No more visas at the border for US citizens!
15.07.2010 - 21.08.2010 24 °C
I wouldn't normally blog on pre-trip preparation but the situation my husband and I were in, forced us to plan for the possibility that my American husband wouldn't be able to enter Syria at all during our overland trip from Istanbul to Cairo. Our travel company gave us information about obtaining visas for our trip and after looking on the appropriate country's visa pages, we were confident that we would be able to obtain visas at the airport in Istanbul and at the borders of Syria and Jordan. We already had resident visas for Egypt. We paid the balance of our trip before the 60 day deadline, but found out a few weeks later that Syria had changed its mind about US citizens and the only chance of getting a visa was to apply in advance at the Syrian embassy in Washington DC. Since we live in Egypt, this was clearly not a viable option so my husband approached the Syrian embassy in Egypt. They told him that his application would take a minimum of 6 weeks giving us a 2 day window before leaving for Istanbul. After the six weeks and numerous trips to the Syrian embassy, my husband was told that the embassy still had no answer about his visa. At this point we realised that my husband would need to find a way to travel from Cappadocia in the South East of Turkey, back to Istanbul, fly home to Egypt and then wait 5 days before meeting me again at Jerash in Jordan. Our tour company (Kumuka) did absolutely nothing to help us with this situation. We contacted them 2 months prior to the start of the trip to check the visa situation and were told that my husband would be able to get on the group visa no problem. All in all this 'hiccup' cost us around 700 pounds sterling! We were not reimbursed for the 5 days of the trip my husband didn't use and I was even put in shared accommodation during my time in Syria! Suffice to say we will never travel with Kumuka again!