xand.net - Arabic - Studies in Syria - Damascus University Registration



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Damascus University has a complex registration process. A student studying in the ESP Centre will be required to complete the process in order to obtain Iqama. There has been some inconclusive discussion as to whether it is necessary to do this circus if the student is willing to remain on a tourist visa during his/her studies.

In Syria, whenever you get any paper, immediately photocopy it. Then take the copies back to wherever you received the original from and get them to stamp the photocopies as well. If you always do this (it will not always be possible to have photocopies stamped, but try), you will find that you are well prepared. Most offices will serve you most efficiently between 10 and 11, though feel free to try earlier or later.

Begin the registration process by obtaining a letter of recommendation to the University program from your Embassy. If your country does not have diplomatic representation in Damascus, you will be able to register without such a letter. If the letter is only in English, you will need a certified translation, go to Merjeh Square (the center of Damascus) and have one of the offices there translate it, and have them get it certified (the stamp is in the Palace of Justice in front of the Suuq Hamidiyeh if you feel like doing it yourself, but they can do it for you). Make copies.

Make sure that you have copies of your University degree or credentials. Have your passport translated in Merjeh Square as above, get copies. Make sure you have about 24 personal photos (if you have don't have a negative, have them take the photo and be sure to get the negative so you will be able to do more in the future), any photo shop will do, might be about SP 200. Make sure you always have the photos with you, as nearly every office listed below will take between 2 and 10. Also make sure you have small change, plenty of SP 5, 10, 25s as most offices will keep change.

You will need to have a local AIDS test, to avoid paying the SP 500 fee, go to the ESP Centre and tell them you would like a note to the AIDS testers saying that you are a student. Go to the AIDS test in Zablatani, this is easiest done with a taxi, though it is not far from Bab Tuma and you could probably ask for Zablatani from there (look for the big building with AIDS on a sign in front of it). Go back the next morning to pick up the test. Make copies. Take them back to Zablatani and get them stamped.

Proceed to Student Affairs (Shu'un al-Tulaab) in Baramkeh. To get there, walk from the bridge of the President towards the Immigration Office and Bus Station. To your left, you will see the main University administration, with a gate for people and vehicles. Keep going, and go in the next gate to the left. Go inside the building in front of you, take the staircase to the right, and then go into the first office (it is around the corner). There, you will fill out 3 forms in Arabic asking all sorts of questions; this can take quite a while if your Arabic level is low. You will be required to give the original copy of the embassy letter (with certified translation if it was in English) with two additional copies and possibly a copy of your degree here. After you complete the forms, you will be told to proceed to the Office of the Dean (Maktab al-`Ameed) of the Faculty of Arts (Kuliyat al-Adab) in two business days. You will also be sent to the Faculty of Law (Kuliyat-al-Haquq) to buy a folder with 1 big form with a stamp on it, and 4 little forms. To get there, cross the street and go into the open gate (which is closer to the bridge of the President). Immediately turn left, and walk to the big building. Walk along the front of it to the right hand side of it. Go down the staircase, and through the doors that look like they go to a trash disposal area. The office is the first one to the right. Ask them for the registration papers (I say "Awraq al-tasjeer", seems to work). Pay SP 20, take the folder with the 5 forms and an envelope, and leave. Fill out the big form and one of the little forms at home before you go the office of the Dean.

After two business days, go to the Office of the Dean. If you go to the statue of the President (see directions to ESP Centre), turn left 90 degrees, and walk straight ahead. The building that will be in directly in front of you (perhaps 200 meters ahead) is the administration building for Kuliyat-al-Adab, which you will go into in a later step. When you are just in front of it about to go up the stairs, turn right 90 degrees. In front of you will be the building with the Dean's office in it. Go into the building, go to the stairs to the left, go up the stairs one flight, then walk forward 2 meters and turn left. Go through the door about 20 meters in front of you, into the narrow hall, and turn right. Walk to the end of the hall and take the last door on the right; you will see three secretaries sitting there, talk to them and pick out one of the forms you filled out in Student Affairs, which you can quickly identify from the pile because your photo is on it. They will send you to a random location for an "interview", meaning to have your papers signed, unfortunately I can't tell you in advance where this will be, though it will likely be in the administration building. If you find the right office but the person isn't there, just sit there and talk with the other people waiting, it is the Syrian way.

Once you have the person sign your papers, go back to the three secretaries at the Dean's office. They will send you down to the second window of the administration building mentioned earlier (just go up the steps and to the second window in the main entry hall). They will take a copy of the AIDS test, the certified translation of the passport, and fill out some forms. They will give you one of the forms which you will take to the Cashier for payment of SP 200. The cashier is located outside the back of the administration building, look for the railings forcing people to queue. After you pay the 200 pounds, take the receipt back to window 2 inside the administration building. They will tell you to come pick up your Iqama paper the next day, probably at 10 in the morning. They will give you a receipt, either at this time, or when you go to pick up the Iqama.

The next day, go to pick up the Iqama form. Make copies of it and the receipt. DO NOT LOSE THE RECEIPT, you may need it in the future. Now you will take the Iqama form to the Deewan on the main University campus. Go to Baramkeh, to the bridge of the President. Walk towards the Bus Station and the Immigration Office. Take the first gate on your left where vehicles can enter (the one before the gate to the Student Affairs office). Walk down to the end, and look for the Deewan (if you can read Arabic, you will be all set, otherwise ask). I believe it is the third to last building on the right. Go into this building, through the entry way. Turn left, and then go into the first office to the left. They will take the form and tell you to come back in 24 hours.

The next day, pick up the form. Make copies. Take it to the Baramkeh Immigration Office (not far from there, not the Immigration Office near Merjeh square which is for tourists). Go up two flights of stairs, and tell them you need Iqama, showing them the paper from the University might help. There are different locations on this floor depending on your nationality. They will take the original of the Iqama form, the original AIDS test, and have you fill out several forms which can be filled out in English (except one, which needs to have the first four entries only filled out in Arabic and English, the rest filled out in English). You may need to pay a small fee for the forms. They may take your passport as well. The forms will need a small value in stamps, which are bought from the stationary store next to the office (to the right, if you are coming out of the Immigration Office). Once the forms are filled in you will be sent to the top floor to the office of the chief, and he will sign the forms. Take them back, and once they have taken everything, they will ask you to come back in one business day. When you come back, you will be given back your passport and a white piece of paper saying that your Iqama is pending and servers in the place of an Iqama booklet. You may be told that your Iqama booklet will be ready in one month, but in practice you will probably never actually receive it. This does not matter.

Congratulations, you have completed the process.

Once you have the Iqama pending paper, every time you want to leave the country and come back, you will need to go to the same floor of the Baramkeh Immigration Office as before and ask for a exit and re-entry visa. The form costs about SP 10 or 20, and you will need SP 44 in stamps. You will need a signature and some stamps on the form from the person dealing with your Iqama. Then go back to the exit and re-entry visa desk. He will send you to the chief upstairs for a signature. Then go back to the exit and re-entry visa desk and give him the form and your passport. If you arrive before 11 in the morning, you might be able pick up your passport the same day at 1:30 PM, otherwise you can pick it up the next day.

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