It always has been my dream to visit the U.S. and now that I have the money and time for it, I want to go in the Christmas holiday. I am dual Syrian/Dutch citizen, and because of my Syrian nationality I am not eligible for ESTA and the normal visa process takes so long. The consulate in Amsterdam doesn’t even issue a visa unless it’s a life and death matter. What should I do? I really would like to spend the Christmas in New york. ☹️

  • 6
    Not really sure what your question is? However, apply for a visa appears to be the answer.
    – Traveller
    Oct 7, 2021 at 21:22
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    Note that the current Covid travel ban would prevent you from entering the US if you were present in the Schengen Area (including the Netherlands) in the 14 days before. That's part of the reason they issue very limited visas at this time. The ban is expected to be lifted in November, but there is no firm date yet (and there have been hints of delays), and no details (though it is expected that you will need to be fully vaccinated). Hopefully they will ramp up visa issuing then, but expect a rush for visas as soon as the travel ban is lifted.
    – jcaron
    Oct 8, 2021 at 9:17
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    You could try to visit Hozomeen or Hyder ;-) Would that fulfill your dream? (NB: Don't do this without the right to enter the US. Right now, don't do it at all; US/Canada border is closed due to COVID-19 anyway. But Hozomeen, Hyder, and perhaps other places are interesting curiosities :-)
    – gerrit
    Oct 8, 2021 at 9:57
  • @gerrit: Is the border closed at Hyder? That would essentially cut the town off completely from the outside world.
    – Vikki
    Oct 8, 2021 at 22:39
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    @Vikki Apparently, it was closed; but Hyder can be reached by air, so it was no more cut-off than other communities reachable by air only (there are some in Alaska and Canada). Apparently there used to be a ferry too, and of course residents with own boats can get to other places in Alaska.
    – gerrit
    Oct 9, 2021 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


In general, as someone with dual citizenship you would be eligible to use the Visa Waiver Program (ie, ESTA) under either of your citizenships - it wouldn't matter if one of them isn't eligible for ESTA/VWP, as long as the one you apply for is.

However as you're likely aware, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and the following are not eligible to use the VWP program, even if they hold a citizen citizenship that would make them eligible :

  • Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria
  • Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen on or after March 1, 2011

Thus you are not eligible to use the Visa Waiver Program. If you attempt to apply for an ESTA to use this program, one of the question you will be asked is any other citizenships you hold, and your application will be automatically rejected due to your Syrian citizenship.

The only option is to apply for a US visa - most likely a B2 ("tourist") visa. Applying for a US visa involves paying a fee, making an appointment for and attending an interview at a US Consulate, and filling in a DS-160 form. Normally this is not an overly difficult process, however at the moment many US consulates are only providing limited services due to COVID-19.

The website for the US Consulate in Amsterdam states that they are currently providing "very limited non-immigrant visa services for students and certain petition-based workers who qualify for an exception to current travel restrictions.", however as the travel restrictions this refers to are due to be relaxed in November 2021 it's very likely that their rules will change in the near future - it may even be worth attempting to email them and ask if/when they expect this to occur.

If you are unable to obtain an appointment in Amsterdam you MAY be able to apply at the US Consulate in another country, but check the rules carefully as many are not accepting bookings from non-residents of the country they are in.

Unfortunately other than obtaining a visa you have no other options to travel to the US. The only legal way to bypass the Syrian exclusion from the VWP is to obtain a visa. Attempting to bypass it in other way (eg, not disclosing your Syrian citizenship) have to potential of ending very badly, up to and including you being banned from the US for life!

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