Taken Question
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 17, 2011

Question: What travel restrictions have we placed on the Syrian ambassador here in the United States?

Answer: In July, the Syrian government began requiring that members of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus obtain Syrian Foreign Ministry approval before traveling outside of the capital. In response, the Department of State imposed reciprocal controls on travel conducted in the United States by the Syrian Embassy’s accredited personnel, including the Syrian Ambassador, the members of their households who are Syrian nationals, and Syrian Government officials visiting the United States. The Embassy is required to obtain the Department of State’s approval prior to any of the individuals described above conducting travel outside the core Washington Metropolitan area and prior to meeting with any government officials outside of the Capital Beltway. The core Washington Metropolitan area is defined as:

  • The District of Columbia;
  • Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties in Virginia;
  • The cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park; and
  • Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, in Maryland.

The Syrian Embassy must submit a Travel Approval Form to the Department at least seven days prior to the intended date of departure, not including the day the proposed travel is scheduled to take place, or weekends, and federal holidays.

PRN: 2011/1340