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Old 03-07-2004, 06:59 PM   #1
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My plans for my trip to the MIddle East have hit a bit of a snag...In order to get a 15 day visa from the Syrian goverment, I am required to sent my passport to the Syrian Embassy in Ottawa. I am not very comfortable with this, but it appears that this will be the only way ( With going to the Syrian Embassy in Cairo) I will be able to enter Syria. I spoke to WWM about this when we met in Chicago and he has done this in the past, and I do trust his judgement, but it still makes me a little nervious.
What happens if they loose it? What happenes if it is stolen? What happens if I do not get it back in time?

Do I take the chance and send in my passport, or do I by-passs Syria? I really want to go to Lebanon, and the only way to get there by land is via Syria, as the Israeli border with Lebanon is closed. I will miss out in seeing Syria, and have to fly into Beirut from Amman.

This creates another opertuntiy though, I can get a boat from Lebanon to Cyprus with the time I will not be spending in Syria.

Your comments are welcomed and needed folks!!!


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Old 03-07-2004, 08:07 PM   #2
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I don't know how that works, but is it possible that you could take an overnight trip up to ottawa and do it in person?? Do they just have to stamp something in your passport?
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:05 AM   #3
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To get my british passport, i had to send a stack of documents to the british high commission here in oz. That included my dads passport, and my birth certificate. We weren't too happy (i even wrote to the governor or Australia asking for advice), but they said the only other option was to come in in person (yeah, right) and they'd do it on the spot.
We sent them certified mail and made sure they did the same, but felt ok with it because we realise: Its not that hard to replace documents (so long as you dont lose them ALL). We were more worried about Australia Post stuffing up than the embassy.
And its unlikely an embassy in your own country would do anything dodgy. How long 'til you go ? Worst cases: they take a long time returning it, or it goes missing and you have to get a replacement (only takes a week or so in oz, and you can get them to rush it if you have a reason).

And finally - if you dont trust the countries representatives, will you trust anyone there ?

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Old 03-08-2004, 09:47 AM   #4
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Its not a matter of not trusting the people I am sending it too, or not trusting anyone in Syria, its all the goverment "red tape" that happens in goverment offices, I am more concerned about the passport being lost or late getting back to me more than it being stolen, if for some reason I do not get it back on time, my whole trip is fuct!!

The visa is valid for 15 days in Syria, and is must be used with in 3 months of obtaining it, so 3 months before my trip, i have to send away for it.....
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Old 03-08-2004, 01:09 PM   #5
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sorry canadian dude, i gotta say "no way, jose!"

i'd rather miss one place than miss my whole trip (in case your passport gets delayed/lost...)!!!

look at it this way, not going gives you a reason to plan another trip and then you'll know about all the red tape in advance...

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Old 03-08-2004, 05:12 PM   #6
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I would trust them... if its common practice and those are the requirements then I wouldn't expect them to waste a lot of time with it. Obviously there would be a problem if canadians kept getting screwed because their passports were getting delayed. Someone would be hearing about it.

P.S. If the travel god (WWM) says its a good idea, it gotta be a good idea.
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:15 PM   #7
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A tough one.

I'd be tempted NOT to mail my passport. But I think the next question ought to be: when is the next time you plan to travel overseas?
How long will it be before your next trip, so as to anticipate some delays of your passport being held up at the Syrian embassy...
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Old 03-10-2004, 09:59 AM   #8
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To elaborate a little, I've done it for:
Russia
Cambodia
Myanmar

Never had it lost or stolen. Of course, you are always taking it on faith that there won't be an Abdul "Canadian Dude" bin Sulieman running around out there. No, I think the official government places are going to be as trustworthy as you can get, in passport and visa situations.

Besides, CD, you can't back out of Syria...I'm still pondering whether to go WITH you!!!

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Old 03-10-2004, 10:08 AM   #9
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Well...if it gets lost, you will still have time to get another one, no? I would do it...
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Old 03-10-2004, 02:06 PM   #10
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hey CD! I totally emphatize with you. I know that we world travelers have a very tight attachment to our passports. BUT! I would go ahead and do it b/c:

1. The whole nervousness comes from a cultural difference actually. Granted there is a lot of red tape, but most of it is mental. This is not the process we are accustomed to in the Western world, but that practice is not so uncommon in other cultures, such as asian and middle eastern (i.e. wwm's examples)

2. Keep copies of everything

3. Keep proof of everything, send insured, certified, return-receipt, signature required. Sometimes these things actually delay the delivery, but in this case, it is worth it

4. Even though you can rationalize not going to Syria by leaving it to another trip, when would you go back, soon? Probably not soon enough.

5. Most importantly, what would a Middle Eastern trip be without visiting the HEART OF ANCIENT PERSIA, with all of the wonderful oral history, food, music, dance, art, religion, culture and language????

6. Finally, travel god says it's ok (wwwm )
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Old 03-11-2004, 05:55 PM   #11
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Hey CD - Have you tried a Visa company? Might be a little more cash but might be quicker and make you feel a little better. The times I have gone to China, we used a Visa company here in the U.S. if we needed the Visa expedited. Try the below link, I think they are in Canada. If you are not familiar with visa companies, they basically do all the legwork, get you forms and get the visa turned around quickly....for a fee of course, but it offers a lot more peace of mind that your passport won't be lost. Just a thought.

http://www.visaconnection.com/
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Old 03-11-2004, 08:51 PM   #12
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you guys have given tons of views on this, and I do appreciate it!!! Kepp'm coming, I got a couple months left to make up my mind!! I am going to email the Syrian Embassy tommorow to see if going to Ottawa will make the process any quicker...
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Old 03-16-2004, 12:58 AM   #13
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I was just in the same situation, but with the british high commission. I have just filled out my visa application, and didnt realise that i had to send my visa in with the application. I just handed it over, and now just hope it will come back. Ive still got 7 weeks to go, so thats ok, but i thought it odd that you had to send in your passport before you even got approved...

The wait is on...
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Old 03-18-2004, 01:49 AM   #14
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...and now i had to hand in a resume as well... What the hell is going on.

Yes, thats correct. I had to send in a Resume, to the british high commision to support my visa application.

Has anyone hear of this before...


Soooooooooooo odd.

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Old 03-22-2004, 08:28 PM   #15
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Well it has been a hard choice, but I will not be going to Syria...My fear of not having my passport back in time has got the best of me!!! So I will get to spend more time in Jordan and Lebanon...I am a little upset with myself for this, but I can have nothing ruin this trip, it means to much to me, and when it comes to my passport...I am VERY paranoid.....Cyprus is still an option...I am looking into that now...
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Old 03-23-2004, 08:05 AM   #16
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Cyprus, eh, old buddy? That's been on my wish list for years. Keep me apprised of your travel dates and I might join you yet...

Sorry to hear Syria got the deep six.

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Old 03-24-2004, 11:07 AM   #17
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I'd send it, my boss sent his, and I think he may have paid a little extra to get it back quickly.
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