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Syria

Country Information

Syria
Syrian Arab Republic
Last Updated: September 12, 2017

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. The security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable.  Violent conflict between gov

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. The security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable.  Violent conflict between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country. There is a serious risk for kidnappings, bombings, murder, and terrorism. This replaces the Travel Warning dated March 22, 2017. 

No part of Syria is safe from violence. Small arms fire, improvised explosives, artillery shelling, airstrikes, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, and the use of chemical weapons transpire with little or no warning, significantly raising the risk of death or serious injury. While there have been internationally supported efforts to de-escalate the conflict, violence still persists in many parts of the country. The Syrian government has demonstrated reluctance to comply with ceasefire agreements in East Ghouta, Homs, and Idlib. In addition, Russian and/or Syrian forces continue to conduct airstrikes in Idlib province, which have recently resulted in dozens of civilian casualties and the death of medical personnel. Moreover, the Syrian government and its partners continue to prohibit the free flow of humanitarian aid into besieged areas, resulting in severe food shortages.

Terrorist and other violent extremist groups including ISIS and al-Qa’ida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (dominated by al-Qa’ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusrah, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization), operate in Syria. In July 2017, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham consolidated power in Idlib province after it clashed with other armed actors. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham control over Idlib threatens the ability of NGOs and states to deliver humanitarian aid to Syrians residing in Idlib. Moreover, Russia and/or the Syrian government initiated airstrikes in Idlib in September, which resulted in significant damage to medical facilities and dozens of civilian casualties. Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces. These groups have murdered and kidnapped U.S. citizens, both for ransom and political purposes; in some instances U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria. Because of the security situation in Syria, the U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited.

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, injury, or death. The U.S. government does not support this activity, and 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. Individuals who demonstrate an interest in groups opposing ISIS, including on social media, could open themselves to being targeted by ISIS itself, especially if those individuals travel to Syria.

Fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusrah (also known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham), 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.

The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country. Communications in Syria are difficult as phone and internet connections are unreliable. U.S. citizens have reported facing dangers traveling within the country and when trying to leave Syria via land borders, given the diminishing availability of commercial air travel out of Syria. Opposition-held land border checkpoints should not be considered safe, as they are targeted by regime attacks and some armed groups have sought funding through kidnappings for ransom. Border areas are frequent targets of shelling and other attacks and are crowded because of internally-displaced refugees. Errant attacks will occasionally hit border towns just outside the borders as well. Road checkpoints controlled by armed terrorist and violent extremist groups have been utilized to conduct kidnappings, including of U.S. citizens.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Damascus Flight Information Region (FIR) because of the ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment. This FIR includes all the airspace over Syria and extends into adjacent international airspace. In addition, U.S. government personnel in Lebanon are prohibited from taking flights that pass through the Damascus FIR. A number of armed extremist groups are known to be equipped with a variety of antiaircraft weapons that have the capability to threaten civil aircraft. For additional background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012 and cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Syria. The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as the Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria. The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and those services, including U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, may require significantly more processing time than at U.S. embassies or consulates outside Syria. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should try to quickly and safely leave the country and contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country, if at all possible.  U.S. citizens who are unable to safely leave Syria and require consular services may contact the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Damascus at USIS_damascus@embassy.mzv.cz.

U.S. citizens in Syria who are in need of emergency assistance and are unable to reach the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic, or must make contact outside business hours, should contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan:

Telephone: +962 (6) 590-6950 (Daily 2-3:30 local time)
Emergencies: +962 (6) 590-6500
E-mail: Amman-ACS@state.gov

For additional information about U.S. citizens' services in Syria from the Office of Overseas Citizens' Services in Washington, e-mail: SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis link at Travel.State.Gov. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

For additional information:

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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at time of entry 

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

 

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended operations in February 2012 and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens who choose to remain in Syria despite the Travel Warning.

The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria. The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and those services may require significantly more processing time than they would at U.S. embassies or consulates outside of Syria. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should try to quickly and safely leave Syria to obtain assistance from a U.S. consular section in a neighboring country. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services and are unable to safely leave Syria should contact the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Damascus at USIS_damascus@embassy.mzv.cz.

U.S. citizens in Syria who are in need of emergency assistance, and are unable to reach the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic or must make contact outside business hours, should contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan:

Telephone: 962 (6) 590-6950 (Daily 2-3:30 local time)
Emergencies: 962 (6) 590-6500
E-mailAmman-ACS@state.gov

Information about U.S. citizens’ services in Syria is also available from the Office of Overseas Citizens’ Services in Washington. Please e-mail:  SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

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Destination Description

In light of violent,volatile conditions in Syria and the ongoing civil war, the Department of State has issued a Travel Warning, to advise U.S. citizens against travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. 

The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria. The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens through its U.S. Interests Section (USIS) is extremely limited, and those services may require significantly more processing time than they would at U.S. embassies or consulates outside Syria. 

The Syrian Arab Republic is ruled by an authoritarian regime dominated by the Socialist Ba'ath Party currently engaged in a full-scale civil war with the armed Syrian opposition.

The Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors. Any encounter with a Syrian citizen could be subject to scrutiny by the General Intelligence Directorate (GID) or other security services. Sustained interactions with average Syrians – especially if deemed to be of a political nature – may subject that Syrian to harassment and/or detention, and other forms of repressive actions by state security elements. Furthermore, loitering or photographing of facilities or buildings or behavior deemed suspicious may result in U.S. citizens being arrested or detained by security services.

Since 1979, the United States has designated Syria a State Sponsor of Terrorism due to its support for organizations such as Hizbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The combination of terrorist organizations, a porous border with Iraq and long-standing border issues with all of its neighbors (Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Israel) have made Syria a destabilizing factor in the region and a potential target for reprisal. Read the Department of State’s Human Rights ReportTrafficking in Persons ReportInternational Religious Freedom ReportFact Sheet on U.S. Relations with Syria, and Department of State's Syria page for additional information.

Since September 2014, the United States and other countries’ militaries have been involved in military strikes on Syrian territory. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A passport and a visa are required. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Syria from a Syrian diplomatic mission located in the traveler’s country of residence. The Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Washington, DC, however, suspended all operations, including consular services on March 18, 2014 and has not appointed a protecting power. 

Foreigners who wish to stay 15 days or more in Syria must register with Syrian immigration authorities by the 15th day of their stay.

Syria charges a departure tax at its land and sea borders for all visitors except those on diplomatic passports and children under the age of 11. 

Israel Travel: The Syrian government rigidly enforces restrictions on prior travel to Israel, and does not allow persons with passports bearing Israeli visas or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. Likewise, the absence of entry stamps from a country adjacent to Israel, which the traveler has just visited, will cause Syrian immigration officials to refuse admittance. Overland entry into Syria directly from Israel is not possible. U.S. citizen travelers suspected of having traveled to Israel have been detained for questioning.

Dual Nationality: U.S. males holding dual Syrian citizenship or  non-dual U.S. citizen men of Syrian origin, even those born in the United States, may be subject to compulsory military service unless they receive a temporary or permanent exemption from a Syrian diplomatic mission abroad prior to their entry into Syria. Syria usually will not issue visas or residency permits to students wishing to study religion or Arabic in private religious institutions.

A child under the age of eighteen whose father is Syrian or of Syrian descent must have his/her father’s permission to leave Syria, even if the parents are separated or divorced and the mother has been granted full custody by a Syrian court. On occasion, the families of U.S.-Syrian women visiting Syria have attempted to prevent them from leaving the country, generally in order to compel the woman to marry. Although under Syrian law a woman does not need her husband's explicit consent every time she wishes to leave Syria, a Syrian husband may take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality. Once such legal orders are in place, the U.S. government cannot help U.S. citizens to leave Syria.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors or foreign residents of Syria. AIDS tests are mandatory for foreigners from ages 15 to 60 who wish to reside in Syria. The AIDS test must be conducted in Syria at a facility approved by the Syrian Ministry of Health. A residence permit will not be issued until the applicant is determined HIV negative. Foreigners wishing to marry Syrian nationals in Syria must also be tested for HIV. Please verify this information with the Syrian government before you travel.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

The Syrian regime has used deadly force to quell anti-government protests and is engaged in a full-scale civil war with armed groups. The government is no longer in control of vast swathes of the country, particularly in northern, southern and eastern Syria and Damascus suburbs. Some armed groups have utilized car bombs, improvised explosive device/indirect-fire attacks, sniper fire, and carried out kidnappings throughout the country. Foreign combatants – including Iranian regime elements, Hizballah fighters, Islamic extremists, and al Qaida-linked elements – are also participating in hostilities. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) controls large amounts of territory in the north and east of the country where it has committed atrocities against civilians, including the murder of U.S. citizens.

Syrian regime military operations have involved the use of ballistic missiles, aerial attacks, heavy artillery, and chemical weapons targeting civilian centers. Attacks from the regime or other groups could happen with little or no warning, no part of Syria should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for unpredictable and hostile acts, including kidnappings, sniper assaults, terrorist attacks, large- and small-scale bombings, as well as arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture.

The U.S. intelligence community assesses with high confidence that the Asad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, against the Syrian people multiple times over the past year. ISIL is also likely responsible for several small-scale sulfur mustard attacks in Syria. The continuing violence, deteriorating security situation, and Syria’s continuing chemical and biological weapons program creates a particularly volatile situation. The security situation throughout the country is very likely to remain volatile and unpredictable for the foreseeable future, with some areas, especially in the contested population centers, experiencing substantially increased levels of violence. The conflict has resulted over 400,000 deaths with many thousands more wounded, over  4.8 million refugees and over 6.5 million internally displaced persons.

There is an ongoing and increased risk of kidnapping of U.S. citizens and Westerners throughout the country. U.S. citizens remain a specific target, with several high profile abductions since mid-2012. U.S. citizens held captive by ISIL have been murdered by the group, which released videos of killings and publicly took responsibility for their deaths. U.S. citizens have been abducted by other individuals and groups in Syria, and from various locations, including the Damascus and Aleppo areas. Other U.S. citizens have gone missing and are believed kidnapped  since the outbreak of hostilities, from diverse backgrounds ranging from academia and journalism to humanitarian work. The risk for kidnapping is high and persists for U.S. citizens of all backgrounds, in all areas of Syria.

A porous border with Iraq and long-standing border issues with Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel, have contributed to a complex security environment in Syria, compounded by a protracted violent conflict and influx of foreign fighters. Since 2012, there have been multiple reports of Syrian shelling of neighboring countries near border areas, most significantly in Lebanon, Turkey, and the Golan Heights. Indirect fire has crossed into Lebanon on several occasions and Syria-based extremists associated with ISIL and al-Nusrah Front have conducted several incursions into Lebanon, illustrating the continued potential for spillover of Syria’s conflict throughout the region. The Government of Turkey has closed its border with Syria. Border crossings from Syria into Turkey are prohibited, even if the traveler entered Syria from Turkey. Individuals seeking emergency medical treatment or safety from immediate danger are assessed on a case by case basis.

Syria has been a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1979 and has given political support to a variety of terrorist groups affecting the stability of the region. Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government personnel and private U.S. citizens. Terrorists may target areas frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other frequently visited areas. U.S. citizens still in Syria are strongly encouraged to depart Syria immediately. U.S. citizens who choose to remain despite this warning should maintain a high level of vigilance and be aware of their surroundings. It is especially important for travelers to be unpredictable in their movements by varying times and routes and maintaining a low profile. 

While many Syrians appear genuinely friendly towards foreigners, underlying tensions can lead to a quick escalation in the potential for violence. Elements within both the regime, as well as non-state actor groups, maintain anti-U.S. or anti-Western sentiment, which may intensify following significant events in the region, particularly those related to U.S.-Syria relations, international intervention in the ongoing conflict, Israeli-Palestinian issues, the status of Jerusalem, and clashes in Lebanon.

Security personnel frequently place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, internet connections, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in questioning, detention and/or confiscation of the images. Additionally, U.S. citizens should be aware that conversations on the topics of politics, religion, and other social issues could lead to arrest. It is also illegal in Syria to possess specific-use electronic devices including GPS, short-wave or handheld radio equipment, or similar devices.

U.S. citizens should increase their vigilance if they travel to the border area with Iraq or Israel, the Golan Heights, or the Al-Jazira (eastern Syria) region.

CRIME: The rate of crime in major Syrian cities is difficult to determine because of the country is currently experiencing a violent civil war. The current unrest and significant deterioration of the Syrian economy have led to a perceived increase in criminal activity. Since the suspension of operations of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus in February of 2012, the U.S. government has not been able to provide accurate information about crime to U.S. citizens visiting or living in Syria. The Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. As the U.S. Embassy in Damascus has suspended operations, U.S. citizens are reminded that the Czech Government, through the U.S. Interests Section of the Czech Embassy in Damascus, currently serves as the Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria; however, their ability to provide services is extremely limited. A U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency line in Syria are 110 for ambulance, 113 for fire, and 112 for the police. Syrian operators, however, do not usually speak English.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Interests Section or U.S. Embassy Amman for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

For example, under the Narcotics Act, article 39, Syria imposes the death penalty for drug trafficking or cultivation. Women who are arrested under suspicion of immoral behavior (e.g. being alone in a room with a man who is not the woman’s husband, or being in a residence where drugs or alcohol are being consumed) may be subjected to a virginity test. In addition, the Syrian government monitors the activities of all groups, including religious groups, and discourages proselytizing, which it deems a threat to relations among religious groups.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Interests Section of the Czech Embassy in Damascus immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Although Syria is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Syrian authorities generally do not notify the U.S. Interests Section of the arrest of a U.S. citizen until weeks after the arrest, if at all. Moreover, in previous cases security officials have not responded to U.S. requests for consular access, especially in cases of persons detained for “security” reasons.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Syria is currently in the midst of a violent civil war. The Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria despite the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning depart immediately.  U.S. citizens who remain should carry a photocopy of their U.S. passport with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, they will have proof of identity and U.S. citizenship readily available.

Customs Requirements: Syrian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Syria of items such as weapons, narcotics, alcohol, tobacco, cheese, fruit, pharmaceuticals, modems, cosmetics, and some electrical appliances. Please refer to our Customs Information page for additional information. 

Banking and Commerce: 

  • Foreign currencies can be exchanged for Syrian pounds only by licensed money changers, the Commercial Bank of Syria (CBS), the Real Estate Bank, and at private banks, some of which maintain offices inside four and five star hotels.
  • Four and five star hotels and high-end stores in Syria generally accept credit cards, although most restaurants, stores and shops operate exclusively in cash.
  • Foreigners visiting Syria are required to pay hotel bills in U.S. dollars, Euros or other non-Syrian hard currency.
  • Traveler’s checks are not accepted in Syria and banks will not cash them unless the traveler has an account at the bank in question.
  • There are no U.S.-based banks operating in Syria.
  • There are fourteen private banks operating in Syria, with branches and ATMs in most major cities. These ATMs usually honor major debit/credit systems.
  • U.S. banks are restricted by law from transacting business with the largest public bank in Syria, the CBS,  therefore U.S. banks will not process ATM transactions from CBS branches.
  • Funds may be transferred into Syria through Western Union.
  • Wiring of funds through private banks is possible only if the traveler already holds an account with the bank in Syria; transferring funds through the Commercial Bank of Syria is not possible because of U.S. sanctions. Restrictions on wire transfers from Syria to locations abroad and restrictions on withdrawing U.S. dollars have changed several times in 2011 because of the fluctuating political situation; private citizens seeking to transfer funds outside of Syria or to withdraw U.S. dollars from a bank in Syria should check with the relevant financial institution for the most up-to-date regulations.

Military Service: U.S.-Syrian and U.S.-Palestinian men who have never served in the Syrian military and who are planning to visit Syria despite the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning should contact the Syrian government prior to traveling concerning compulsory military service. 

Effective June 1, 2011, the period of mandatory military service for men who have completed the fifth grade is 18 months. The period of mandatory military service for men who have not completed the fifth grade is 21 months.

U.S. citizen men over the age of 18, even those who have never resided in or visited Syria, and whose fathers are of Syrian descent, are required to complete military service or pay the exemption fee.  Possession of a U.S. passport does not absolve the bearer of this obligation. The amount of the exemption fee depends upon a combination of factors:

  • For Syrians (including U.S. citizens of either Syrian or Palestinian origin) born outside of Syria and residing abroad until the age of 18, the fee for exemption from military service is $500;
  • For Syrians born in Syria, but who left Syria before reaching the age of 11 and who have resided outside Syria for more than 15 years, the fee for exemption from military service is $5,000;
  • For persons who do not meet the above criteria, but who reside abroad, the fee for exemption from military service is $6,500.

Consult Syrian government authorities if you seek additional information.

Trade and Sanctions: Since May 11, 2004, measures imposed in accordance with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act have prohibited the export to Syria of products of the United States other than food or medicine, and prohibit any commercial aircraft owned or controlled by the Syrian government from taking off from or landing in the United States. Under the authority provided in Section 5(b) of the Act, the President has determined that it is in the national security interest of the United States to waive the application of these sanctions in certain cases and for certain products, as specified in the Department of Commerce's General Order No. 2. “For additional information about the exportation of U.S.-origin dual-use items to Syria, consult the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Treasury web sites.”

Terrorism List Government Sanctions Regulations prohibit U.S. persons from receiving unlicensed donations from the Syrian government. You can review the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Syria Sanctions page for more information. Additionally, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in financial transactions which a U.S. person knows or has reasonable cause to believe pose a risk of furthering terrorist acts in the United States. For additional information about Terrorism List Government Sanctions Regulations, consult the terrorism brochure on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) home page or via OFAC's info-by-fax service at (202) 622-0077.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI RIGHTS: Syrian law criminalizes consensual same sex conduct under penal code article 520, which states that each sexual act "contrary to nature" is punishable by as long as three years imprisonment. There are open source reports indicating that LGBTI individuals could be murdered for engaging in homosexual acts in ISIL-controlled areas. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for additional information.

ACCESSIBILITY: While in Syria, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Syrian law protects persons with disabilities from discrimination in education, access to health, or provision of other state services; but the government has not enforced these provisions. Sidewalks are generally unevenly paved and often blocked by parked cars. Stairs must be used to access many public buildings, restaurants, cafes, and other tourist spots.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Basic medical care and medicines are available in Damascus and some coastal areas, but not necessarily in other areas. Serious illnesses and emergencies may require evacuation to a neighboring country or Western medical facility. 

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.   See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. You might also wish to ask whether your insurance will cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or a medical evacuation within country, to the United States or a third country.  In addition, you might wish to check whether your insurance will cover injuries sustained in a conflict zone.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

In recent years, there have been multiple reports of polio and measles outbreaks in Syria. The ongoing conflict has reduced the ability to contain and control the spread of such infectious diesases.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Outbreaks of measles, chickenpox, pertussis and mumps are common in Syria and children and adults traveling should ensure that they have adequate immunization.  Vaccine-derived polio outbreaks are occuring. Polio immunization should be up to date for children, and adults should have a documented adult dose of polio vaccine. Meningococcal vaccination is also recommended for children over 6 years of age who will be staying in Syria.

Other Health Concerns: Diarrheal disease risk is high throughout Syria, especially in degraded urban areas, but is also common in deluxe accommodations.  Consider bringing azithromycin and loperamide for treatment if needed.

Further health information:

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information, including information for the Syrian Arab Republic

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Travel and Transportation

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Syria, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

Because of the ongoing conflict, there is increased likelihood that visitors will encounter hostile activity, harassment, and abduction at both official and unofficial security checkpoints on roads throughout the country. You should exercise caution if driving in Syria because conditions are hazardous, in addition to the threat posed by the active conflict.

Although drivers generally follow traffic signs and signals in urban centers, they maneuver aggressively and show little regard for vehicles traveling near them. Lane markings are usually ignored. Different from the United States, vehicles within Syrian traffic circles must give way to entering traffic. At night, it is very difficult to see pedestrians, who often walk into traffic with little warning. Outside major cities, it is common to find pedestrians, animals and vehicles on unlighted roads at night.

Pedestrians should also exercise caution. Parked cars, deteriorating pavement, and guard posts obstruct sidewalks, often forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. Vehicles often do not stop for pedestrians, and regularly run red lights or “jump” the green light well before it changes. Drivers and passengers are subject to demands for money, harassment and abduction throughout the country. Rule of law, including traffic laws, and law enforcement is absent in many areas of the country.

See our Road Safety page for more information. 

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Syria, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Syria’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

MARITIME TRAVEL: Mariners planning travel to Syria should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts within the MARAD website. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.  Select “broadcast warnings” from within the NGA site.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended operations in February 2012 and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens who choose to remain in Syria despite the Travel Warning.

The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria. The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and those services may require significantly more processing time than they would at U.S. embassies or consulates outside of Syria. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should try to quickly and safely leave Syria to obtain assistance from a U.S. consular section in a neighboring country. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services and are unable to safely leave Syria should contact the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Damascus at USIS_damascus@embassy.mzv.cz.

U.S. citizens in Syria who are in need of emergency assistance, and are unable to reach the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic or must make contact outside business hours, should contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan:

Telephone: 962 (6) 590-6950 (Daily 2-3:30 local time)
Emergencies: 962 (6) 590-6500
E-mailAmman-ACS@state.gov

Information about U.S. citizens’ services in Syria is also available from the Office of Overseas Citizens’ Services in Washington. Please e-mail:  SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

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General Information

 

For information concerning travel to Syria, including information about the current security situation in Syria, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see our country-specific information for Syria and the Syria travel warning.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

 

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

Syria is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Syria and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

 

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents should consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Syria and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a crime in Syria.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in Syria to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

 

 

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Visitation/Access

 

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Syria and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children in Syria who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a country neighboring Syria for information and possible assistance.  They should also e-mail the Office of Overseas Citizens's Services in Washington at SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.  For additional information, see Embassy of the United States in Damascus, Syria.

 

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at U.S. Embassies or Consulates are authorized to provide legal advice.  

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Sharia law courts and other religious courts provide mediation services in custody disputes. There are no non-religious, non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

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.

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Who Can Adopt
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Who Can Be Adopted
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Traveling Abroad
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After Adoption
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Contact Information

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
Arjan 11118
Amman, Jordan
Tel:  5679327
Family Manager:  Ext. 399
Custody Section:  Ext. 334
Fax:  5679961
Family Directorate Fax:  5694291

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Applications
Validity
Period
A-1 None One 6 Months
A-2 None One 6 Months
A-3 1 None One 6 Months
B-1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-2 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 24 Months
C-1 None One 3 Months
C-1/D None One 3 Months
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None One 3 Months
CW-1 11 None One 3 Months
CW-2 11 None One 3 Months
D None One 3 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None One 3 Months
F-1 None Multiple 24 Months
F-2 None Multiple 24 Months
G-1 None One 6 Months
G-2 None One 6 Months
G-3 None One 6 Months
G-4 None Multiple 6 Months
G-5 1 None One 6 Months
H-1B None One 3 Months 3
H-1C None One 3 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A 3
H-2B None N/A N/A 3
H-2R None One 3 Months 3
H-3 None One 3 Months 3
H-4 None One 3 Months 3
I None Multiple 24 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 24 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 24 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None One 3 Months
L-2 None One 3 Months
M-1 None Multiple 24 Months
M-2 None Multiple 24 Months
N-8 None Multiple 6 Months
N-9 None Multiple 6 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None One 3 Months 3
O-2 None One 3 Months 3
O-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-1 None One 3 Months 3
P-2 None One 3 Months 3
P-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-4 None One 3 Months 3
Q-1 6 None One 3 Months 3
R-1 None One 3 Months
R-2 None One 3 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 60 Months
V-2 None Multiple 60 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 60 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

The Civil Affairs offices in Syria maintain records of birth, marriage, divorce and death for most Syrians. When a marriage contract or a divorce decision is issued by the religious authority, it must be registered with Civil Affairs to be recognized as legal. Once the birth of a child is registered, the Civil Affairs office issues a civil birth certificate and an individual civil record. The Civil Affairs office may also issue a family extract record, which lists the names of current and prior spouses as well as family members. Civil documents in Syria are now available to different offices and localities through a central database.

As of July 2011, Syrian citizens can register new civil events (birth, marriage, divorce, and death) and obtain civil documents from any Civil Affairs office in Syria without going back to the original secretariat of their civil records. This new service became possible after the completion of the Electronic Gate project, which made Syria one Civil Secretariat.

Civil documents are reasonably reliable for events occurring after 1924 but are usually unavailable for earlier dates. Church records are generally the only source of information for documents pertaining to events prior to 1924. Care should be taken, however, to ensure that information on documents has not been officially changed by court order. Certified extracts from the Civil Affairs offices are readily available upon request. A fee is charged for this service.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Birth Record

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person. 2- A family member. 3- A lawyer.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: 1- Identity card. 2- Family card. 3- Individual Civil Extract.

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e.g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service became available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Death Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Death Statement

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually, round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A family member 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than the Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e,g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service has become available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Marriage Record

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A family member 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: Family Extract

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e.g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service has become available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Syria.

Divorce Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Statement of Divorce

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A family member 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e,g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service has become available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Adoption Certificates

Syrian law does not allow adoption. However, the Islamic court may grant custody of an orphan to a guardian.

Comments: The Syrian Catholic Church obtained authority to issue adoption court orders according to decree number 31, issued on June 18, 2006. This decree was later cancelled by decree 76, issued in 2010.

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Identity Card

National ID Cards

Available: Yes after the age of 14

Fees: Free

Document Name: Personal Card

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: No seal. Plastic ID

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Checking the Civil Affairs database.

Procedure for Obtaining: In person

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: Individual Civil Extract with a photo registered with the local mayor.

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: N/A

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police/Prison Records

Available to Syrian citizens residing in Syria, but may be unavailable to citizens living outside the country.

Court Records

There are different types of courts in Syria: Civil Courts, Criminal Courts, Economic Courts, Military Courts, and Religious Courts.

Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Syria follow their own laws in regard to marriage and divorce. For example, a Muslim Court is presided over by a Muslim Judge, and a Christian Court is presided over by the Bishop or Metropolitan (a bishop who is head of an ecclesiastical province) of that church.

In the case of a foreigner who wants to marry a Syrian citizen in a Syrian Religious Court and register the marriage in the Civil Affairs, the foreign spouse must provide a proof of their religion and file for a security clearance with the Syrian Intelligence, which normally takes up to six months, but could take longer in times of civil conflict. In Syria, Muslim men can marry Christians or Jews (Muslim men cannot marry outside of the three Abrahamic religions), but Muslim women cannot marry outside their religion.

Marriage in Syria has to be religious. The only civil marriages in Syrian Civil Courts are for foreigners who are not Muslims, Christians or Jews.

Available: Yes.

Fees: Variable in a form of stamps.

Document Name: Court Order

Issuing Government Authority: Syrian Court - Ministry of Justice.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually, for Muslim Religious Court, round black with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "Ministry of Justice" and name of the court. Or round blue for Christian courts. Generally, the form of the seal is different from court to court.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judge or Bishop.

Registration Criteria: Checking the courts records and civil record.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A person with a Power of Attorney 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: According to Syrian law, marriage and divorce documents shall be submitted by the Religious Courts to the Secretary of the Civil Register where the event has taken place within 15 days if the event has taken place within the jurisdiction of the Secretariat of the Civil Register, and 30 days if the event has occurred outside the jurisdiction (Article 22/amended by legislative Decree 102 of 1969). Under Syrian law, a marriage or divorce is not recognized until it is registered with the Civil Registry. Therefore, marriage contracts and divorce court orders should not be accepted as proof of marriage or divorce by the U.S. government for immigration purposes since they must be filed with the Civil Registry to be recognized by the Syrian government. As for marriage and divorce rulings, the legal period begins on the date when these rulings become final.

Military Records

Syrian males over the age of 18 must present themselves for the mandatory military service, and when they do, they receive Military Cards. Syrian males keep this document after their discharge from the service and present it again when they are called up for reserve. This document records the dates, all events and duties of the bearer from the first day in military service until the time of discharge from duty. If this document is lost or unavailable, military statements can be obtained from the Mobilization Department.

Military service is mandatory for all Syrian males. However, the mandatory military service requirement can be waived for different reasons. (e.g. if the candidate has a permanent disability, which prevents him from performing his duty, if he is the only male child of his parent(s), if he has a brother who died on duty, or if he is a resident in another country and paid the military exemption fee. Additionally, the requirement can be postponed if the candidate is a student.

Available: Yes

Fees: Free

Document Name: Flag Service Card

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Defense.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Oval or round.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Branch Officer

Registration Criteria: Checking the Civil Affairs database and Ministry of Defense database.

Procedure for Obtaining: In person

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: There are other types of military extracts or statements that provide specific piece of information concerning military service. These documents are usually handwritten, or computer typed on normal paper.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available: There are four different types of Syrian passports:

  1. Service (green), (NOT ACCEPTED)
  2. Diplomatic (red),
  3. Special (light brown), and
  4. Regular (dark blue).

Other Documents Available:

  1. Travel documents for Palestinian Refugees in Syria.
  2. Transportation Letter in case the passport is lost or stolen abroad.

Fees: Regular: 4000 SYP Expedited: 15000 SYP

Document Name: Passport

Issuing Government Authority: Department of Immigration and Passport - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: The Syrian Government issues a photo-digitized machine-readable passport with security features. The current passport is 5 inches by 3.5 inches. The color of the passport is dark blue and has a golden eagle seal in the middle. The Syrian passport displays the following key features:

  • The passport is 48 pages and is in ICAO format (smaller than the previous one).
  • It is machine readable.
  • The photograph is photo-digitized and printed on the bio-page.
  • A small OVD eagle is printed onto the bio-page.
  • Father's and mother's names are added to the bio-page.
  • The biographic page is covered by a thin plastic laminate.
  • The perforations on the bio-pages are covered by laminate as well.
  • The signature is also printed at the back of the bio-page.
  • The passport is laser perforated.
  • There is micro-text printing on the regular pages underlining the word visas, and in a straight line down each page " Syrian Arab Republic" in English and French
  • The background of the regular pages show historical or modern sites printed in blue.
  • There is intaglio printing on the inside of the front and back pages of the passport.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Director of Department of Immigration and passports

Registration Criteria: Checking the Civil Affairs database.

Procedure for Obtaining: In person

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Palestinian Refugees in Syria: Syria issues travel documents for Palestinian refugees in Syria. Palestinians living in Syria have the same duties and responsibilities as Syrian citizens other than nationality and political rights. In 1960, Decree no. 28 granted Palestinian Travel Documents to Palestinians living in Syria. In 1963, Law no. 1311 required Palestinians living in Syria to register with GAPAR (The General Administration For Palestinian Arab Refugees) and hold Syrian provisional identity cards.

The Palestinian Travel Document is valid for six years, like Syrian passports, and enables its holder to return to Syria without a visa. Travel Documents can also be reissued by any Syrian representative office outside Syria. In 1999, a new law was passed allowing Palestinian refugees in Syria to travel to and from Lebanon using their identity cards.

Palestinian refugees are granted freedom of movement in all parts of Syria.

The Syrian Government has taken strict measures to control the entry of Palestinian refugees with Egyptian, Jordanian and Iraqi Travel Documents as a precaution against any possibility of their resettlement in Syria.

Other Comments:The Department does not accept Syrian service passports for visa purposes. The requirements stated in INA 101(a)(30) are no longer being met, and Syrian service passports do not comply with the definition of a passport. This action is in keeping with U.S. Government efforts to tighten restrictions on the movement of terrorists; in this case those using third country passports. However, this will not affect the issuance of visas to holders of passports in the other three categories. Applicants should be informed that the United States Government is no longer accepting service passports for visas, but should the applicant wish to present any of the other three types of Syrian passports, the application will be considered.

Visas will not be placed in the green service passports. Syrians who present these passports should be refused under INA 221(g). Form DS-232 may not be used to issue visas to Syrians who present service passports.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Damascus, Syria (Embassy)--Services currently suspended.

Street Address:
2, Al-Mansour Street
Abu Roumaneh

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 29
Damascus, Syria

Tel: (963) (11) 3391-4444

Fax: (963) (11) 331-9678

E-mail: acsdamascus@state.gov

Amman, Jordan (Embassy)

P.O. Box 354

Tel: 962 (6) 592-0101

Fax: 962 (6) 592-4102

Visa Services

Note: The U.S. Embassy workweek is Sunday through Thursday.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

There is currently no diplomatic or consular representation for Syria in the U.S. Please provide consular notification for Syrian nationals to the Honorary Consulate of the Syrian Arab Republic in Montreal, Canada.

(514) 744-0084 (514) 331-9412

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Amman
Abdoun, Al-Umawyeen St.
Amman – Jordan
Telephone
+(962) (6) 590-6000
Emergency
+(962) (6) 590-6500
Fax
+(962) (6) 592-0163
Syria Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Syria
Syrian Arab Republic
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at time of entry 

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

 

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended operations in February 2012 and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens who choose to remain in Syria despite the Travel Warning.

The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria. The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and those services may require significantly more processing time than they would at U.S. embassies or consulates outside of Syria. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should try to quickly and safely leave Syria to obtain assistance from a U.S. consular section in a neighboring country. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services and are unable to safely leave Syria should contact the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Damascus at USIS_damascus@embassy.mzv.cz.

U.S. citizens in Syria who are in need of emergency assistance, and are unable to reach the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic or must make contact outside business hours, should contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan:

Telephone: 962 (6) 590-6950 (Daily 2-3:30 local time)
Emergencies: 962 (6) 590-6500
E-mailAmman-ACS@state.gov

Information about U.S. citizens’ services in Syria is also available from the Office of Overseas Citizens’ Services in Washington. Please e-mail:  SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

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Destination Description

In light of violent,volatile conditions in Syria and the ongoing civil war, the Department of State has issued a Travel Warning, to advise U.S. citizens against travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. 

The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria. The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens through its U.S. Interests Section (USIS) is extremely limited, and those services may require significantly more processing time than they would at U.S. embassies or consulates outside Syria. 

The Syrian Arab Republic is ruled by an authoritarian regime dominated by the Socialist Ba'ath Party currently engaged in a full-scale civil war with the armed Syrian opposition.

The Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors. Any encounter with a Syrian citizen could be subject to scrutiny by the General Intelligence Directorate (GID) or other security services. Sustained interactions with average Syrians – especially if deemed to be of a political nature – may subject that Syrian to harassment and/or detention, and other forms of repressive actions by state security elements. Furthermore, loitering or photographing of facilities or buildings or behavior deemed suspicious may result in U.S. citizens being arrested or detained by security services.

Since 1979, the United States has designated Syria a State Sponsor of Terrorism due to its support for organizations such as Hizbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The combination of terrorist organizations, a porous border with Iraq and long-standing border issues with all of its neighbors (Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Israel) have made Syria a destabilizing factor in the region and a potential target for reprisal. Read the Department of State’s Human Rights ReportTrafficking in Persons ReportInternational Religious Freedom ReportFact Sheet on U.S. Relations with Syria, and Department of State's Syria page for additional information.

Since September 2014, the United States and other countries’ militaries have been involved in military strikes on Syrian territory. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A passport and a visa are required. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Syria from a Syrian diplomatic mission located in the traveler’s country of residence. The Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Washington, DC, however, suspended all operations, including consular services on March 18, 2014 and has not appointed a protecting power. 

Foreigners who wish to stay 15 days or more in Syria must register with Syrian immigration authorities by the 15th day of their stay.

Syria charges a departure tax at its land and sea borders for all visitors except those on diplomatic passports and children under the age of 11. 

Israel Travel: The Syrian government rigidly enforces restrictions on prior travel to Israel, and does not allow persons with passports bearing Israeli visas or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. Likewise, the absence of entry stamps from a country adjacent to Israel, which the traveler has just visited, will cause Syrian immigration officials to refuse admittance. Overland entry into Syria directly from Israel is not possible. U.S. citizen travelers suspected of having traveled to Israel have been detained for questioning.

Dual Nationality: U.S. males holding dual Syrian citizenship or  non-dual U.S. citizen men of Syrian origin, even those born in the United States, may be subject to compulsory military service unless they receive a temporary or permanent exemption from a Syrian diplomatic mission abroad prior to their entry into Syria. Syria usually will not issue visas or residency permits to students wishing to study religion or Arabic in private religious institutions.

A child under the age of eighteen whose father is Syrian or of Syrian descent must have his/her father’s permission to leave Syria, even if the parents are separated or divorced and the mother has been granted full custody by a Syrian court. On occasion, the families of U.S.-Syrian women visiting Syria have attempted to prevent them from leaving the country, generally in order to compel the woman to marry. Although under Syrian law a woman does not need her husband's explicit consent every time she wishes to leave Syria, a Syrian husband may take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality. Once such legal orders are in place, the U.S. government cannot help U.S. citizens to leave Syria.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors or foreign residents of Syria. AIDS tests are mandatory for foreigners from ages 15 to 60 who wish to reside in Syria. The AIDS test must be conducted in Syria at a facility approved by the Syrian Ministry of Health. A residence permit will not be issued until the applicant is determined HIV negative. Foreigners wishing to marry Syrian nationals in Syria must also be tested for HIV. Please verify this information with the Syrian government before you travel.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

The Syrian regime has used deadly force to quell anti-government protests and is engaged in a full-scale civil war with armed groups. The government is no longer in control of vast swathes of the country, particularly in northern, southern and eastern Syria and Damascus suburbs. Some armed groups have utilized car bombs, improvised explosive device/indirect-fire attacks, sniper fire, and carried out kidnappings throughout the country. Foreign combatants – including Iranian regime elements, Hizballah fighters, Islamic extremists, and al Qaida-linked elements – are also participating in hostilities. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) controls large amounts of territory in the north and east of the country where it has committed atrocities against civilians, including the murder of U.S. citizens.

Syrian regime military operations have involved the use of ballistic missiles, aerial attacks, heavy artillery, and chemical weapons targeting civilian centers. Attacks from the regime or other groups could happen with little or no warning, no part of Syria should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for unpredictable and hostile acts, including kidnappings, sniper assaults, terrorist attacks, large- and small-scale bombings, as well as arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture.

The U.S. intelligence community assesses with high confidence that the Asad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, against the Syrian people multiple times over the past year. ISIL is also likely responsible for several small-scale sulfur mustard attacks in Syria. The continuing violence, deteriorating security situation, and Syria’s continuing chemical and biological weapons program creates a particularly volatile situation. The security situation throughout the country is very likely to remain volatile and unpredictable for the foreseeable future, with some areas, especially in the contested population centers, experiencing substantially increased levels of violence. The conflict has resulted over 400,000 deaths with many thousands more wounded, over  4.8 million refugees and over 6.5 million internally displaced persons.

There is an ongoing and increased risk of kidnapping of U.S. citizens and Westerners throughout the country. U.S. citizens remain a specific target, with several high profile abductions since mid-2012. U.S. citizens held captive by ISIL have been murdered by the group, which released videos of killings and publicly took responsibility for their deaths. U.S. citizens have been abducted by other individuals and groups in Syria, and from various locations, including the Damascus and Aleppo areas. Other U.S. citizens have gone missing and are believed kidnapped  since the outbreak of hostilities, from diverse backgrounds ranging from academia and journalism to humanitarian work. The risk for kidnapping is high and persists for U.S. citizens of all backgrounds, in all areas of Syria.

A porous border with Iraq and long-standing border issues with Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel, have contributed to a complex security environment in Syria, compounded by a protracted violent conflict and influx of foreign fighters. Since 2012, there have been multiple reports of Syrian shelling of neighboring countries near border areas, most significantly in Lebanon, Turkey, and the Golan Heights. Indirect fire has crossed into Lebanon on several occasions and Syria-based extremists associated with ISIL and al-Nusrah Front have conducted several incursions into Lebanon, illustrating the continued potential for spillover of Syria’s conflict throughout the region. The Government of Turkey has closed its border with Syria. Border crossings from Syria into Turkey are prohibited, even if the traveler entered Syria from Turkey. Individuals seeking emergency medical treatment or safety from immediate danger are assessed on a case by case basis.

Syria has been a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1979 and has given political support to a variety of terrorist groups affecting the stability of the region. Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government personnel and private U.S. citizens. Terrorists may target areas frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other frequently visited areas. U.S. citizens still in Syria are strongly encouraged to depart Syria immediately. U.S. citizens who choose to remain despite this warning should maintain a high level of vigilance and be aware of their surroundings. It is especially important for travelers to be unpredictable in their movements by varying times and routes and maintaining a low profile. 

While many Syrians appear genuinely friendly towards foreigners, underlying tensions can lead to a quick escalation in the potential for violence. Elements within both the regime, as well as non-state actor groups, maintain anti-U.S. or anti-Western sentiment, which may intensify following significant events in the region, particularly those related to U.S.-Syria relations, international intervention in the ongoing conflict, Israeli-Palestinian issues, the status of Jerusalem, and clashes in Lebanon.

Security personnel frequently place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, internet connections, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in questioning, detention and/or confiscation of the images. Additionally, U.S. citizens should be aware that conversations on the topics of politics, religion, and other social issues could lead to arrest. It is also illegal in Syria to possess specific-use electronic devices including GPS, short-wave or handheld radio equipment, or similar devices.

U.S. citizens should increase their vigilance if they travel to the border area with Iraq or Israel, the Golan Heights, or the Al-Jazira (eastern Syria) region.

CRIME: The rate of crime in major Syrian cities is difficult to determine because of the country is currently experiencing a violent civil war. The current unrest and significant deterioration of the Syrian economy have led to a perceived increase in criminal activity. Since the suspension of operations of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus in February of 2012, the U.S. government has not been able to provide accurate information about crime to U.S. citizens visiting or living in Syria. The Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. As the U.S. Embassy in Damascus has suspended operations, U.S. citizens are reminded that the Czech Government, through the U.S. Interests Section of the Czech Embassy in Damascus, currently serves as the Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria; however, their ability to provide services is extremely limited. A U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency line in Syria are 110 for ambulance, 113 for fire, and 112 for the police. Syrian operators, however, do not usually speak English.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Interests Section or U.S. Embassy Amman for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

For example, under the Narcotics Act, article 39, Syria imposes the death penalty for drug trafficking or cultivation. Women who are arrested under suspicion of immoral behavior (e.g. being alone in a room with a man who is not the woman’s husband, or being in a residence where drugs or alcohol are being consumed) may be subjected to a virginity test. In addition, the Syrian government monitors the activities of all groups, including religious groups, and discourages proselytizing, which it deems a threat to relations among religious groups.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Interests Section of the Czech Embassy in Damascus immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Although Syria is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Syrian authorities generally do not notify the U.S. Interests Section of the arrest of a U.S. citizen until weeks after the arrest, if at all. Moreover, in previous cases security officials have not responded to U.S. requests for consular access, especially in cases of persons detained for “security” reasons.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Syria is currently in the midst of a violent civil war. The Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria despite the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning depart immediately.  U.S. citizens who remain should carry a photocopy of their U.S. passport with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, they will have proof of identity and U.S. citizenship readily available.

Customs Requirements: Syrian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Syria of items such as weapons, narcotics, alcohol, tobacco, cheese, fruit, pharmaceuticals, modems, cosmetics, and some electrical appliances. Please refer to our Customs Information page for additional information. 

Banking and Commerce: 

  • Foreign currencies can be exchanged for Syrian pounds only by licensed money changers, the Commercial Bank of Syria (CBS), the Real Estate Bank, and at private banks, some of which maintain offices inside four and five star hotels.
  • Four and five star hotels and high-end stores in Syria generally accept credit cards, although most restaurants, stores and shops operate exclusively in cash.
  • Foreigners visiting Syria are required to pay hotel bills in U.S. dollars, Euros or other non-Syrian hard currency.
  • Traveler’s checks are not accepted in Syria and banks will not cash them unless the traveler has an account at the bank in question.
  • There are no U.S.-based banks operating in Syria.
  • There are fourteen private banks operating in Syria, with branches and ATMs in most major cities. These ATMs usually honor major debit/credit systems.
  • U.S. banks are restricted by law from transacting business with the largest public bank in Syria, the CBS,  therefore U.S. banks will not process ATM transactions from CBS branches.
  • Funds may be transferred into Syria through Western Union.
  • Wiring of funds through private banks is possible only if the traveler already holds an account with the bank in Syria; transferring funds through the Commercial Bank of Syria is not possible because of U.S. sanctions. Restrictions on wire transfers from Syria to locations abroad and restrictions on withdrawing U.S. dollars have changed several times in 2011 because of the fluctuating political situation; private citizens seeking to transfer funds outside of Syria or to withdraw U.S. dollars from a bank in Syria should check with the relevant financial institution for the most up-to-date regulations.

Military Service: U.S.-Syrian and U.S.-Palestinian men who have never served in the Syrian military and who are planning to visit Syria despite the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning should contact the Syrian government prior to traveling concerning compulsory military service. 

Effective June 1, 2011, the period of mandatory military service for men who have completed the fifth grade is 18 months. The period of mandatory military service for men who have not completed the fifth grade is 21 months.

U.S. citizen men over the age of 18, even those who have never resided in or visited Syria, and whose fathers are of Syrian descent, are required to complete military service or pay the exemption fee.  Possession of a U.S. passport does not absolve the bearer of this obligation. The amount of the exemption fee depends upon a combination of factors:

  • For Syrians (including U.S. citizens of either Syrian or Palestinian origin) born outside of Syria and residing abroad until the age of 18, the fee for exemption from military service is $500;
  • For Syrians born in Syria, but who left Syria before reaching the age of 11 and who have resided outside Syria for more than 15 years, the fee for exemption from military service is $5,000;
  • For persons who do not meet the above criteria, but who reside abroad, the fee for exemption from military service is $6,500.

Consult Syrian government authorities if you seek additional information.

Trade and Sanctions: Since May 11, 2004, measures imposed in accordance with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act have prohibited the export to Syria of products of the United States other than food or medicine, and prohibit any commercial aircraft owned or controlled by the Syrian government from taking off from or landing in the United States. Under the authority provided in Section 5(b) of the Act, the President has determined that it is in the national security interest of the United States to waive the application of these sanctions in certain cases and for certain products, as specified in the Department of Commerce's General Order No. 2. “For additional information about the exportation of U.S.-origin dual-use items to Syria, consult the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Treasury web sites.”

Terrorism List Government Sanctions Regulations prohibit U.S. persons from receiving unlicensed donations from the Syrian government. You can review the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Syria Sanctions page for more information. Additionally, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in financial transactions which a U.S. person knows or has reasonable cause to believe pose a risk of furthering terrorist acts in the United States. For additional information about Terrorism List Government Sanctions Regulations, consult the terrorism brochure on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) home page or via OFAC's info-by-fax service at (202) 622-0077.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI RIGHTS: Syrian law criminalizes consensual same sex conduct under penal code article 520, which states that each sexual act "contrary to nature" is punishable by as long as three years imprisonment. There are open source reports indicating that LGBTI individuals could be murdered for engaging in homosexual acts in ISIL-controlled areas. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for additional information.

ACCESSIBILITY: While in Syria, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Syrian law protects persons with disabilities from discrimination in education, access to health, or provision of other state services; but the government has not enforced these provisions. Sidewalks are generally unevenly paved and often blocked by parked cars. Stairs must be used to access many public buildings, restaurants, cafes, and other tourist spots.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Basic medical care and medicines are available in Damascus and some coastal areas, but not necessarily in other areas. Serious illnesses and emergencies may require evacuation to a neighboring country or Western medical facility. 

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.   See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. You might also wish to ask whether your insurance will cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or a medical evacuation within country, to the United States or a third country.  In addition, you might wish to check whether your insurance will cover injuries sustained in a conflict zone.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

In recent years, there have been multiple reports of polio and measles outbreaks in Syria. The ongoing conflict has reduced the ability to contain and control the spread of such infectious diesases.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Outbreaks of measles, chickenpox, pertussis and mumps are common in Syria and children and adults traveling should ensure that they have adequate immunization.  Vaccine-derived polio outbreaks are occuring. Polio immunization should be up to date for children, and adults should have a documented adult dose of polio vaccine. Meningococcal vaccination is also recommended for children over 6 years of age who will be staying in Syria.

Other Health Concerns: Diarrheal disease risk is high throughout Syria, especially in degraded urban areas, but is also common in deluxe accommodations.  Consider bringing azithromycin and loperamide for treatment if needed.

Further health information:

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information, including information for the Syrian Arab Republic

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Travel and Transportation

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Syria, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

Because of the ongoing conflict, there is increased likelihood that visitors will encounter hostile activity, harassment, and abduction at both official and unofficial security checkpoints on roads throughout the country. You should exercise caution if driving in Syria because conditions are hazardous, in addition to the threat posed by the active conflict.

Although drivers generally follow traffic signs and signals in urban centers, they maneuver aggressively and show little regard for vehicles traveling near them. Lane markings are usually ignored. Different from the United States, vehicles within Syrian traffic circles must give way to entering traffic. At night, it is very difficult to see pedestrians, who often walk into traffic with little warning. Outside major cities, it is common to find pedestrians, animals and vehicles on unlighted roads at night.

Pedestrians should also exercise caution. Parked cars, deteriorating pavement, and guard posts obstruct sidewalks, often forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. Vehicles often do not stop for pedestrians, and regularly run red lights or “jump” the green light well before it changes. Drivers and passengers are subject to demands for money, harassment and abduction throughout the country. Rule of law, including traffic laws, and law enforcement is absent in many areas of the country.

See our Road Safety page for more information. 

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Syria, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Syria’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

MARITIME TRAVEL: Mariners planning travel to Syria should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts within the MARAD website. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.  Select “broadcast warnings” from within the NGA site.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of State’s Syria Travel Warning. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended operations in February 2012 and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens who choose to remain in Syria despite the Travel Warning.

The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria. The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and those services may require significantly more processing time than they would at U.S. embassies or consulates outside of Syria. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should try to quickly and safely leave Syria to obtain assistance from a U.S. consular section in a neighboring country. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services and are unable to safely leave Syria should contact the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Damascus at USIS_damascus@embassy.mzv.cz.

U.S. citizens in Syria who are in need of emergency assistance, and are unable to reach the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic or must make contact outside business hours, should contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan:

Telephone: 962 (6) 590-6950 (Daily 2-3:30 local time)
Emergencies: 962 (6) 590-6500
E-mailAmman-ACS@state.gov

Information about U.S. citizens’ services in Syria is also available from the Office of Overseas Citizens’ Services in Washington. Please e-mail:  SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

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General Information

 

For information concerning travel to Syria, including information about the current security situation in Syria, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see our country-specific information for Syria and the Syria travel warning.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

 

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

Syria is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Syria and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

 

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents should consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Syria and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a crime in Syria.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in Syria to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

 

 

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Visitation/Access

 

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Syria and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children in Syria who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a country neighboring Syria for information and possible assistance.  They should also e-mail the Office of Overseas Citizens's Services in Washington at SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.  For additional information, see Embassy of the United States in Damascus, Syria.

 

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at U.S. Embassies or Consulates are authorized to provide legal advice.  

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Sharia law courts and other religious courts provide mediation services in custody disputes. There are no non-religious, non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

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.

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Who Can Adopt
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Who Can Be Adopted
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Traveling Abroad
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Contact Information

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
Arjan 11118
Amman, Jordan
Tel:  5679327
Family Manager:  Ext. 399
Custody Section:  Ext. 334
Fax:  5679961
Family Directorate Fax:  5694291

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Applications
Validity
Period
A-1 None One 6 Months
A-2 None One 6 Months
A-3 1 None One 6 Months
B-1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-2 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 24 Months
C-1 None One 3 Months
C-1/D None One 3 Months
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None One 3 Months
CW-1 11 None One 3 Months
CW-2 11 None One 3 Months
D None One 3 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None One 3 Months
F-1 None Multiple 24 Months
F-2 None Multiple 24 Months
G-1 None One 6 Months
G-2 None One 6 Months
G-3 None One 6 Months
G-4 None Multiple 6 Months
G-5 1 None One 6 Months
H-1B None One 3 Months 3
H-1C None One 3 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A 3
H-2B None N/A N/A 3
H-2R None One 3 Months 3
H-3 None One 3 Months 3
H-4 None One 3 Months 3
I None Multiple 24 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 24 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 24 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None One 3 Months
L-2 None One 3 Months
M-1 None Multiple 24 Months
M-2 None Multiple 24 Months
N-8 None Multiple 6 Months
N-9 None Multiple 6 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None One 3 Months 3
O-2 None One 3 Months 3
O-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-1 None One 3 Months 3
P-2 None One 3 Months 3
P-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-4 None One 3 Months 3
Q-1 6 None One 3 Months 3
R-1 None One 3 Months
R-2 None One 3 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 60 Months
V-2 None Multiple 60 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 60 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

The Civil Affairs offices in Syria maintain records of birth, marriage, divorce and death for most Syrians. When a marriage contract or a divorce decision is issued by the religious authority, it must be registered with Civil Affairs to be recognized as legal. Once the birth of a child is registered, the Civil Affairs office issues a civil birth certificate and an individual civil record. The Civil Affairs office may also issue a family extract record, which lists the names of current and prior spouses as well as family members. Civil documents in Syria are now available to different offices and localities through a central database.

As of July 2011, Syrian citizens can register new civil events (birth, marriage, divorce, and death) and obtain civil documents from any Civil Affairs office in Syria without going back to the original secretariat of their civil records. This new service became possible after the completion of the Electronic Gate project, which made Syria one Civil Secretariat.

Civil documents are reasonably reliable for events occurring after 1924 but are usually unavailable for earlier dates. Church records are generally the only source of information for documents pertaining to events prior to 1924. Care should be taken, however, to ensure that information on documents has not been officially changed by court order. Certified extracts from the Civil Affairs offices are readily available upon request. A fee is charged for this service.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Birth Record

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person. 2- A family member. 3- A lawyer.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: 1- Identity card. 2- Family card. 3- Individual Civil Extract.

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e.g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service became available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Death Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Death Statement

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually, round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A family member 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than the Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e,g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service has become available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Marriage Record

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A family member 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: Family Extract

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e.g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service has become available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Syria.

Divorce Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: 20 SYP

Document Name: Statement of Divorce

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually round red with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "The Ministry of Interior-The General Directorate of Civil Affairs" on top of the eagle - "The Civil Affairs Directorate in the City of (Name of the city)" below.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Usually after checking the Civil Registration book if done in the same office, or contacting the office of origin through a computer request.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A family member 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The seal added to the document will be of an issuing authority other than Civil Affairs if issued under another government department, e,g. the Ministry of Municipalities. This service has become available in Syria in 2011 to facilitate document issuing procedures.

Adoption Certificates

Syrian law does not allow adoption. However, the Islamic court may grant custody of an orphan to a guardian.

Comments: The Syrian Catholic Church obtained authority to issue adoption court orders according to decree number 31, issued on June 18, 2006. This decree was later cancelled by decree 76, issued in 2010.

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Identity Card

National ID Cards

Available: Yes after the age of 14

Fees: Free

Document Name: Personal Card

Issuing Government Authority: The Civil Affairs - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: No seal. Plastic ID

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The Civil Registrar

Registration Criteria: Checking the Civil Affairs database.

Procedure for Obtaining: In person

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: Individual Civil Extract with a photo registered with the local mayor.

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: N/A

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police/Prison Records

Available to Syrian citizens residing in Syria, but may be unavailable to citizens living outside the country.

Court Records

There are different types of courts in Syria: Civil Courts, Criminal Courts, Economic Courts, Military Courts, and Religious Courts.

Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Syria follow their own laws in regard to marriage and divorce. For example, a Muslim Court is presided over by a Muslim Judge, and a Christian Court is presided over by the Bishop or Metropolitan (a bishop who is head of an ecclesiastical province) of that church.

In the case of a foreigner who wants to marry a Syrian citizen in a Syrian Religious Court and register the marriage in the Civil Affairs, the foreign spouse must provide a proof of their religion and file for a security clearance with the Syrian Intelligence, which normally takes up to six months, but could take longer in times of civil conflict. In Syria, Muslim men can marry Christians or Jews (Muslim men cannot marry outside of the three Abrahamic religions), but Muslim women cannot marry outside their religion.

Marriage in Syria has to be religious. The only civil marriages in Syrian Civil Courts are for foreigners who are not Muslims, Christians or Jews.

Available: Yes.

Fees: Variable in a form of stamps.

Document Name: Court Order

Issuing Government Authority: Syrian Court - Ministry of Justice.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Usually, for Muslim Religious Court, round black with eagle emblem - Arabic writing "Ministry of Justice" and name of the court. Or round blue for Christian courts. Generally, the form of the seal is different from court to court.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judge or Bishop.

Registration Criteria: Checking the courts records and civil record.

Procedure for Obtaining: 1- In Person 2- A person with a Power of Attorney 3- A lawyer

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: According to Syrian law, marriage and divorce documents shall be submitted by the Religious Courts to the Secretary of the Civil Register where the event has taken place within 15 days if the event has taken place within the jurisdiction of the Secretariat of the Civil Register, and 30 days if the event has occurred outside the jurisdiction (Article 22/amended by legislative Decree 102 of 1969). Under Syrian law, a marriage or divorce is not recognized until it is registered with the Civil Registry. Therefore, marriage contracts and divorce court orders should not be accepted as proof of marriage or divorce by the U.S. government for immigration purposes since they must be filed with the Civil Registry to be recognized by the Syrian government. As for marriage and divorce rulings, the legal period begins on the date when these rulings become final.

Military Records

Syrian males over the age of 18 must present themselves for the mandatory military service, and when they do, they receive Military Cards. Syrian males keep this document after their discharge from the service and present it again when they are called up for reserve. This document records the dates, all events and duties of the bearer from the first day in military service until the time of discharge from duty. If this document is lost or unavailable, military statements can be obtained from the Mobilization Department.

Military service is mandatory for all Syrian males. However, the mandatory military service requirement can be waived for different reasons. (e.g. if the candidate has a permanent disability, which prevents him from performing his duty, if he is the only male child of his parent(s), if he has a brother who died on duty, or if he is a resident in another country and paid the military exemption fee. Additionally, the requirement can be postponed if the candidate is a student.

Available: Yes

Fees: Free

Document Name: Flag Service Card

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Defense.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Oval or round.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Branch Officer

Registration Criteria: Checking the Civil Affairs database and Ministry of Defense database.

Procedure for Obtaining: In person

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: There are other types of military extracts or statements that provide specific piece of information concerning military service. These documents are usually handwritten, or computer typed on normal paper.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available: There are four different types of Syrian passports:

  1. Service (green), (NOT ACCEPTED)
  2. Diplomatic (red),
  3. Special (light brown), and
  4. Regular (dark blue).

Other Documents Available:

  1. Travel documents for Palestinian Refugees in Syria.
  2. Transportation Letter in case the passport is lost or stolen abroad.

Fees: Regular: 4000 SYP Expedited: 15000 SYP

Document Name: Passport

Issuing Government Authority: Department of Immigration and Passport - Ministry of Interior.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: The Syrian Government issues a photo-digitized machine-readable passport with security features. The current passport is 5 inches by 3.5 inches. The color of the passport is dark blue and has a golden eagle seal in the middle. The Syrian passport displays the following key features:

  • The passport is 48 pages and is in ICAO format (smaller than the previous one).
  • It is machine readable.
  • The photograph is photo-digitized and printed on the bio-page.
  • A small OVD eagle is printed onto the bio-page.
  • Father's and mother's names are added to the bio-page.
  • The biographic page is covered by a thin plastic laminate.
  • The perforations on the bio-pages are covered by laminate as well.
  • The signature is also printed at the back of the bio-page.
  • The passport is laser perforated.
  • There is micro-text printing on the regular pages underlining the word visas, and in a straight line down each page " Syrian Arab Republic" in English and French
  • The background of the regular pages show historical or modern sites printed in blue.
  • There is intaglio printing on the inside of the front and back pages of the passport.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Director of Department of Immigration and passports

Registration Criteria: Checking the Civil Affairs database.

Procedure for Obtaining: In person

Alternate Documents: N/A

Exceptions: N/A

Palestinian Refugees in Syria: Syria issues travel documents for Palestinian refugees in Syria. Palestinians living in Syria have the same duties and responsibilities as Syrian citizens other than nationality and political rights. In 1960, Decree no. 28 granted Palestinian Travel Documents to Palestinians living in Syria. In 1963, Law no. 1311 required Palestinians living in Syria to register with GAPAR (The General Administration For Palestinian Arab Refugees) and hold Syrian provisional identity cards.

The Palestinian Travel Document is valid for six years, like Syrian passports, and enables its holder to return to Syria without a visa. Travel Documents can also be reissued by any Syrian representative office outside Syria. In 1999, a new law was passed allowing Palestinian refugees in Syria to travel to and from Lebanon using their identity cards.

Palestinian refugees are granted freedom of movement in all parts of Syria.

The Syrian Government has taken strict measures to control the entry of Palestinian refugees with Egyptian, Jordanian and Iraqi Travel Documents as a precaution against any possibility of their resettlement in Syria.

Other Comments:The Department does not accept Syrian service passports for visa purposes. The requirements stated in INA 101(a)(30) are no longer being met, and Syrian service passports do not comply with the definition of a passport. This action is in keeping with U.S. Government efforts to tighten restrictions on the movement of terrorists; in this case those using third country passports. However, this will not affect the issuance of visas to holders of passports in the other three categories. Applicants should be informed that the United States Government is no longer accepting service passports for visas, but should the applicant wish to present any of the other three types of Syrian passports, the application will be considered.

Visas will not be placed in the green service passports. Syrians who present these passports should be refused under INA 221(g). Form DS-232 may not be used to issue visas to Syrians who present service passports.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Damascus, Syria (Embassy)--Services currently suspended.

Street Address:
2, Al-Mansour Street
Abu Roumaneh

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 29
Damascus, Syria

Tel: (963) (11) 3391-4444

Fax: (963) (11) 331-9678

E-mail: acsdamascus@state.gov

Amman, Jordan (Embassy)

P.O. Box 354

Tel: 962 (6) 592-0101

Fax: 962 (6) 592-4102

Visa Services

Note: The U.S. Embassy workweek is Sunday through Thursday.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

There is currently no diplomatic or consular representation for Syria in the U.S. Please provide consular notification for Syrian nationals to the Honorary Consulate of the Syrian Arab Republic in Montreal, Canada.

(514) 744-0084 (514) 331-9412

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Amman
Abdoun, Al-Umawyeen St.
Amman – Jordan
Telephone
+(962) (6) 590-6000
Emergency
+(962) (6) 590-6500
Fax
+(962) (6) 592-0163
Syria Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.