The types of identity cards issued to Iraqi citizens [IRQ34642.E]

Among the documents issued to Iraqi citizens, as indicated in media reports, are ration cards (Iraqi TV 3 Jan. 1998; Al-'Iraq 22 Apr. 1999; INA 9 Aug. 1999) and certificates of Iraqi nationality (AFP 15 Sept. 1999). Among the items indicated in the rations card are "flour, rice, sugar, cooking oil, detergents, legumes and milk" (ibid.).

On 22 April 1999 the Iraqi periodical Al-'Iraq published a call-up order for reservists born in 1972, including the following passage on documents they should present when reporting for duty: "A) A photocopy of the rations card, civilian identity card, certificate of Iraqi nationality. B) Proof of residence or copy of residence card."

Information on the various types of identity documents issued to Iraqi citizens is also contained in a 1997 United Nations report on human rights in Iraq:

For those persons in the process of registering [for rations cards], the Special Rapporteur has already reported in his previous report to the General Assembly (A/51/496) that the procedure for being registered is very complex and time-consuming, and often entails bribery along the way. He recalls that in order to register applicants must first obtain a confirmation of domicile from the neighbourhood Mukhtar (Council), which must be authenticated by the neighbourhood Information Office, and an information card (containing security information) from the same Information Office. Thereafter, they must go to the neighbourhood People's Council, taking the following documents: the Civilian Affairs identity card (original and copy), the certificate of Iraqi nationality (original and copy), the marriage certificate if married (original and copy), the domicile card (original and copy), the confirmation of domicile obtained and authenticated as explained above, and the military service booklet for those discharged from service or a letter from the military unit confirming the person's ongoing military service for those not discharged from service. The supporting letter then obtained from the neighbourhood People's Council is to be brought to the head office of the Governorate's People's Councils. The letter is next taken from the Governorate's People's Councils to the Ministry of Trade. A letter from the Ministry of Trade is finally brought to the Ministry of Trade's warehouses in the area of domicile, whereupon a foodstuff's agent is designated near the place of domicile. (UN 15 Oct. 1997)

The following information on Iraqi documents was obtained from the electronic version of the Foreign Affairs Manual available at the Website of the United States Department of State, Freedom of Information Act, Electronic Reading Room.


(TL:VISA-91; 8-1-94)
NOTE: Although these documents are theoretically available from Iraqi authorities, occasionally they may be withheld in individual cases for political or other reasons.

Military Records

(TL:VISA-91; 8-1-94)
Available. Male applicants may obtain military records issued by the Director General of Recruiting at the Ministry of Defense. These records are available to Iraqi subjects who have performed voluntary or compulsory military service. Male citizens 45 years of age and over are exempted from military service. Iraqi law requires all male citizens to register for military service at age 18. Those registered are issued military books indicating their service status which are kept after discharge.

Birth Certificate

(TL:VISA-91; 8-1-94)
Available. Official birth certificates based on public records are issued by the appropriate Municipal offices or by the Department of Civil Status. Anyone with an Iraqi passport should be able to obtain an official certificate, in English and in Arabic, indicating the date and place of birth.

Marriage Certificate

(TL:VISA-150; 9-2-96)
Available. According to a February l978 decree, all marriages must be registered in either a Muslim religious (Sharia) court or Civil court. Persons married after that date should be able to present these court records. While Christian churches continue to perform marriage ceremonies and issue marriage certificates, these marriages are not legal in Iraq until recorded with an appropriate Civil court.

Other Records

(TL:VISA-150; 9-2-96)
Available, if required to determine identity and admissibility. The public records of death, when reported, are kept by the Department of Health and the Municipal Bureau.
In general, documents of a public nature bear an official or an ecclesiastical seal. Revenue stamps are affixed to all Government issued documents.
The ecclesiastical documents are so varied in character and come from sources so disparate in character that it is impossible to set forth any special means of identification or determining their authenticity.
Fraudulent documents or those based upon little definite information are easily obtainable. Official documents contain inaccuracies but appear to be less open to fraud than ecclesiastical documents. Information in government records can be legally changed, however, with little difficulty.
Available documents may be obtained by both residents and by non-residents and by members of any sect, although former residents of Iraq may experience considerable difficulty in obtaining documents. Relatives or friends residing in non-resident applicants' former residence, however, should be able to obtain documents for them without much difficulty.

Documents Relating to Jews

(TL:VISA-150; 9-2-96)
The head of the Jewish community in Baghdad does not maintain records of births. Birth certificates issued by him are based either on Iraqi Government Census Books or on evidence given by reliable persons. Jews, born in Baghdad, and living in foreign countries may obtain birth certificates by submitting evidence of date and place of birth. These must be certified by the head of the Jewish community in the place of the applicant's present residence.
Records of marriages and divorces are maintained by the head of the Jewish community in Baghdad, and marriage and divorce certificates issued by him are based on these records.
No certificates are issued by the head of the Jewish community in Baghdad to Jews who are residents of Israel.
Fees are required for all of the documents.

Passports - Other Travel Documents

(TL:VISA-150; 9-2-96)
Travel Document for Palestinian Refugees in Iraq. This document, put into use as of January 1, 1963, is considered to meet the passport requirements of the Act. (5 June 2000)

Information on identity documents is also contained in the entry on Iraq in Country Reports 1999.

Additional information on identity documents issued to Iraqi citizens (including civil identity cards, passports and drivers' licences) can be found in IRQ16731.E of 4 March 1994, IRQ27014.E of 18 June 1997, IRQ31875.E of 12 May 1999, IRQ33374.E of 22 December 1999, and IRQ34267.E of 26 April 2000.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Agence France-Presse (AFP). 15 September 1999. "La télévision montre un agent 'à la solde' de l'Iran." (NEXIS)

Al-'Iraq [Baghdad, in Arabic]. 22 April 1999. "Iraq: Defence Ministry Calls Up Reservists Born in 1972." (BBC Summary 25 Apr. 1999/NEXIS)

Foreign Affairs Manual. United States Department of State. Freedom of Information Act. Electronic Reading Room. "9 FAM Visas." 5 June 2000 [Date last modified]. "PART IV Appendix C, Iraq, Republic of." [Accessed 13 June 2000]

INA News Agency [Baghdad, in Arabic]. 9 August 1999. "Iraq Claims US-UK Adverse Pressure on Oil-for-Food Overseeing Committee." (BBC Summary 10 Aug. 1999/NEXIS)

Iraqi TV [Baghdad, in Arabic]. 3 January 1998. "Interior Ministry Says Kurdish Families Returned to Arbil in Line with Law." (BBC Summary 6 Jan. 1998/NEXIS)

United Nations (UN). 15 October 1997. (A/52/476). Human Rights Questions: Human Rights Situations and Reports of Special Rapporteurs and Representatives: Situation of Human Rights in Iraq. [Accessed 8 June 2000]