A phytoene synthase gene SePSY was isolated from euhalophyte Salicornia europaea L. The 1655 bp full-length SePSY has an open reading frame of 1257 bp and encodes a 419-amino acid protein. The overexpression of SePSY enhanced the growth of transgenic Arabidopsis. When the plants were exposed to 100 mM NaCl, the photosynthesis rate and photosystem II activity (Fv/Fm) increased from 92% to 132% and from 9.3% to 16.6% in the transgenic lines than in the wild-type, respectively. The transgenics displayed higher activities of SOD and POD and lower contents of H2O2 and MDA than the WT. In conclusion, the transgenic lines showed higher tolerance to salt stress than WT plants by increased photosynthesis efficiency and antioxidative capacity. This is the first report about improving the salt tolerance by genetic manipulation of carotenoid biosynthesis.