Syria travel information (updated july 2022)
Below you will find some useful information before you decide to travel to Syria.
How to obtain a visa to Syria?
As of today tourists can’t make their application themselves as Syrian Ministry of Tourism requires all travelers to book trips through a tour operator. No matter which travel agency you use, they will not issue a tourist visa for you, but a security clearance. Security clearance is a formal document you need to be able to purchase a visa at the border and it allows you to travel to Syria only with the agency that obtained the document for you. It’s not recommended to make any travel arrangements until you have received the confirmation of your security clearance. When it’s granted, you may treat it like a letter of invitation.
Security clearance comes as part of your travel package, usually takes between 2 to 3 weeks to be processed and is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.
For Damascus International Marathon, Go4Adventures LTD is the only licensed tour operator to register international runners and help with all visa formal documents.
Is Syria a safe travel destination?
In general yes. The cities like Damascus or Aleppo are perfectly safe to visit. The life in these cities has returned to normal and there is no danger at all. However, there are places like the city of Idlib, which is the last war zone and tourists are not allowed to travel there.
In some parts of Damascus you may occasionally come across military checkpoints where they check your bag and look for anyone looking suspicious. So security level is kept at high to prevent any issues. In Damascus nothing dangerous has happened for a long time now.
How to get to Syria?
The airport in Damascus doesn’t offer many international flight connections, so the most popular way is to travel by land from neighboring Lebanon. Beirut is only 120 km from Damascus and the transfer usually takes 4-5 hours, depending on traffic at the border.
How much does the visa cost?
Visa fees vary depending on the nationality and the exchange rate. As of today it’s approximately: EU Passport holders: 72USD, Australia and New Zealand: 130USD, United Kingdom: 140USD, Canada: 90USD.
Tourists are advised to bring the exact amount as the change will be given in Syrian Pounds at the official bank rate.
There is also an exit fee of 2,000SYP.
How about money exchange and ATMs in Syria?
The Syrian Pound (SYP), is a legal tender in Syria, however the currency has been fluctuating a lot over the past 10 years. As of today, $1 is officially worth around 2,500SYP. In the black market you can exchange $1 for up to 3,800SYP. As a consequence, Syria has been facing significant inflation problem. It’s highly recommended to bring US Dollars as they can be exchanged at a better rate than any other currency. The notes should not be older than 2006 and in good condition. Because of the foreign sanctions, ATMs and credit cards are currently not working in Syria. You must bring enough cash money for you entire trip.
Do I need any special travel insurance for Syria?
No special insurance is required for Syria, however many travel insurance companies exclude Syria as a travel destination. Do check the terms to make sure that the insurance policy you have covers Syria.
Is backpacking allowed in Syria?
As of today tourists are allowed to visit the country only on guided tours, so the only way to travel around is in a private bus or car.
How about accommodation in Syria?
There are different hotel types available throughout the country. The agency will find a hotel that meets your standards.
What are the top attractions in Syria?
Tourists usually visit the following places: The Old City of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Palmyra, Maaloula, Sednaya, Bosra, Krak Des Chevalliers, Latakia, Amrit, Tartous and Markab. Some of those attractions require a special permit, which can be organised by your agency.
Are there currently any COVID-19 restrictions in Syria?
At present Syria is fully open for vaccinated travelers (you need to show a copy of vaccination certificate upon arriving and exiting Syria)
Non-vaccinated travelers must present a negative PCR test, both for entering and leaving the country.