorce, custody of the children automatically goes to the father, and for this reason, women choose to remain in a marriage even when there are other wives. Divorced women are viewed as outcasts in Iraq.


Wedding Gifts

The Nishan (Gifts from the Groom’s Family)

During the nishan, the groom and the groom’s family traditionally shower the bride with gifts of jewelry, diamonds and specifically gold. The amount of the jewelry as well as the value of it will vary according the wealth and financial means of the groom’s family. The jewellery can consist of some simple earrings or be as elaborate as a golden belt for the bride to wear. The jewellery is placed on the bride during the nishan party while onlookers dance and play music.


Wedding Day Gifts

On the day of the wedding, the bride will again receive jewellery from both her family and the family of the groom. The bride will be presented with the gifts after the wedding ceremony, during which what American culture would denote as the wedding reception. The bride receives the gifts after the cake ceremony and before dinner is served to the group. The bride’s new husband will traditionally also give her a gift of jewellery during the wedding.


Sab’a – After the Wedding

Though the sab’a, which means “seven,” is traditionally seven days after the wedding, the custom has adapted to hold the party whenever the couple returns from their honeymoon. The sab’a is held in the house of the family of the groom and only women are invited. The husband waits in a room separate from the party while his wife entertains the women. The women who are invited will traditionally bring gifts for the wedding couple.


Wedding Food

Coming soon


Bringing Wedding Gifts Into Canada

If you got married in Iraq within three months before coming to Canada or if you plan to marry no later than three months after arriving in the country, you can bring in your wedding gifts free of duty and taxes. However, you must have owned and possessed the gifts while in Iraq and before you arrived in Canada. At this instance, the requirement to have used the goods does not apply. These same conditions apply to household goods you bring in as part of a bride’s trousseau from Iraq.

Ownership, possession and use requirements

To import goods duty- and tax-free, settlers must have owned, possessed and used the goods prior to their arrival in Canada and Former Residents must have owned, possessed and used the goods for at least six months before returning to resume residency from Iraq.

It is important that you meet these three requirements. For example, if you owned and possessed the goods without using them, the goods will be subjected to duty and taxes. Please note that leased goods are subject to duty and taxes because the Canada Border Services Agency does not consider that you own them. If you have bills of sale and registration documents, they can help you prove that you meet these requirements.


Declaring your goods

You must give your list of goods to the border services officer when you arrive at your first point of entry in Canada from Iraq even if you have no goods with you at the time. The officer will complete a Form B4 , Personal Effects Accounting Document, assign a file number to it and give you a copy of the completed form as a receipt based on the list of goods you submit. To claim free importation of your unaccompanied goods when they arrive, you will need to present your copy of this form.  Goods to follow may be subject to import restrictions before you can import them.

To facilitate the clearance process, you can complete Form B4, before your arrival at the first port of entry in Canada.


Religion in Iraq

The major religion in Iraq is Islam, followed by about 95% of Iraqis, although more recent poll results seem to contradict these numbers. The other 5% consist of those following Christianity and other religions. Many cities throughout Iraq have been areas of historical prominence for both Shia and Sunni Muslims including Najaf, Karbala, Baghdad and Samarra.


Islam in Iraq

Iraq’s Muslims follow two distinct traditions, Shia and Sunni Islam. According to the CIA World Factbook, Iraq is 97% Muslim (60-65% Shi’a, 32-37% Sunni). In the most recent poll released in April 2011 by AKNews asking Iraqi Citizens whether they believe in God, 67% answered “yes”, 21% answered “probably yes”, 4% answered “probably no”, and 7% answered “no”. Iraq is home to many religious sites important for both Shia and Sunni Muslims. Baghdad was a hub of Islamic learning and scholarship for centuries and served as the capital of the Abassids. The city of Karbala has substantial prominence in Shia Islam as a result of the Battle of Karbala, fought on the site of the modern city on October 10, 680. Similarly, Najaf is renowned as the site of the tomb of Alī ibn Abī Tālib (also known as “Imām Alī”), whom the Shia consider to be the righteous caliph and first imām. The city is now a great center of pilgrimage from throughout the Shi’a Islamic world and it is estimated that only Mecca and Medina receive more Muslim pilgrims. The city of Kufa was home to the famed scholar, Abu Hanifah whose school of thought is followed by a sizable number of Sunni Muslims across the globe. Likewise, Samarra is also home to the al-Askari Mosque, containing the mausoleums of the Ali al-Hadi and Hasan al-Askari, the tenth and eleventh Shia Imams, respectively, as well as the shrine of Muhammad al-Mahdi, known as the “Hidden Imam”, who is the twelfth and final Imam of the Shia of the Ja’farī Madhhab. This has made it an important pilgrimage centre for Ja’farī Shia Muslims. In addition, some female relatives of the Prophet Mohammad are buried in Samarra, making the city one of the most significant sites of worship for Shia and a venerated location for Sunni Muslims.

Smaller sects of Islam exist in the country, such as the small Shaykhist community concentrated in Basra and Karbala.



Christianity was brought to Iraq in the first century by the Apostle Thomas, Addai (Thaddaeus) and his pupils Aggagi and Mari. Thomas and Thaddeus belonged to the twelve Apostles. Iraq’s Syriac Christian minority represents roughly 3% of the population, mostly living in Northern Iraq, concentrated in the Ninewa and Dahuk governorates. There are no official statistics, and estimates vary greatly. In 1950 Christians numbered 7-10% of the population of 5.5 million. Since the 2003 Iraq war, Iraqi Christians have been dislocated to Syria in significant but unknown numbers. Iraqi Christians are divided into three church bodies:

  • “Chaldeans” (Chaldean Catholic Church)
  • “Assyrians” or “Nestorian” group (Assyrian Church of the East and Ancient Church of the East)
  • “West Syriac” or “Jacobite” group (Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church)



The Yazid live near Mosul, Iraq and are made up of ethnic Kurds. Yazidism dates to pre-Islamic times and Mosul is the principal holy site of the Yazid faith. The holiest Yazid shrine is that of Sheikh Adi located at the necropolis of Lalish.



It is said that the Mandaean faith has existed in Iraq since the reign of Artabanus V of Parthia according to the Haran Gawaitha (secret wanderings) scroll of secondary Mandaean writ. This would make the Iraqi presence of Mandaeans at least 1,800 years old, making it the third oldest continually professed faith in Iraqi society after Zoroastrianism and Judaism. There are more Mandaeans in Iraq than there are Zoroastrians or Jews combined. In Iraq estimates of around 60,000 have been made. The oldest independent confirmation of Mandaean existence in the region is the Kartir inscription. The Mandaean faith is commonly known as the last surviving Gnostic faith and its adherents believe it to be the oldest faith on Earth, with at least some scholarly support for it being as old if not older than Christianity perhaps even being a major influence in the development of heterodox Jewish circles which eventually led to the formation of Christian beliefs, practices, rituals and theology. John the Baptist or Yahia Yuhanna is considered to have been the final Mandaean prophet and first true Ris’Amma, or Ethnarch, of the Mandaean people. Most Iraqi Mandaeans live near waterways because of the practice of total immersion (or baptism) in flowing water every Sunday. The highest concentrations are in the Mesene province with headquarters in Amarah, Qalat Saleh and Basra. Besides these southern regions bordering Kuzistan in Iran, large numbers of Mandaeans can be found in Baghdad in the Dweller’s Quarters, giving them easy access to the Tigris River.



Zoroastrianism first came to Iraq when Babylon was conquered by the Persian Empire. Zoroastrianism in Iraq declined after the fall of the Sassanid Empire and very few, if any, Zoroastrians remain. Only an estimated 40 people in Iraq believe in this faith.


Religious Sites

The Armenian Orthodox Church (Meskenta Church)

One of the oldest churches in Baghdad, Iraq, known as Church of Meskenta and as the Church of the Virgin Mary, located in Midan Square off Al-Rashid Street.

It was first built in 1640 AD by the Armenians on a piece of land granted to them by the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV. Then it changed hands to the Nestorian Christians before it eventually went back to the Orthodox Armenians possession.

Every year, on August 15 special rituals are held in this church for the Assumption of Virgin Mary to heaven. The church is visited all year round by Baghdadis from various sects to present their offerings and gifts.


The Latin Church in Baghdad


MOAB Mosque – Baghdad


Mosque – Fallujah


Mosque – Mosul


The Great Mosque – Samarra


Saddam’s Mosque of War – April 13, 2003


Romantic, Scenic and Historic Places in Iraq



Al-Rasheed Hotel Baghdad Iraq

Rixos Al Rasheed Baghdad Hotel is an 18-story hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, favoured by journalists and media personnel due to its location within Baghdad’s Green Zone. It is named after the eighth century CaliphHarun Al-Rashid. It has been a focal point in a number of conflicts in the region, most recently the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Located close to Wadi Mousa’s shopping venues, Al Rashid Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms and serves a variety of international cuisines in its buffet breakfast.

Fitted with simple furnishings, all soundproofed rooms have cable TV and en suite bathrooms.

Al Rashid Hotel’s restaurant serves local delicacies as well as international dishes for lunch and dinner.The hotel is 1 km from Petra gate.


Ishtar Hotel – Baghdad

The Ishtar Sheraton Hotel is a hotel in Baghdad, Iraq located on Firdos Square. It is the tallest building in Baghdad and the tallest structure in Iraq after the Baghdad Tower.After it was opened in 1982, the Sheraton Ishtar was one of the most popular hotels in Baghdad. This changed after the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. While the hotel was briefly popular after the invasion with foreign journalists and contractors, its occupancy level dropped sharply.During Arab summit in 2012 many officials from different countries accommodated in this hotel along with press and journalists, now many of conferences and workshops, internally or internationally, being organized in this Hotel.


Mnawi Basha Hotel

The Mnawi Basha Hotel is a 5-star hotel in Basra. The hotel is opened in 2009 and is one of the few 5-star hotels in Iraq.The hotel boasts 136 rooms and a suite combined and has one restaurant. The following facilities are present at the hotel:

  • Sauna
  • Steam room
  • Gym
  • Health club
  • 1 conference room


Erbil Rotana Hotel – Erbil

Erbil Rotana is built on a premium 20,000 m² parcel of land strategically located adjacent to the English village and less than ten minutes’ drive from Erbil International Airport. The property is opposite Park Sami Abdu Rahman, the largest park in Iraq.

The hotel is in close proximity to the Exhibition Hall and the Myrtyr Saad abd Allah Palace for Conferences & Meetings. Less than 15 minutes to the district of banks, Government authorities, the historical “Citadel” of Kurdistan, the largest Mall in the city and the shopping facilities.

The property is convenient for both business and leisure travellers as it offers luxurious accommodation including 201 rooms and suites, five Food and Beverage outlets, Health Club, and Meeting Facilities that can accommodate up to 900 people.

Moreover, it offers Club Rotana: exclusive privileges including breakfast, wireless high-speed internet access, afternoon tea, drinks and snacks.


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