Syrian passport authority eliminates recruitment division’s approval as requirement for passport issuance

Syrian passport (Enab Baladi)

Syrian passport (Enab Baladi)


The Immigration and Passport Department issued a circular on Friday, May 3, introducing a series of new decisions, the most prominent of which is the elimination of recruitment division’s approval as a condition for obtaining a passport.

The circular issued by the Director of the Immigration and Passports Department, which was published by Al-Madina FM radio and local pages, stated, “For the smooth conduct of work, it is requested from the heads of branches and sections of the Immigration and Passports to cancel the recruitment division’s approval for obtaining a passport, and only a travel permit is required when leaving the country.”

Additionally, the circular included the provision of a passport with a six-year validity for those who have not reached the age of 14 and a full-term passport for those who have obtained an external settlement.

The new directive also indicated that an identity card photocopy will no longer be required among the documents for passport issuance, as all identity information is available on the form that will be printed for the applicant.

Previously, Syrian youth complained about the requirement by the Immigration and Passports Department to obtain recruitment division’s approval before filing a passport application, which prevented many who are required for mandatory or reserve military service from obtaining a passport.

Previously, the validity of the passport granted to Syrians living abroad was only two and a half years. However, the new circular from the Immigration and Passports Department stated that a full validity period (six years) would be granted, but with the condition of obtaining a “settlement approval.”

The Syrian regime’s government seeks to offer some facilitations in granting passports to encourage Syrians to obtain them, and to collect the fees which are considered very high compared to other countries.

According to a report published by the CNN network in May 2022, the Syrian passport is the second most expensive passport in the world. The fees for issuing or renewing a passport or travel document for Syrians outside Syria are 800 US dollars for an expedited passport, and 350 US dollars through the regular (slow) process.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Interior also raised the fees for obtaining an expedited passport inside Syria, from 1,005,000 Syrian pounds to 2,000,000 Syrian pounds, while extracting a passport regularly costs more than 300,000 Syrian pounds.

The Syrian passport also ranks second as the worst passport in the world after Afghanistan, in terms of the number of countries that allow the passport holder entry without a visa, according to the Henley Passport Index specializing in ranking the world’s strongest passports in terms of freedom of movement, issued for the year 2023.

Syria is experiencing repeated crises in issuing passports, as Syrians seek to obtain passports for travel, fleeing the deteriorating living and security conditions, but the extraction process takes a long time.


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