Can I send money to someone in Syria?

Can you send money to Syria from New Zealand? Here’s the information you need.


Fact checked

Unfortunately, you can’t send money to Syria. Even if you have a loved one in Syria who needs money desperately, an international money transfer to a sanctioned country is illegal in New Zealand.

Why can't I send money to Syria?

Due to Syria’s participation in terrorist activities and the ongoing civil war, the New Zealand government has placed sanctions on the country. This means you can’t send money or goods to anyone living there. Attempting to get around these sanctions is illegal. If you send money to another country without sanctions against Syria and then pass those funds onto a recipient in Syria, you may face tough legal and financial consequences.

Everything you need to know about sending money to sanctioned countries

How do international money transfers work?

An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Syria. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.

What are my options for sending money to Syria from New Zealand.?

  • Banks. While finding a New Zealand bank to send money to Syria can be a challenge, you can use the services of some Middle Eastern banks. In this case, the bank might require you to be an account holder, and you’ll have to initiate the transfer online. You can also consider sending a money order or international check via mail.
  • Non-banks. Some money transfer companies such as Western Union let you send money to Syria in person, by visiting a store or kiosk. Some limit their operations to the online world. If you and the recipient have PayPal accounts, you can use its services as well.

How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Syria?

When comparing money transfer companies to send money to Syria, pay attention to these aspects.

  • Transfer rates and fees. A better exchange rate does not necessarily translate into a better deal, which is because of the fees you may have to pay. To pick the best deal, simply compare how much money the recipient stands to receive.
  • Ways to send money. Finding a New Zealand bank that lets you transfer funds to a Syrian bank account, given the current situation, can be very difficult. However, if you have an account with a Middle Eastern bank, you might be able to use its services to transfer funds to Syria online. Some international and Middle Eastern money transfer companies also let you send money to Syria online.
  • Ways to receive money. The recipient can receive transferred funds directly into a bank account or by visiting a cash pickup location.
  • Transfer methods. If you plan to send money to Syria regularly, you can save some time and effort by dealing with a service provider that lets you make regular scheduled payments.
  • Using the same bank. In the event that you and the recipient have accounts with the same bank, using its services for the transfer can work in your favor. First, not many banks let you transfer funds to Syria. Second, you can benefit through reduced fees and a quicker turnaround time.
  • Processing time. When you’re sending money to Syria, the time the process takes can vary considerably owing to multiple factors. While the service provider you choose plays a role, the fact that various parts of Syria suffer from intermittent internet connectivity problems can work in delaying the transfer.
  • Minimum transfer amounts. The service provider you choose may have a minimum transfer limit in place.

Foreign exchange rates explained

The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it will yield more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. However, most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.

What are the steps to send money to Syria?

This depends on the method you choose.

  1. Transfer to bank account. If you wish to transfer funds directly into the recipient’s account, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name, account number, name of the bank and the bank’s routing number If you’re using the services of a money transfer company, you’ll also have to provide details of your bank account, credit card or debit card.
  2. Cash pickup. In this case you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired cash pickup location. The business might want to verify your identity before initiating the transfer. If you’re sending money online, you’ll also have to provide your bank account, credit card or debit card details.

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