Are You Banned From Certain Countries If You Have An Israeli Stamp In Your Passport?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

jordanbordercrossing

The mystery around whether you are banned from certain countries if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport is one of those vexing travel questions that seems to come up during every discussion about travel to Israel, especially given the number of travelers visiting Israel through Birthright. So the question remains, is it true? Are you prohibited from visiting other countries in the Middle East if you have a stamp from Israel?

The answer is that the answer is not very clear. One thing to remember when trying to find hard “rules” regarding entrance requirements for countries in much of the world is that there are no hard rules. (Ask five different people what was required of them to enter country “X” and you’re likely to get five different responses, each depending on the competency, level of training and desire for bribes by the local official at that particular border crossing.)

Needless to say, trying to find exact information as to which countries will deny you entrance based upon having an Israeli stamp varies wildly. As one would assume, a country that denies entrance to another country’s citizens based solely on their citizenship is likely not a country with a model bureaucracy staffed with honest, highly-trained personnel who follow strict orders.

However, there does seem to be some consensus as to which countries do restrict access. They are as follows:

Syria
Lebanon
Libya
Kuwait
Iran
Iraq (except the northern Kurdish region)
Sudan
Yemen

There have also been reports of problems entering the following countries:

Saudi Arabia (reportedly not strictly enforced due to pressure by the U.S.)
Malaysia
Pakistan
Algeria
Indonesia
U.A.E.

However, that being said, even a cursory search through Lonely Planet’s thorn tree forum reveals numerous instances of travelers entering the above countries despite having an Israeli stamp — most likely a result of local border guards stamping passports without bothering to spend much time looking through it. Bribes, insistent pleadings, name-dropping and just plain good luck all seemed to have also played a part in travelers getting by these restrictions.

Of course, planning to drop your Uncle’s name or slipping $20 to an immigration official isn’t the best way to organize a trip. Most visitors recommend getting by this restriction by simply asking the Israeli immigration official upon arrival not to stamp your passport, but instead to stamp a piece of paper that you can present upon your departure. Most travelers have success with this tactic, but be forewarned, there have been reports of Israeli officials finding this behavior suspicious and singling those travelers out for questioning. So make sure to allot plenty of time for your departure if you plan to take this route.

The good news is that neighboring countries Egypt and Jordan clearly allow travelers with Israeli stamps, and you will have no problems crossing over their borders, something our friend Aaron of Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures told me recently upon returning from the region.

Given the region’s recent unrest and political turmoil, this list is obviously in flux. Where have you been recently? Have you had any experience or problems traveling with an Israeli stamp? If so, leave your comments below.

By Matt Stabile

TheExpeditioner

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Stabile Bio PictureMatt Stabile is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com. You can read his writings, watch his travel videos, purchase the book he co-edited or contact him via email at any time at TheExpeditioner.com. (@TheExpeditioner)

  • Taj Tourism

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  • Sanju kalu

    I am Nepali and I am from nepal.For some reason I came to Kuwait and now I am going Nepal to apply for USA .But the problems I want to knew can I apply same passport which I have visa of Kuwait because if I not get visa I have to come back Kuwait ?plz can I get best answer …..

  • Sami Khan

    What If Someone has the Citizenship of Both Countries U.S.A and Israel.. Can they Come to Bangladesh as a tourist or in any other visa? And if they can come to Bangladesh and get married with some Bangladeshi Resident..are they gonna get Bangladeshi Citizenship?

  • Sabir Hossain

    Where is Bangladesh in list?? they don’t allow Israeli passport, stamp even a passport with Israeli visa..

  • Well, it is good news

  • Well, It will be good for me to learn something from here. Thanks for such a wonderful article.

    • Yes @studentcover:disqus , this is good article, I am a reporter and i travel all over world this news is wonderful for me too.

  • nice article about the emmigration laws of the diffrent countries

  • such a wonderful article thanks alot for sharing this

  • Arvind Kumar Sinha

    I have just arrived after having a vacation in Egypt, Israel and Jordan, in that order. Obstinately, I did not request Israeli emigration officer not to stamp my passport. So when I arrived in Jordan via land border from Israel, there was absolutely no issue. Many tourists also arrived in Jordan through land border and all of them passed through immigration and customs.

    I am not sure, if I will have a problem in UAE or Malaysia – the other two countries worth visiting. I do not give a damn to others. Those countries could not do anything to Israel, so the easiest option is to harrass the innocent travellers. I do not buy this idea.

    • swagdoctor

      Israel does not even stamp passports. Jordan and Israel are on good terms

  • gibsonbrooklyn

    Thought-provoking commentary – I loved the details . Does anyone know where my business could locate a blank DS-82 example to type on ?

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  • FACTS

    Can you tell me why they don’t want Israelis and anyone with an Israeli stamp coming to their Muslim-majority countries? This sounds very antisemitic to me.

    • Aziz

      As far as i know some Middle East Countries doesn’t officially recognize Israel as a “Country”,

      Further, as know as i believe there is no restriction on entry to the UAE for anyone because they are Jewish, having Israel stamp on your passport is not a problem to enter UAE, I’ve heard from others they know some Jewish people working in UAE,

      Isreal passport holders can transit through UAE …… please note these information from Google and i have no idea about other Middle East countries

    • Qaiser Naqvi

      This is because Israel was formed on the stolen land, the land stolen from Palestinians. Palestinians were uprooted from their homes and forced to go to camps in 1948, and Israel was established on their land by force by Zionists. Moslems and Jewish were living on this land very peacefully for centuries, Moslems and Jewish both are nice people, this problem of Israel is created by ZIONISTS, and still they are killing innocent people in Palestine on daily basis. Thanks.
      Qaiset

    • DeFacto

      Because in spite of the mediatic brainwashing in our western countries, Israel is a rogue state, based on terror, stealing land, and of course, the cherry on top of the rotten cake: attacking their own allies like USA.
      Why USA keep stading for them is a mystery to me. Dig a little and you’ll find out that Israeliens “artists” were involved in the 9/11.
      Now by saying this I’m going to be called an anti semitic. Ain’t that funny?
      Truth is a lot of jews and non jews are aware of what Israel really does and it ain’t pretty.
      Search a little bit, open your eyes. Don’t let national news tell you shit.

      • Israel is a Secular country, many Muslim country who also do not recognize them based on religion , this has nothing to do with terror . where as stealing land goes , I can see that how they do it in Kashimir . did that in present day Bangladesh. You never know when some one like Hitler might rise and nuke most technologically deprived muslim countries which most of them are .

      • NeedsMoreKanye

        That’s because you are an anti-Semite, you brainless twat. Anyone who listens to any of the fecal material emanating from your brain is even dumber than you are.

      • Abe Robins

        Let me guess- you don’t like to be called an Antisemite? You are not a proud one and you need to hide behind some anti israel BS to spill your hatred.

  • Aline

    I totally understood that we can ask for exit stamp out of our passports. But I’ve one concern about the entry stamps: I’m arriving by flight in Jordan, and going by land to Israel. After that flying from Israel. Can I ask these two airports entry/exit out of my passport? It’s sounds so scary to arrive in Jordan airport and ask for that! And also leaving from Tel Aviv airport…

  • Alice

    I know that they stamp another piece of paper. I was traveling with expert Israel trips and had no problem at all.

  • Em

    Do you know if Oman has a problem with a US citizen entering the country with an Israeli visa in their passport?

  • asif

    hi my name is asif, in 2013 heath-row refuse my entry and give a black cell on my passport page. but that passport all ready expire. i make new passport can i apply now for others country visa?

  • m

    Israel now routinely does not stamp passports but stamps a piece of paper instead.

  • Saeed Sayani

    I am Indian citizen, I have been to Israel on Volunteer Visa, can i apply for USA Visitor Visa.??

  • Alex Bellink

    I went to Israel twice this year (the first time being on Birthright), and both times when I arrived through Ben Gurion Airport I did not get a stamp, rather a piece of paper that states “This document serves as a substitute for a stamp in your travel document”. When you exit, they give you a second paper as an exit stamp. Cool part about it is that not only do you avoid a stamp, but you get to keep both pieces of paper as a souvenir.

    …But I worked in Israel over the summer and unfortunately an Israeli work permit is actually a giant sticker that takes up two FULL pages of your passport (not sure if it’s like that in other countries as well). I’ve traveled to Spain, Morocco and the UK with no problem since then, but now I wonder if I will have any issues if I ever decide to go to Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. or Indonesia. Guess one day I’ll find out…

    • leahkot

      wow, two pages? That is one big work permit. I work in china and mine takes up a full page….I thought that was big….Though, to be fair, they have to renew it every year and, as I’m on my third year, I’ve now lost three pages to it.

    • Julius

      Don’t worry, you can go to Indonesia with Israeli stamp in your passport. I’m Indonesian and I have Israel stamp on my passport. My adopted mom a Singaporean had a lot Israel stamp and she can entering Indonesia and Malaysia without difficulties.

  • Scott

    If you want to visit a country that does not have diplomatic realtions with Israel & you have an Israeli stamp in your passport it’s best to get contact the country’s cosnulate first to see you will need a visa or some other document, or just get a new passport. You can also get a 2nd passport (with the same info.) if you explain to them that you are using the passport for travel to the Mideast & you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. It’s usually not a problem to get a 2nd one.

  • May

    I was born in Malaysia but holds an Australian passport. Entering into Israel was not a problem for me. Getting out on the other hand, I was pulled aside because of my place of birth. I had to answer questions on why I was there. – to attend a wedding and we had to show proof we were at a wedding. They flicked through all our photos in our camera. Thankfully my boyfriend was with me. They asked a lot of personal questions about our relationship and how many times I travelled to Malaysia.. Was quite scary but I answered everything truthfully…

    Unfortunately, I still have the Israel stamps on my passport. Been back to Malaysia.. Haven’t had a problem as yet but I heard it’s because they haven’t flicked through my passport pages properly..

    • MattStabile

      Interesting, thanks for the info.

  • Sam Harris

    It’s not hard to take care of that situation. Once that passport is filled up get a new one with out the stamp. Just saying but you have to surrender your old one first too.

  • Jackie Candon

    If you have an Irish grandparent you can get an Irish passport as well as your own country’s and use one for Israel and the other for problem countries.

  • Jonny Blair

    Hi Matt – nice post – I have passed in and out of that country about 3 or 4 times and each time I always ask for ALL stamps on a separate page not inside the passport – on both sides of the border – that is to say an exit stamp for Jordan is just as incriminating as an entry stamp to I s r a e l so make sure you tell the Jordan guys you dont want atamped on your way out. The Jordan guards and Egpytian guards on their side know all about it. Ive a few posts on the border crossings and writing a proper one on this topic soon. And just to confirm – getting into Iraq after Israel is fine – as long as it’s by flight into Erbil or Sulaymaniyeh in the Kurdish part. Safe travels.

    • MattStabile

      Cool, thanks for the info Jonny. I think the interesting part about this question is the face that it’s so subjective and people all have different experiences at each location.

  • Violet

    Here’s an interesting question: Am I only denied entry to said countries if the stamp is RECENT? Meaning…if I travel to Israel in April of 2015 and then try to get into Turkey or Syria in September of 2015, will I still have the same problem?

    • Anonymous

      It doesn’t matter the date, it just matters whether you have the stamp or not. If having a stamp is an issue for you, a new passport book may be the answer.

    • Alex Bellink

      I don’t think you would have a problem with Turkey. Even some of my Israeli friends have been to Turkey with their passports.

  • d.a

    Im in indonesia with canadian passport, was born in israel and its on my canadian passport,in amd out of indonesiamany times,i live here at the moment, so no problems what so ever with anything to do with israel to enter indinesia, ,,its even possible to get a visa with israeli passport

    • Anonymous

      No need to worry about being born in Israel. All these countries care about is people visiting (i.e. after birth).

  • My experience is that I could enter Saudi three different times with no problem.
    I have two Israeli stamps on my European passport.
    I wrote about it here:
    http://www.danielebesana.com/blog/life/is-it-possible-to-enter-saudi-arabia-if-you-have-israeli-stamps-on-the-passport/

  • Melissa

    No problems with Morocco with an Israeli stamp from a few months before. It is a beautiful country with a great introduction to Arab hospitality

  • Bamboclot44

    UAE is definitely not on the list :) I have an Israeli stamp and have been to Sharjah once and Dubai another time, the immigration officer looked through my entire passport including my Israeli stamp and did not even ask me a single question.

    • Anonymous

      UAE happens to be a special case. If you visited Israel, they will allow you entry but not admission into universities.

  • new rules were introduced – no stamp in the passport anymore! https://orientoholic.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/how-to-master-the-israeli-border/

  • I can confirm the excessive questioning when you want to depart. I was heading to Malaysia a few weeks after I left Israel so opted for a stamped piece of paper rather than my actual passport. When trying to check-in I was taken aside over three times and asked questions which ranged from ‘Have you ever worked for a terrorist organisation in Pakistan?’ (niche) to ‘Are you carrying fruit?’.  As far as I was aware, these two factors are exclusive!

  • As far as I know, the second list of countries there, like Malaysia, refuse entry to Israeli citizens but not to those with Israeli passport stamps.

  • I have an Israeli stamp in my passport, and have yet to attempt entering any of the above listed countries, though Jordan and Egypt are high on my list. Glad to see it’s relatively easy to visit these places with an Israeli stamp!

    I will say though that leaving Israel was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life. Convoluted travel plans had me flying back to Copenhagen on the return journey of one ticket, then continuing on to the US on the return journey of a separate ticket. This was highly suspicious to my interrogator. My advice: practice your story before arriving at the airport, including where you’ve been, for how many days, who you stayed with, their address, and minute details of any traveling you did prior to entering the country. I almost missed my flight!

    • TheExpeditioner

      Agreed, combing through Thorn Tree about this subject revealed story after story about troubles at the airport. I guess the other good advise is to allow yourself an extra several hours just in case!

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