If you are planning to visit Syria, you will most likely need to get a visa. This blog explains everything you need to know about the visa process. The requirements for obtaining a Syrian visa have changed in the past years, so if you have any updated information, feel free to comment below so we can keep this blog updated.
Who needs a visa for Syria?
Currently, most of the nationalities require a visa for Syria, unless you hold a passport from one of the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
US passport holders:
The Syrian government has recently announced that they will be issuing visas for Americans to travel again. However, the application processing times can vary greatly. You will also require an extra level of security pre-clearance.
Israelis and anyone with proof of travel to Israel:
Israeli passport holders are not permitted to travel to Syria. If you have proof of travel to Israel in your passport, you will be denied too. This includes entry or exit stamps from Egypt or Jordan which show that you’ve crossed the land border into or out of Israel.
There are two options on how to travel to Syria – independently or with a travel agency. The visa process depends on which option you choose.
The Streets of Damascus
What you will need for your Syrian Visa:
Security clearance from the Ministry of Tourism.
Copy of your passport.
A completed application form if you are applying from the embassy.
If you are applying via a travel agency, personal details must be provided: full address, occupation.
A visa fee to be paid at the embassy or at the border.
How to get a Syrian Visa when travelling on a tour
If you choose to book a tour through a travel agency, they will apply for the security clearance in Syria for you. All you need to do is email them your passport copies, personal details and your occupation. Please note, the process is different if you are a journalist or hold an American passport. The process takes about 2 weeks (if you are lucky you might get it in a week).
Your travel agency will notify you once the security clearance (a background check) is received. You will then be able to obtain your Syrian visa at the border or at the airport if you happen to fly into Damascus.
Visa fee at the Syrian border:
Australians and New Zealand is 130 USD
European passport holders pay 50 – 100 USD (Slovak passport was 70 USD)
Americans 160 USD
British 140 USD
You will also have to pay an exit fee of 2,500SYP, which is around 5 USD when you leave Syria.
If you don’t have the security clearance, you will not be able to get your visa at the border.
How to get Syrian Visa when travelling independently
If you wish to travel to Syria independently, getting a Syrian visa is more difficult. In 2018 you could get a Syrian visa by paying 300-400 USD to a tour operator and then cross the border independently to obtain your visa at the border. At this stage, however, it seems that travel agencies don’t or cannot supply this security clearance for independent travellers. You might be lucky to get it and it this case you can also obtain your visa at the border.
This means you will need to obtain your visa from the Syrian Embassy before you go. The process varies from embassy to embassy. But generally speaking, if they accept your application, they will then apply for the security clearance on your behalf. The security clearance costs 60 USD. We know of travellers who were able to get their visa from the embassy in Berlin or Cairo, but it also depends on your nationality. Many others have been denied.
Interested to know what it’s really like to travel to Damascus in 2019? Read our blog here.
If you have sucessfully obtained a Syrian visa somewhere, please comment below. It might help other travellers.
Need some information about applying for other visas in Africa? Check out our Visa Guide.
A coffee lover, history junkie, former tour guide, and endless optimist. The mastermind of logistics and chief navigator for Very Hungry Nomads, two women on an adventure to visit EVERY country in the world. Marty is a social butterfly who describes her life as “just livin’ the dream".