Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Syria Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.
Do not travel to Syria due to terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and risk of unjust detention.
Country Summary: The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012. The Czech Republic serves as the protecting power for the United States in Syria. The U.S. government is unable to provide any emergency services to U.S. citizens in Syria.
Syria has experienced active armed conflict since 2011. No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings by armed groups, unjust arrests and/or detentions, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment of civilian centers pose significant risk of death or serious injury. The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country.
The U.S. government particularly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to Syria to engage in armed conflict. U.S. citizens who undertake such activity face extreme personal risks, including kidnapping by armed groups, unjust arrests, injury, or death. The U.S. government does not support this activity. Our ability to provide consular assistance to individuals who are injured or kidnapped, or to the families of individuals who die in the conflict, is extremely limited.
Protests and demonstrations are quelled by government forces through aggressive tactics and protestors, activists, and political dissenters are routinely detained without access to legal representation or communications with friends and family.
Terrorist groups are active in Syria. Parts of Syria have experienced recent increases in incidents of bombings, IEDs, and assassinations. Fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates, can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a crime under U.S. law that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.
There is an ongoing risk of kidnapping and detentions of U.S. citizens and Westerners throughout the country. U.S. citizens remain a target. U.S. citizens are also targets of abduction and/or unjust detention by the Syrian government and while in detention do not have access to due process or medical attention. Government detention centers are known to be unsanitary facilities where widespread cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment of detainees has been documented, as well as torture and extrajudicial killings. Minors, persons with physical, sensory, or mental disabilities, and elderly have frequently been victims of unjust detention. The Syrian government has also been implicated in the enforced or involuntary disappearance of more than 100,000 citizens, including medical and humanitarian workers, journalists, human rights activists, political opposition, and additionally those suspected of affiliation with these groups and their family members. Note: Only the Syrian government can issue a valid entry visa to Syria. Failure to obtain a legitimate entry visa directly from the Syrian government could result in detention.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Syria, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR), which says that heightened military activity associated with the Syrian conflict may result in the risk of GPS interference, communications jamming, and errant long-range surface to air missiles straying into adjacent airspace within 200 nautical miles of the Damascus Flight Information Region. These activities may inadvertently pose hazards to civil aviation transiting the region. It also has the potential to spill over into the adjacent airspace managed by neighboring states and eastern portions of the Mediterranean Sea.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Syria.
If you decide to travel to Syria:
Syria is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
Below is the limited information the Department has on obtaining guardianship from Syria. U.S. citizens interested in obtaining guardianship for Syrian orphans should contact the adoption authority of Amman, Jordan to inquire about applicable laws and procedures.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending for the child to return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely relinquish their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption. See contact information below.
The Department of State receives inquiries from U.S. citizens concerned about the plight of children in war zones and in countries afflicted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Our office shares this concern for children in conflict areas, and we understand that some U.S. citizens want to respond by offering to open their homes and adopt these children in need.
It can be extremely difficult in such circumstances to determine whether children who appear to be orphans truly are eligible for adoption and immigration under U.S. laws. Children may be temporarily separated from their parents or other family members during a conflict or natural disaster, and their parents may be looking for them. It is not uncommon in dangerous situations for parents to send their children out of the area, for safety reasons, or for families to become separated during an evacuation. Even when it can be demonstrated that a child’s parents have died, children are often taken in to be cared for by other relatives.
During times of crisis, it can also be exceptionally difficult to fulfill the legal requirements for intercountry adoption of both the United States and the child's country of origin. This is especially true when civil authority breaks down. It can be very difficult to gather documents necessary to establish the child meets the requirements of U.S. immigration law, so prospective adoptive parents may wish to consult with an experienced immigration attorney and take extra caution when considering adopting or caring for a child under these circumstances.
Please visit the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for more information on traveling to Syria. Visit U.S. Embassy Amman’s website for information on consular services at Amman-IV@state.gov or ACSAmman@state.gov.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Syria, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
JORDAN’S ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family and Childhood Section/Fostering Program
Jordan’s Adoption Authority: Ministry of Social Development (MSD)
Family and Childhood Section/Fostering Program
P.O. Box 6720
Family Manager: Ext. 399
Custody Section: Ext. 334
Family Directorate Fax: 5694291
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1-913-214-5808
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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