Syrian government launches electronic visa for entry: What’s the purpose?

Syrian passports (Enab Baladi)

Syrian passports (Enab Baladi)


As of today, Wednesday, May 1st, the Syrian Ministry of Tourism announced that Syrian citizens, as well as Arab and foreign nationals, can now apply for an electronic visa without needing to visit Syrian embassies or consulates abroad. This development has sparked questions about the government’s objectives in launching this service.

Tourism Minister, Mohammed Rami Martini, told the official Syrian news agency (SANA) that after coordination between the ministries of Tourism, Interior, and Foreign Affairs, those wishing to come to Syria no longer need to visit embassies or consulates; instead, they can apply for the visa through an online platform and receive a response within a maximum of 72 hours.

Syrians can apply for the electronic visa on behalf of their friends and relatives from Arab and foreign countries through offices linked to the Ministry of Tourism in Syria or through the Anjez Syria platform.

Arab and foreign nationals abroad can directly access the E-Visa website to register for the electronic visa.

Regarding the payment of electronic visa fees, Martini clarified that the system offers two payment options, either through electronic payment if available or by deferring payment of the fees until the visitor reaches the border points where the fees are fully collected, including the visa cost and a service charge.

Declared and hidden objectives

The Syrian Tourism Minister told the local Athr Press website that the launch of the electronic visa platform aims to “overcome the difficult circumstances faced by tourism in Syria, especially in countries where there are no embassies or consulates.”

The minister expects the platform to increase the number of visitors to the country, particularly from countries whose governments have taken a stance against the Syrian people during the war, including some European countries and others.

In turn, Ziad al-Balkhi, Director of Quality and Control at the Ministry of Tourism, told the local Al-Watan newspaper that the electronic platform for issuing entrance visas to Syria is ready, and its purpose is to facilitate the acquisition of entry visas to Syria.

While the Ministry of Tourism plans for 2.5 million visitors to enter Syria this year, with 40% being tourists, and expects the number of tourist nights to rise to 4.5 million nights, al-Balkhi predicted that the electronic platform would play a significant role in increasing the number of visitors to Syria, especially as this project is part of the government’s digital transformation and procedural simplification initiative, he said.

Economic analyst Dr. Firas Shaabo believes that the launch of the electronic visa has two primary goals for the Syrian regime: economically, to generate foreign currency to bolster its treasury, particularly as Bashar al-Assad’s key supporters have dominated the tourism sector in Syria by opening hotels, restaurants, and tourist resorts. Thus, the regime is facilitating tourism through this visa to encourage tourists to visit Syria.

Shaabo added to Enab Baladi that the second goal of launching the visa has a political dimension, as the regime wants this measure to suggest that Syria’s tourism, economic, and social life has returned to normal, to encourage tourist movement and stimulate investors to start economic projects in Syria, despite the lack of infrastructure and services necessary to boost tourism, including roads, hotels, and electricity.

The Syrian Ministry of Finance recently imposed new fees for Gulf and foreign vehicles (except Jordanian and Lebanese) entering Syria for what is called a “temporary visit,” costing $100, allowing a single vehicle to roam within Syria for up to two weeks.

A fee of $200 is imposed on each vehicle with a foreign or Gulf license plate for entry periods longer than two weeks up to four months, in an effort by the regime to earn foreign currency from tourist traffic.

Out of service

The Syrian government announced a few days ago that registration for the e-visa would begin on May 1st. However, when Enab Baladi accessed the Anjez Syria and E-Visa platforms, which are supposed to handle the visa registration, it found them to be out of service.

Enab Baladi also contacted two travel agencies in Damascus, who confirmed that they have not yet received any details from the Ministry of Tourism about the registration mechanism for the e-visa, nor about the fees to be charged for issuing the visa and the service charge.

Firas Shaabo believes that “the regime’s announcement of activating the e-visa service is just media talk, as the service has not yet been activated despite the regime’s promises to do so at the beginning of this month. Also, Syria is not among the developed countries capable of handling this process electronically,” and he expects that the regime will continue in some countries to require obtaining visas through its consulates and embassies and “not electronically as it claims.”

The Ministry of Tourism mentioned that the number of visitors to Syria was about two million last year, including 1,750,000 Arabs, and 250,000 foreigners, among them 213,000 visitors to “holy sites.”



النسخة العربية من المقال

Related Articles

  1. Syrian regime lures Western tourists to boost its image
  2. Does Syria need luxury hotels as tourism declines?
  3. About 730,000 tourists, mostly Iraqis and Lebanese, “do not spend much”
  4. Medical tourism flourishes in Syria

Propaganda distorts the truth and prolongs the war..

Syria needs free media.. We need your support to stay independent..

Support Enab Baladi..

$1 a month makes a difference..

Click here to support