Skip to main content

Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Syria

If you’re travelling to Syria, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security status

We advise against all travel to Syria.

Travel alert

If you’re currently in Syria, we strongly advise you to leave immediately while this is still possible. We cannot guarantee that the Honorary Consul of Ireland in Damascus will be able to remain open for much longer. Ireland has no Embassy in Syria, and if the Consulate has to close at short notice, it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll be able to provide any consular assistance to Irish citizens who decide to remain in Syria.

The decision to travel is solely your responsibility and you are responsible for your personal safety for the duration of your trip. Continue to monitor this travel advice for updates.

We cannot guarantee that documents sent to or from the Honorary Consul in Damascus will reach their destination safely.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts.  

We are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency in Syria. You can contact the Irish Embassy in Cairo if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.

EU DIRECTIVE ON CONSULAR PROTECTION
 
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates    
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

If you’re currently in Syria, we strongly advise you to leave immediately while this is still possible. Our clear advice for some time has been to leave the country by commercial means.

If you decide to remain in Syria, against our clear advice, please ensure that your travel documents are up to date in case you need to leave the country at short notice and that you and your family have valid exit visas, if you need one to leave Syria.

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel and local contacts. Follow the advice of the local authorities and stock up on basic necessities such as water, food, fuel and medicines as supplies of these may deteriorate rapidly, and without warning.

Demonstrations

Avoid demonstrations and large crowds and if you become aware of any disturbances leave the area immediately. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times.

Transport

The security situation has led to the suspension of commercial flights. There has been an increase in the number of checkpoints on major routes, and intermittent road closures on the main inter-city highways. If you want to leave Syria overland, check the status of the border crossing and access routes before travelling.

Crime

You should exercise caution if going outside after dark, and take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Syria, report it to the local police immediately. If you need help, you should contact the Embassy in Cairo or the Honorary Consul in Damascus.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Syria, road and driving standards are variable, so you should avoid driving outside the main cities at night. We advise against travel to the Syria-Iraq border. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Security checkpoints

There has been an increase in the number of checkpoints on major routes, and intermittent road closures on the main inter-city highways

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

Syria is a conservative society, and you should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Avoid public displays of affection, dress conservatively (women's clothes should cover their legs and upper arms), be aware of your actions and take care not to offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals, or if you intend to visit religious areas.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time.

Local laws

While you’re in Syria, you’re subject to local laws, including ones that may seem harsh by Irish standards. In the current environment, foreigners as well as Syrians may be subject to arbitrary arrest and detention by the Syrian authorities. Getting information or providing consular assistance in these cases is extremely difficult.

Parents in particular should be aware that local laws regarding custody, etc of children are significantly different to those in force in Ireland. If you are involved in any local legal matters, particularly family law, we strongly advise you to get professional advice.

Illegal drugs

The punishment for possession of drugs is life imprisonment.  For drug trafficking, the death penalty applies.

LGBT

Homosexuality is illegal in Syria. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Photography

Photography near military and many other government installations is prohibited. Given the widespread nature of the current conflict, you should consider all areas as politically sensitive and therefore avoid photography completely.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquakes

Syria is subject to occasional earthquakes. Monitor local updates during your stay and find out from your local contacts or your hotel what you should do in the event of an earthquake. Always follow local authorities’ instructions about security and evacuation.

Sandstorms

Dust- and sandstorms also occur.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens need a visa to enter Syria. For entry requirements, please contact the Embassy of Syria in London.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Syria and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

Health

Polio vaccination is recommended for all travellers from Ireland to countries where polio transmission is a risk. Before travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are still occurring, travellers should ensure that they have completed the recommended age-appropriate polio vaccine schedule and have received a booster dose, if necessary. More information is available on the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre website.

Water

We recommend that you drink only boiled or bottled water during your stay.

Money

It’s illegal to change money on the street so only change money in recognised exchange shops, banks and hotels. Credit cards are not widely used in Syria.  

As a result of international sanctions, financial institutions in several countries have suspended their transactions with Syria. This may affect your ability to make payments, withdraw cash from ATMs, etc. Please check with your bank/credit institution for further details. There have also been restrictions placed on financial transactions by the Syrian government.

More travel advice

Because we don’t have an Embassy or Consulate in Syria, we can’t give you up-to-date travel advice. But you can visit these foreign ministries for more detailed information:  

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you are an Irish citizen and in need of emergency assistance outside of normal office hours, then you can contact us on the following emergency number: +20 1274443942

Alternatively, the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can be contacted at +353 1 408 2000.

Embassy of Ireland
18 Hassan Sabry Street
Zamalek
Cairo
Egypt

Tel: +202 27287100
Fax: +202 27362863

Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Naji-Pierre Chaoui
Honorary Consul of Ireland
P.O. Box 46
Damascus
Syria

Tel: +963 11 334 2144
Fax: +963 11 222 1320

Email: Email us