Do not travel to Syria because of the extremely dangerous security situation. Military and other armed conflict is ongoing and air strikes, kidnappings and terrorist attacks are common.
If you're in Syria, depart immediately by commercial means while it is possible to do so.
Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Syria. The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australians in Syria is extremely limited. We can't evacuate you. See
Where to get help.
It is illegal under Australian law for Australian citizens, including dual citizens, to provide any kind of support to any armed group in Syria. This includes engaging in fighting, funding, training or recruiting someone to fight and supplying or funding weapons. See Laws.
Widespread fighting in many parts of Syria causes disruptions to essential services and may limit your options for departure. See
Safety and security.
Since 2014, there has been an increase in the number of reported kidnappings, particularly of aid workers and journalists. Hostages are often killed. See
Safety and security.
Entry and exit
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
If you choose to travel to Syria, despite our advice, and you do not hold any Syrian documents of identity you'll require a visa. You can apply for a visa at the nearest Syrian Embassy. You cannot get a visa on arrival.
While parts of Syria including north-east Syria are under the control of other groups who may issue local travel and stay permit, you'll still require a Syrian visa issued by the Syrian Government if travelling to Syria.
Depart Syria immediately by commercial means.
Most commercial airlines have ceased flying to Syria. Other commercial aviation services and airports could suspend operations indefinitely at any time, without notice. Civilian airports could come under attack at any time, including in Damascus and Aleppo.
Evacuation options may be limited by telecommunication and travel restrictions:
- Ground transport options to airports and the availability of seats on aircraft may be limited.
- Roads may close or be blocked with little or no warning, affecting access to border crossings.
- Major highways, including Tartous-Latakia, Tartous-Homs, Latakia-Aleppo, Homs-Hama, Homs-Damascus and Damascus-Jordan, may become, or are already, blocked due to the conflict.
- Border crossings can be closed with little or no warning.
- Conflict can limit practical access to all border crossings.
Plan your exit carefully to minimise risks to your safety.
- Seek local and expert advice.
- Make contingency plans.
- Check the status of access routes to airports and borders before travelling.
- Carry a current passport or travel document at all times.
If you've been in Syria for longer than the time granted by your visa, you'll need to get an exit visa before you can leave.
Be aware that:
- children under 18 years of age born in Syria must have their father's permission to leave Syria
- a Syrian husband can legally prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality
- unmarried women in Syria can also be subject to strict family controls and may be prevented from leaving the country
- if you are a male dual national and registered as a Syrian national, you may be liable for military service and not be allowed to leave the country. See
If you have overstayed your visa, you'll need to obtain an exit visa for you and your children before leaving.
If you have been issued with a Syrian Residence Permit, you'll also need to get an "exit and return" stamp before leaving Syria.
Entry into Lebanon from Syria is restricted. To visit the Australian Embassy in Beirut, you may need to prove you have an appointment with the Australian Embassy in Beirut before entry to Lebanon from Syria is granted. Contact the Australian Embassy in Beirut on +961 (0)1 960 600, e-mail
email@example.com or visit the Embassy website at
The Jaber-Nassib border crossing into Jordan was reopened on 15 October 2018 after being closed for several years. The border crossing may close again at short notice.
Border crossings with Iraq are closed and the target of military operations. Do not attempt to enter Iraq from Syria by land.
Syrian border authorities have detained Australians of Arab origin for long periods without charge.
You must declare all foreign currency and electronic equipment on arrival in Syria. If you don't, you could face delays when you depart the country.
If you travel to Syria despite our advice, check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an
Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.
Money and valuables
The currency of Syria is the Syrian pound (SYP). Declare all amounts in excess of $US5,000 on arrival and departure.
It is illegal to change money on the streets. Money can be changed in government banks or recognised exchange bureaux. However, many exchange bureaux are no longer able to exchange currency. Syrian pounds cannot be converted into US dollars on departure.
As a result of international sanctions, financial institutions in several countries have suspended their transactions with Syrian counterparts. Credit cards may not be accepted in Syria and you may not be able to access your money via ATMs. Carry enough cash to cover your needs in either US dollars or Euros.
Safety and security
Armed conflict and terrorism
Ongoing military conflict including air strikes, very high levels of violence, political disorder, terrorist attacks and large numbers of kidnappings involving foreign nationals, create an extremely dangerous security situation in Syria.
There have been several instances of chemical weapons use during the conflict in Syria. Further use of such weapons is possible.
The security situation means access to food, water and fuel can be difficult.
If despite our advice, you're in Syria:
- leave Syria as soon as possible
- seek professional security advice
- adopt effective personal security measures
- make contingency plans, including keeping ample stocks of water, food, toiletries, fuel and any prescription medications
- secure a valid exit visa in your passport in case you need to depart quickly
- position yourself in a safe place and limit your movements as much as possible
- be vigilant at all times
- maintain a low profile
- vary your routines so patterns in your behaviour and movements don't become apparent to observers
- avoid possible targets for terror attack
- wherever you go, have a clear exit plan for if there is a security incident
- if there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately, if it is safe to do so
- avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack because of the risk of secondary attacks
- monitor media for any new or emerging threats.
Many foreign nationals have been kidnapped in Syria in recent years. Hostages are often killed. Since 2014, reported kidnappings of aid workers and journalists has risen significantly.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Civil unrest and political tension
Large public gatherings and demonstrations can turn violent. Syrian authorities have arrested people in the vicinity of demonstrations, regardless of their citizenship.
Civil unrest may limit your ability to travel by road.
If despite our advice, you're in Syria:
- Avoid rallies, protests, demonstrations and crowds.
- Avoid funerals and mourning processions.
- Avoid areas where people congregate after Friday midday prayers.
- Monitor the media for any new safety and security risks, including political events that may inflame existing tensions.
Breakdown in law and order has led to an increase in crime, including violent robberies, kidnapping and carjacking.
If you're in Syria:
- drive with your vehicle's doors locked and windows up at all times
- carry only what you need - leave other valuables in a secure location
- secure your accommodation against intruders
- be alert to your surroundings at all times.
Travel within Syria is dangerous. If you're in Syria, take into account the security environment before contemplating any travel within the country. See
Safety and security.
Conflict has led to breakdown in government services and shortages of staple goods in conflict-affected areas. You may not be able to access sufficient food, water or medical care.
Roads can be blocked or close with little or no warning. Roadblocks, road closures and fighting may limit access to international border crossings.
Major highways, including Tartous-Latakia, Tartous-Homs, Latakia-Aleppo, Homs-Hama, Homs-Damascus and Damascus-Jordan, may become, or are already, blocked due to the conflict.
If you need to travel by road, first:
- seek local advice on possible routes
- seek professional security advice
- adopt effective personal security measures
- make contingency plans.
Do not seek to travel to Syria by sea due to the extremely dangerous security situation.
Civilian airports could come under attack at any time, including the international airport in Damascus. The international airport in Damascus is the only airport currently operating international flights in Syria.
Commercial aviation services and airports could suspend operations indefinitely at any time. Most commercial airlines have stopped flying to Syria. Ground transport options to airports and seat availability on planes may be limited because of the extremely dangerous security environment.
Australian officials have been advised against travelling on flights that cross over Syrian airspace, due to the conflict in Syria.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Syria.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Syria. If you're arrested or jailed, the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance is extremely limited.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty.
Seek professional advice if you might engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law (divorce, child custody and child support). Be aware of your rights and responsibilities.
The death penalty can be imposed for serious crimes such as murder.
The following activities are illegal in Syria:
- homosexuality - more information:
- photographing military or government installations or other sensitive infrastructure
- failing to carry identification documents on your person
- failing to have the appropriate entry visa.
If you wish to preach a religion other than Islam, seek local advice as restrictions can apply.
It is illegal under Australian law for Australian citizens, including dual citizens, to provide any kind of support to any armed group in Syria. This includes engaging in fighting, funding, training or recruiting someone to fight, and supplying or funding weapons. Australia has imposed sanctions against Syria, including an arms embargo.
Between 5 December 2014 and 28 November 2017 it was an offence under Australian law for Australians to enter or remain in the Syrian province of al-Raqqa without a legitimate purpose. On 27 November 2017 the Minister for Foreign Affairs revoked the declaration of al-Raqqa province. The revocation took effect from 29 November 2017.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering
Syria recognises dual nationality, but Syrian citizenship takes primacy over the second nationality. If you're an Australian-Syrian dual national, you'll be treated as Syrian by Syrian government authorities.
Children of Syrian men acquire Syrian citizenship at birth.
Syria has compulsory military service. If you're a dual national resident in Australia, Syrian authorities may allow you to enter Syria and stay for up to 3 months before you become liable for military service. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Syria to check your status and eligibility for this exemption before you travel. Payment of fines in place of military service is possible in certain circumstances.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Syria, particularly around religious sites. If you're female, wear loose-fitting clothing which covers the arms and legs and a headscarf. Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between early May and early June 2019. During Ramadan, take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting.
Before you depart, get comprehensive travel insurance to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. You're likely to require a specialised insurance policy for travel to Syria as a 'do not travel' destination. Some travel insurance policies may not cover you for 'do not travel' destinations.
Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel
Due to the ongoing conflict, medications are in short supply in Syria. Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.
Syria is vulnerable to the international spread of polio. If you're staying in Syria for more than 4 weeks, you need to carry documented evidence of having received a dose of polio vaccine within 12 months prior to departure from Syria. If you don't, you may be required to be vaccinated prior to departure from Syria.
Polio (Department of Health)
Insect-borne diseases (such as leishmaniasis) are prevalent in Syria. Malaria occurs in the northern border region, particularly Al Hasakah Province.
Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:
- ensure your accommodation is insect proof
- take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light-coloured clothing
- consider taking malaria prevention medication
- seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
Other infectious diseases
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including brucellosis, typhoid, hepatitis and tuberculosis) are prevalent. More serious outbreaks occur from time-to-time.
- Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
- Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
- Avoid ice cubes.
- Avoid raw and undercooked food.
- Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
- Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.
Access to hospitals may be limited due to the ongoing conflict. The quality of healthcare in Syria has deteriorated significantly.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation is very expensive and may be difficult to arrange due to the security situation.
Syria is subject to earthquakes. Dust and sand storms also occur.
If a natural disaster occurs:
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
- closely monitor local media and other sources such as the
Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
- follow the advice of local authorities
- contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Emergency phone numbers
- Fire: phone 113
- Medical emergencies: phone 110 or go direct to the hospital
- Criminal issues: phone 112 or visit the nearest police station
Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Syria. The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australians in Syria is extremely limited. Under a consular assistance arrangement, the Romanian Embassy in Damascus may be able to provide limited emergency consular services to Australians in Syria, in conjunction with the Australian Embassy in Beirut.
Romanian Embassy, Damascus
8, Rue Ibrahim Hanano,
PO Box 4454, Damascus, SYRIA
Phone: +963 11 332 75 72
Facsimile: +963 11 332 75 71
Australian Embassy, Beirut
Phone: (961 1) 960 600
Fax: (961 1) 960 601
In a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 within Australia.