Border Crossing : Turkey - Syria (21 May 2009)

Reyhanli, Turkey crossing to Baba Al Hawa, Syria

Paper work

V5 - car logbook

Carnet

3rd Party Insurance - Purchase at border

Passports

Visas - We had applied for multiple entry visas before we left UK.  These are valid for 6 months.

Exit Costs from Turkey

US$0

Entry Costs to Syria

US$164

Time to cross

40 minutes

 

Well, as we intended, we arrived at the border crossing at 11am so that we were there before lunch.  It seems, however that lunch is whenever the border officials want it to be and when we arrived at 11 they were either having elevenses or lunch.... go figure!  And we had to wait.

On exiting the Turkish side, the first checkpoint checks passports.  The second checkpoint sends you, the owner, with the owners passport and the V5 to a desk set up behind the building just next to the checkpoint (Customs).  The passport is stamped for the vehicle to exit.  When you come back to the checkpoint, both passports are stamped for Immigration.  Then its off to the 3rd checkpoint where everything is checked (including the carnet which was never required for Turkey) and you're through to no-man's land.  A good drive later you arrive on the Syrian side.  We went straight to the Immigrations Building which has a Tourist Information desk directly in the centre of the row of Immigration and Customs windows.  They gave us all the information and costs.

US$100 Diesel tax (this is payable per week but is never checked at the gas stations so regardless of the length of your stay, try just declaring 1 week. Although if the border officials are awake on the exit crossing, they will ensure that you top up if you stay more than 1 week - we were checked on exiting but we were special circumstances)

US$9 road tax

US$55 1 month 3rd party insurance

We took our US dollars over to the Exchange desk where they issued the Syrian Dollars with 3 receipts of the exact money required above.  Then go to the desk at the next door window on the left and buy the insurance.  He asks how long you want but it ends up that all 3rd party is issued for a month anyway at the cost of US$55. 

Then head for the Customs desks (as you look at the row of windows - at the end on the right).  The carnet is stamped and the money taken for the road and diesel tax.

Then head for Immigrations (as you look at the row of windows - at the end on the left) where the visas are stamped.  Remember to get the vehicle stamp in the owners passport here at the same time (they ask for the V5 for this).  We were told by Tourist Information to ask for it - turns out we had to as they seem not to do it otherwise.  You need this stamp otherwise you can't enter the country at the checkpoint. Jeez.

With all of the paperwork completed, we went to the Customs checkpoint with Sully where they asked for the back door to be opened, took one look at all the wolf boxes, sucked their teeth and immediately closed the door.  Had a look in the cab section and promptly waved us on without another look.

We went through the final checkpoint and away we drove with a cheery "Welcome to Syria" ringing in our ears.  Seems we'd hear this a lot in next 4 and a bit days.

 

Notes

Besides changing money for the taxes, they will change money for you from US$ to S£ for your own use.

Although this is not legal, not the thing to do and we would say that this is entirely your decision but you may want to think about NOT declaring any GPSs, sat phones or laptops if you have them.  We had been told that Syria didn't like these items and viewed them with suspicion although they say NOTHING to you at the border about them and do not ask if you have anything to declare.  In addition, we would suggest that these are utilised extremely discretely and with utmost caution once in Syria.  Read our blog on Syria for more info on this because we used ours openly and suffered the consequences of our naivete!

Fuel is S£0.20/l at most service stations including those near to the border.  100L will calculate out that the fuel is the same cost as in the UK (if you take into account the US$100 diesel tax per week) and all subsequent fills are then at Syrian rates - for the rest of that week anyway.