COVID-19 Travel
May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

COVID-19 Alert
October 8, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Syria

Syria
Syrian Arab Republic
Do not travel to Syria due to COVID-19, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and risk of unjust detention.

Do not travel to Syria due to COVID-19, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and risk of unjust detention.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not issued a Travel Health Notice for Syria due to COVID-19, indicating an unknown level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012. The Czech Republic serves as the protecting power for the United States in Syria. The U.S. government is unable to provide any emergency services to U.S. citizens in Syria.

Syria has experienced active armed conflict since 2011. No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings by armed groups, unjust arrests and/or detentions, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment of civilian centers pose significant risk of death or serious injury. The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country. 

The U.S. government particularly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to Syria to engage in armed conflict. U.S. citizens who undertake such activity face extreme personal risks, including kidnapping by armed groups, unjust arrests, injury, or death. The U.S. government does not support this activity. Our ability to provide consular assistance to individuals who are injured or kidnapped, or to the families of individuals who die in the conflict, is extremely limited.

Protests and demonstrations are quelled by government forces through aggressive tactics and protestors, activists, and political dissenters are routinely detained without access to legal representation or communications with friends and family. 

Terrorist groups are active in Syria. Parts of Syria have experienced recent increases in incidents of bombings, IEDs, and assassinations. Fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates, can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a crime under U.S. law that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.

There is an ongoing risk of kidnapping and detentions of U.S. citizens and Westerners throughout the country. U.S. citizens remain a target. U.S. citizens are also targets of abduction and/or unjust detention by the Syrian government and while in detention do not have access to due process or medical attention. Government detention centers are known to be unsanitary facilities where widespread cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment of detainees has been documented, as well as torture and extrajudicial killings. Minors, persons with physical, sensory, or mental disabilities, and elderly have frequently been victims of unjust detention. The Syrian government has also been implicated in the enforced or involuntary disappearance of more than 100,000 citizens, including medical and humanitarian workers, journalists, human rights activists, political opposition, and additionally those suspected of affiliation with these groups and their family members. Note: Only the Syrian government can issue a valid entry visa to Syria. Failure to obtain a legitimate entry visa directly from the Syrian government could result in detention.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Syria, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR), which says that heightened military activity associated with the Syrian conflict may result in the risk of GPS interference, communications jamming, and errant long-range surface to air missiles straying into adjacent airspace within 200 nautical miles of the Damascus Flight Information Region. These activities may inadvertently pose hazards to  civil aviation transiting the region. It also has the potential to spill over into the adjacent airspace managed by neighboring states and eastern portions of the Mediterranean Sea.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Syria:

  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.   
  • Visit our website on Travel to High Risk Areas.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs, if you are unable to return as planned to the United States. Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them. 
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

... [READ MORE]

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

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 Advisory. 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 travel to or remain in Syria despite the Travel Advisory.

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. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services 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-mail: Amman-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

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 Advisory.

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

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.

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 Issues
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
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website
Email: MiddleEastIPCA@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. 

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. They should also e-mail the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington at SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov. For additional information, see Embassy of the United States in Damascus, Syria.

 

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. 

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. 

 

Last Updated: January 26, 2021

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 Map