How to get into Syria

travelling to Syria is not totally foolproof, and there are certain instances where entry will be denied. Depending on your nationality and professional or criminal background, gaining access to Syria can be very easy or very difficult. Let’s dive straight into the question: Is it difficult to travel to Syria? 

Travelling to Syria: The Paperwork

In a standard case, travelling to Syria is very straightforward. You will need to choose a Syria tour operator, such as Rocky Road Travel, and they will book you onto a tour of your choice. Independent travel in Syria is currently not possible; you will need to go via a licenced tour operator.

The tour operator will then apply for your security clearance. You will need this to be able to get your visa at the border or consulate (unless you are from one of the small number of Arabic nations that doesn’t require a visa for Syria). The security clearance normally takes around two weeks to process.

Apamea, Syria

Getting into Syria

It’s very easy to get to Syria from Lebanon. The most common way of entering Syria is via Lebanon by bus. The journey is anywhere between two and a half to four hours from Beirut, including the border crossing. If you’ve booked a tour, it’s likely that this will be taken care of for you. 

Alternatively, there are direct flights to Damascus from Karachi, Najaf, Baghdad, Basra, Erbil, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Travellers from the USA

Here’s the hitch. Can Americans (US citizens) travel to Syria? Long story short — no. Historically, the chances of US citizens getting their aforementioned security clearance approved was touch and go, but generally under 50%. This was particularly the case with solo travellers, whereas the success rate for Americans signing up for group tours was closer to 90%.  

Since the borders have been open post-covid, however, no visas have been issued to US citizens.

Also – If you have a criminal background, an Israeli passport or stamp, extensive military service or a journalistic record  you also may have your security clearance denied.

In general, your chances of having your visa approved are higher when you book a group tour. Keep that all in mind when you are booking your tour and travelling to Syria!