The lowdown on sending parcels to Iraq
Iraq has featured regularly in the western media over recent years, but rarely for positive reasons. The republic has endured a long turbulent period, with high-profile political struggles marring most westerners' perception of what is, in all reality, a fascinating country rich in culture and history.
Bordered by Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Iraq is home to around 35 million people, 95 per cent of whom are Muslims. While Arabic is the country's primary language, 15 per cent of the population speak Kurdish.
For obvious reasons, tourism levels aren't high in Iraq. In fact, for safety reasons, most governments advise against travelling there. However, with an estimated 250,000 Iraqis living in the UK, demand for parcel delivery services to the Middle Eastern nation remains high. Before you send anything, though, consider the following.
As Iraq is outside of Europe and the EU, you'll need to complete and attach the correct customs documentation. The one to go with depends on the value of your items: anything worth £270 or less should be sent with form CN22, while items worth more must be sent with CN23 instead.
Restrictions and prohibitions
As you'd probably expect, there are plenty of things you're not allowed to ship to Iraq, so it makes sense to go through the 'prohibited' list before going any further.
It's no surprise that Iraqi customs officials won't allow weaponry, ammunition and explosives across the border - not that you were thinking about trying it anyway. Also on the obvious list are narcotics, live animals and meat products.
Moving into slightly more unfamiliar territory, Iraq does not accept coins, bank notes or travellers' cheques of any currency. Platinum, gold, silver and other precious stones and jewels are prohibited too. Last but not least, you're not allowed to send cameras, laptops or mobile phones.
Pack it properly!
As many homesick servicemen or servicewomen will tell you, Iraq is a long way from the UK. In fact, the two countries' capitals - London and Baghdad - are more than 2,500 miles apart. It's quite a journey for any parcel to take, so make sure yours is ready.
Start by packing each individual item separately before putting them into a large enough box or container together. Fill any gaps with something soft, like packing peanuts or bubble wrap, before securing all openings with tape.
Finish it off by writing the destination address clearly on the front, with 'IRAQ' on the last line.
When all of the above is taken care of, you're ready to send!
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