The Myth of the Israeli Passport Stamp Problem

When speaking to fellow travellers, globetrotters and Couchsurfers, I am always amazed how many people are afraid of visiting Israel – not because of Hamas’ rockets from Gaza or because of suicide bombers, but because of a stamp in a passport. Guys, you are missing out on the most fascinating and interesting country in the world – for no reason.

There are two myths, one which is complete bogus and one which has some truth to it, but I will give you the hot-shot traveller’s advice on how to work your way around the so-called “Israeli passport stamp problem”. I have been to Israel many times and I have also been to Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. I have never had a problem entering any of these countries at all. – I should mention that I have a German passport (or two of them as you will find out later), but as far as I am aware these rules and tips apply to all other EU passports as well as US, Australian and all other “free Western world” passports.

Myth no. 1: You can not enter Israel if you have the stamp or a visa of an Arab/Muslim country in your passport.

This is completely false.

There is absolutely no problem if you have been to an Arab or Muslim country before, whether on the same trip or long before, and want to enter Israel.

In fact, there are open border crossings between Jordan and Israel and between Egypt and Israel (in Sinai). I have used both of these border crossings myself. Upon entry to Israel, you usually receive a 3-month visa stamped into your passport. Easy thing. I have also travelled to Israel after having been to Lebanon, Syria (the land borders between these two countries and Israel are closed) and Iran and never faced any problem.

Now, of course it could be that if your passport shows visas for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, that the Israeli immigration officer will have some probing questions for you, but that’s nothing more than you would have to expect in the UK, the US or if you entered the Schengen zone.

Myth no. 2: With an Israeli visa stamp in your passport, you cannot travel to any Arab/Muslim country thereafter.

There is some truth to it. Unfortunately, some countries are so obsessed with their hatred of Israel that they do indeed not give visas to tourists if there are stamps from Israel in that passport. To make matters more complicated, many of these countries do not apply these rules stringently. Generally speaking, you will have more problems if you try to enter Iran, Syria and Lebanon, you may have problems if you try to enter the UAE or Saudi Arabia, and you won’t have any problems when you go to Jordan, Turkey, Egypt or Morocco.

But now to my tested hot-shot tips on how to circumvent this problem:

1. get a second passport

No, not with another name and not from another country. Simply a second passport from the same country that issued your first one. Tell the passport office that you are travelling in the Middle East. Usually, they are already aware of this problem. I am now on my third set of two simultaneous passports and it was never a problem to get the second one. – If your local passport office causes a problem, offer them that they can always keep one of the passports with them, if your travel plans can accommodate that. You can then go to the passport office and exchange your passports as you need them.

I then use one of these passports for all Arab and Muslim countries and the other one for Israel, Europe and the US.

One thing you have to watch out for: In many countries, the second passport is valid for fewer years than your primary one (in Germany for example, it’s 5 versus 10 years). In order to avoid suspicion when going to Iran or Afghanistan, use the second (shorter validity) passport for Israel.

2. ask the Israeli immigration officer to NOT stamp your passport

Israel is fully aware of this problem and does not want to spoil your further holiday plans.

If you arrive in Israel by plane, you were always able to ask the immigration officer at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to please NOT stamp your passport and hand you a separate piece of paper with the visa stamp. From early 2013 on, this is now the standard procedure at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. You will now receive a separate piece of paper. Keep it and carry it with you. It is your visa. After your trip to Israel, even the most suspicious Iranian immigration official won’t detect a trace of Israel in your passport.

However, this only works at the airport. I have not yet heard of anybody doing this successfully who entered Israel via one of  the land borders or by sea. At the land border crossing, it also wouldn’t make sense because Egypt for example would give you an exit stamp which says “Taba Border Crossing”. There is only a border with Israel, so everybody will know where you went, even if you don’t have an Israeli stamp in your passport.

3. plan your trip accordingly

If you are doing one big Middle East tour, you can of course simply go to Israel last. If you enter Israel via Egypt or Jordan, you can even use the land border crossing.

4. lose your passport

If you have Israeli stamps in your passport and you are planning a trip to Syria and your passport office is not cooperative with a second passport, simply “lose” your passport and apply for a new one. (The lost one will be blocked and you won’t be able to use it anymore.)

Happy travels and enjoy Israel!

About Andreas Moser

You will most likely find me in the forest, next to the lake, reading a book. Just follow the cigar smoke!
This entry was posted in Egypt, Iran, Israel, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

121 Responses to The Myth of the Israeli Passport Stamp Problem

  1. I’m a bit surprised that Saudi Arabia would have any problems with folk traveling from Israel. Syria and Lebanon, especially with what’s going on currently, absolutely.
    Sadly enough, without some nearly-miraculous occurrence, this advice is pretty much useless for me. But thanks for a great “window to the world”!

  2. Katie says:

    Great tips- I have found it easy (from the US) to get a second passport, although it had a shorter expiration than my original passport.

  3. Michael says:

    Dear Andreas,
    Thanks a lot for your valuable advise. I will test their applicability next Sunday when we go to Israel, both for vacations and to meet colleagues at Tel Aviv Uni. With a jewish wife and son I am absolutely positive that they will also wellcome the goj husband.
    What I am more concerned is my plan to visit Iran next year. Somebody told me that on request the Israeli border police might put the visa on an extra inlay, that can be removed later. In case the Iranian border IRGF cause me some trouble, do you think I should show them your blog entry as a reference ? But perhaps this causes even more problems, right ?

    • You definitely have to ask the Israeli immigration to please put the entry (and later the exit) stamp on an extra piece of paper, not into your passport. Otherwise, you may run into real problems in Iran.
      When you go to Iran, you have two options: You can apply for a visa beforehand, or get a tourist visa (15 days) at the airport. On both my visits, I chose the later option.
      If you apply for the visa beforehand, you have to sign that you have never been to “Occupied Palestine”. If your passport shows no signs of having been to Israel, you can simply sign this.
      If you apply for the tourist visa at Tehran Airport, you have a much shorter form to fill out. The main thing the Iranian immigration is interested is that you provide some name and phone number of somebody in Iran who invited you. Then you pay 50 EUR, wait an hour or two and you’ll get the tourist visa in your passport.
      I would not show any printout of my blog in Iran because being associated with me could cause even more problems than being associated with Israel. (Because of this: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/reports-about-my-trip-to-iran-in-junejuly-2009/) By the way, when I was in prison in Iran and was investigated by the Interior Intelligence Service, I told them that I had been to Israel (upon their questioning and because I found it pointless to lie). It was not a problem at all. In fact, it was the last question of all the interrogations in these 6 days in prison. After that, I was released.

  4. Stefan MD says:

    Interesting info, good to know.

    Regarding your last suggestion though, wouldn’t this fall under fraud and be criminally liable? In my country you actually have to swear that you are saying the truth, so you would be liable for perjury too if caught out I presume.

    On the other hand, one could also conveniently “lose” it in the sea out on a walk by Dingli cliffs after carefully shredding any personal and biometric info within it.

    • Yes, the last option is not quite legal. Unless of course you ‘really’ lose your passport. ;-) But you have to make sure that it never pops up anywhere again.

  5. Alonso says:

    2 years ago i asked the israeli immigration officer to not stamp my passport. it was no problem at all and like you said, they gave my a separate piece of paper and stamped this. one week later i travelled to jordan over the Sheikh-Hussein-Bridge near Bet Sche’an. There i had little problems, because i got the stamp on a separate paper and not in the passport. i explained and after a while they let me through and gave me another separate piece of paper, on which i got another stamp.
    on the otherside of the jordan-river, the jordanian immigration gave my a 3rd piece of paper with a 3rd stamp. like you mentioned the problem with the “Taba Border Crossing” stamp, here it would be the same problem with an entry-stamp over jordan-river.
    at the border on the way back into israel there was no problem at all on the jordanian side. the israeli side made at first little problems. because i travelled with 2 israeli arabs to jordan, they asked us a few questions and among others why i dont want an israeli stamp in my passport? i said: because i want to travell to iran and afghanistan. then they separated us and we were questioned almost 3 hours. it was quite an experience. i wanted to provoke a little and i succeeded in doing that.
    so, it is possible to enter israel via land borders an not to get ones passport stamped.
    there are many jordanians who do this. btw: they can keep their jordanian license-number and drive with them in israel, while the israelis have to take them at the border off and travell with jordanian license-numbers, which you get at the border. on your way back, you must give them back and then you can put the israeli number back on the car.

    • David says:

      sorry, but you’re an absolute fucking IDIOT.
      Whay would you want to “provoke” the Israelis “a little”?
      You’re being admitted to THEIR country…you should show some respect.
      It’s people like you that Israel should deny entry IN EVERY INSTANCE.
      It’s a privilege to visit Israel.
      You’re now only ignorant and cynical, but thankless and SURELY not well-educated AT ALL.
      Nothing more to say.
      No wonder people HATE americans everywhere lol…thanks to white trash like YOU.
      Why do you go to Israel in the first place?
      Next time: SPARE THEM.
      They do NOT need (or want) your money (whatever little you night have, as I gather you’re SURELY NOT well-off lol), or tourism.
      Go spend it with the arabs. They’ll SURELY appreciate it.
      Filthy uneducated hypocrite

      • Alonso says:

        i can tell you why and i will.
        i have a name that sounds like a typical israeli name. i was so many times in israel that i have learned the language so well, that only a few people there hear some kind of an accent, but cant tell where i am from. when i am landing at ben-gurion, they do not believe me, that i am not an israeli citizen and they taking me every single time to an office, where i always have to answer the same questions. this procedure lasts about an hour.
        a good friend of mine, an israeli, who is working for arkia, suggested to do something very strange at one of the borders, so that this incident would be registrated. from then on, when i will go through a passport controll in israel, they will see it and will probably leave me alone. i have to say, my friend was right, she knew what she was talking about.

        the one who does not show respect, is you! i am not an idiot, but i cannot tell, if you are one.

      • Ian G says:

        David stop being a fool, people doing business need to travel and I 100% certain that the Israely government may well disagree with you these people are not needed!!
        Your comment just show what a thick shit you are and points to you being the fucking idiot. Oh and I’m British and we gave Israel to the Jewish people, your welcome.

      • Tim Gray says:

        It’s very sad to hear such hate in a reply David, you should be ashamed of yourself. White trash? Not sure how you would know that from an online post. You must be very very clever or quite the opposite.

        We all need to grow up and understand this is our planet. This type of hate is why we have these problems in the first place. accept we have our differences in skin colour, countey of birth and upbringing and be happy. We have one world and one chance at life and enjoying this world. One chance. It’s not a practice run, this is it! Chill out and spread happiness not hatred and bad comments like that.

      • Alonso says:

        well, David was right about the white colour, but wrong about the quality of it. furthermore he was absolutley wrong about my nationality.
        ok, ok, he was wrong about many other things, but Tim, i think you are right about this opposite thing you mentioned.

      • oliver says:

        I am also a Jew, just like you. David. With what you just wrote, you make me feel ashamed of this fact. Shame on you, idiot!

    • Mohamed says:

      Thanks for the article it is really amazing , how will be peace in earth as long as people like David in it , Thanks Alnso for your feedback , and don’t worry Oliver we have many of David in our part of the world as well ,

  6. Michael says:

    Dear Andreas,
    To be honest, I am much less concerned about the issue of having a stamp of the “zionistic entity” in my passport, when asking for an visa to Iran. This is all pure ideology, isn’t it. And however hypocratic the IRI mullahs are, they will somehow realize that foreigners with an interest in Iranian affairs like you (even if they really have never been to Israel), are a much more sever problem. Last year two german reporters were arrested, for “illegally” interviewing the family of Sakine Ashtiani (who was sentenced to death for adultery). Recently, an american-iranian lady, who went to Tehran to see her family and friends, was arrested with a fabricated accusation of drug-smuggeling, sentenced to death and hanged. Some time ago, three americans, hitch-hiking through the country were also arrested and accused of espionage. Your own case also shows that the IRI authorities are really afraid of people who come to the country not only to visit the cultural heritage or the beauty of the nature, but who have an interest in the politics and want to meet the people and exchange ideas.
    You yourself are perhaps the best example: after your participation in the 2009 green movement, after openly writing and talking about the violence of the Basij forces in your blog, in the Spiegel journal and in the HBO documentary, do you think that they would let you travel through Iran freely ones again ?
    I know from several Iranian friends here in Germany, that they are always afraid that any negative comment they are doing here, in particular if it is via internet (Blogs, forums, Facebook etc) might become known to the security forces in IRI, and later they might got problems when they want to visit their families and friends.
    O.k., if I apply for a visa beforehand, and it got rejected, I know that I have to wait for a change of the regime, hoping that a more liberal gouvernment in Tehran will also be less restrictive against foreign visitors. But if I would enter the country with the visa from the border police (as you did), and later they would find out that I used to make naughty comments about the human rights situation in IRI on blogs etc., I could imagine they try to catch me red-handed somewhere when i visit friends in the country. Let alone the prospect to be arrested for fabricated political reasons the second time in my life (after spending some nights in Berlin-Rummelsburgs Stasi cells), I would have special concern to bring friends in Iran into trouble. They have no place to escape to or to be expelled to.

    I’m really curious hearing your opinion.

    Michael ( Radius)

  7. isabellafellini says:

    Well put. Yeah, our brilliant idea to try getting a U.N. car thru the Lebanese border didn’t work out so well…ah, the foolishness of our youth! But seriosuly, even people in Lebanon will tell you to use an extra piece of paper to visit Israel. The popular choice is to travel to Cyprus between the two. Also, if your mother or wife has a Jewish last name, you can always just refer to her married name on any official documents when traveling through the Middle East to avoid complications. It’s common for Arab women to use their maiden names on official documents, but they are familiar with other traditions. I first learned of this strategy from an Iranian friend whose mother was Jewish and father was Muslim. He obviously wanted to visit both cultures but had to be creative.

  8. Danarada says:

    Great advice. And yes, everyone should visit Israël. It is AMAZING!! And is very safe!!

  9. Zakiya says:

    I have recently visited Israel, followed by a trip to Saudi Arabia. You can now get a separate paper visa while border crossing from Amaan to Jerusalem. We just had to make sure that any stickers on the outer cover of the passport and the visa was discard before boarding the flight to Jeddah. Also in some cases luggage is checked so to be on a safe side concealing product with Hebrew writing helps.

  10. Abhishek says:

    Being Indian, I had to get an actual visa sticker in advance from the Israeli embassy in Paris this week. I dont think I will ever have plans to actually visit a Middle Eastern Muslim country, but I will transit Oman on my way to India later this year (just staying in the international zone at Muscat airport). I am wondering if there will be a problem.

    On the other hand, I noticed that Saudia has some really attractive fares from Europe to India, almost $200 less than the usual price. I am tempted to buy, but I keep having visions of being hauled to prison and getting beheaded by authorities in Jeddah or Riyadh…What is the worst they will do if for some reason they decided to flip through my passport in Jeddah or Riyadh and discover the Israeli sticker?

    • Balakumaran says:

      I have visited Isreal twice , and i have done transit via dubai and doha many times after Isreal visit. you have no need to worry for transit if you fly emirates or Qatar
      but pl avoid Saudhi which is very strict.

      • jhane says:

        hi Balakumaran.. and Andreas,

        i was working here in Qatar and next year on my vacation i was planning to visit the Israel to fulfill my dream and see the Jerusalem but i have a little bit confuse because they said that if i had a stamp from Israel i can’t enter here back in Qatar..so what do you think that could be good things to do or easy way so that after i visit Israel i can easily come back or enter again in Qatar to continue my work..? thank you.

  11. Belgiumcouple says:

    Dear Andreas,

    Thank you very much for your clearly presented and nicely illustrated article.
    We read it with great care!
    This summer we’re planning to go to Tel Aviv –> Jerusalem –> Amman –> Beiroet.
    We’ll be arriving from Belgium by plane in Tell Aviv and tell not to stamp our passports (as you mentioned) afterwards we’ll go to Jerusalem. Here we wanted to cross the Sheikh-Hussein-Bridge to enter jordan (we’ll already buy our Jordan visas in advance in Belgium). We’ll also ask to put an Israeli exit stamp on a different sheet. The entrance stamp of Jordan we will also ask to put on a different sheet, because of the location.
    Do you think we we’ll be able to enter Libanon flying from Amman with only an exit stamp from Jordan??

    Thank you in advance and the kindest Belgian regards,

    Belgiumcouple

    • I think it could pose a problem because Lebanon will notice that you have no entry stamp to Jordan, making them suspicious.
      It really all depends on the person checking your passport.

      If you want to be on the safe side, you would need to change the itinerary of your trip and go to Israel at the end of your holiday.

      • Arne Burssens says:

        Ok thanks Andreas, we’ve changed it accordingly! You’ve helped us a lot!

        Greetings from belgiumcouple

  12. Akhil says:

    Hi Andreas , Im an Indian and already got two business visa of Israel on my passport, now Im planning to move to Bahrain on a permanent job opportunity , i already got the Visa to travel , but after seeing all this Im worrying , do you think I could be stopped at border control in Bahrain . I tried this with Dubai but it worked absolutely fine and i worked there on employment visa too but not sure about Bahrain ? please help.

  13. Adel says:

    wondering how as an Indian you are afraid to get to Saudi Arabia or Emirates there is a lot of Indian living out there dude. maybe more than locals

  14. Quinn says:

    I am planing to go from Egypt to Jordan by ferry to Israel then through Cyprus by ferry to Turkey.. Do you think I will have a problum with a Stamp from Israel?

    • No, that’s absolutely fine. Even the other way round would be unproblematic. All of the countries you mentioned have no objection against you having visited Israel.
      Enjoy the trip!

  15. iloguerrero says:

    Thanks for the info!
    Im heading to israel soon and then on to egypt and sudan. The sudanise embassy wont give you a visa if you visit israel. But my problem is that I enter egypt via the tabas crossing. Is it possible to get a stamp into egypt on a seperate piece of paper?

  16. Zayinson says:

    Dear Andreas,
    How funny, as a student in Palestine (West Bank) I was writing a blog post about how hard it is to get a visa, which led me to your page. I know Muslims who have been denied entry to Israel for no reason, or who have been interrogated as to why they’ve visited Malaysia (which is one of the closest transit points). The racial profiling is a huge problem. Also I know people who are not Muslim who have been refused entry into Israel because they’ve visited Iran, or Azerbaijan (obscurely enough). How funny that our experiences are so completely different.

    • I know how hard it is for Palestinians to travel, not least because I helped many Palestinian clients myself when I worked as an immigration lawyer in Germany. Of course the whole thing becomes even more ironic when you consider that Palestinians with an Israeli passport have no problem at all to travel to Europe or North America.

      As to people being denied entry, it happens with all countries, not only Israel. The US, Germany, the UK, Lithuania, Italy, France and most other countries also deny entry to some people for some (random) reasons. Nobody has an entitlement to enter another country. Even if you have been issued a visa, the border police can still turn you away.

  17. ksdasari says:

    Hey, thanks for your post. I have a question. I am backpacking across the world, and will be in India soon. From there I will be visiting United Arab Emirates, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. From Turkey, I plan to go to Greece, and from Athens to fly to Tel Aviv. Would all these stamps from Muslim countries be OK? There is also the problem in that while I am an American citizen (born, raised, and live in the US my whole life), my parents are of Indian descent (Hindu) and thus I am dark-skinned and may be perceived as Arab/Muslim. I was planning on going for 10 days or so, but I’m afraid I will be denied entry because of my skin color and my travel itinerary before arriving in Israel and that I will have to sit in one of their “facilities” for 10 days before getting my flight back to Europe. Do you think I will have any problems?

  18. jibson says:

    Hello,

    I have been a student here in EGYPT for past two years,i have EGYPT visa and i have my various EGYPT student residence permit on my passport,i have also visited RUSSIA,Philippines and i have also visited UAE having the entry stamped and exit stamp of UAE also various Egypt entry and exit stamp on my passport ,I always enter and exit Egypt via CAIRO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT..

    My dad have been discussing with me to go along with me to ISRAEL sometimes June this year,and i also wish to visit Israel at least for once in my life ..

    AM A NIGERIAN PASSPORT HOLDER

    My questions is won’t i have problem getting my visa along with my dad at my next visit to Nigeria and if granted visa won’t i have problem at Israel port of entry via tel-av-iv,if i luckily got stamped in,won’t i have problem to enter Egypt back for my schooling after holidays or won’t i have further problem entering UAE because i have family there that i do visit,

    NOTE;;I do always travel to UAE via their airline EMIRATE

    ANY SUGGESTION WOULD BE APPRECIATED

    • I have travelled myself between Israel and Egypt with the same passport, got all the stamps and it never was a problem.
      About the UAE I don’t have any experience of my own, but I think somebody else commented about that above.

      • jibson says:

        ANDREAS MOSER :::you mean you hold a nigerian passport?

        if yes,how come about that ?if not which passport do you hold presently

        Honestly i would still want an idea about the UAE issue because i travel to UAE alot at least minimum of thrice in 4 months

  19. mimi says:

    Hi im planning a trip to Israel in June however i’ve previously been to Pakistan & Saudi. I did think of “losing” my passport however you have to have a valid passport for 6months in order to gain entry.
    Im just wondering whether I should just risk it & go with my current passport? :-/

  20. Katka says:

    Finally one good article on the topic! There are just too many myths concerning this issue, but I dont understand why people dont check out the facts. Actually, the Israelis are not stamping the passports anymore – this is as of February 2013, so quite a fresh thing. I cant find the sources for this but I have a close friend working in tourism and crossing regularly, so I know its true. Just wrote an article about the Israeli borders at my blog :-)

    • Thanks for both the compliment and the update!
      As far as I have read the new guidelines, they only refer to Ben Gurion Airport at Tel Aviv though. While this is admittedly the main port of entry for most visitors, those crossing into Israel at a land border with Egypt or Jordan will still get their passport stamped.

      • srinivas says:

        Hi All – My name is Srinivas Namani, Indian citizen. I am currently working
        in Israel and would like to move to Dubai. I have already received the visa approval copy from UAE and now I am worried with all these myths about my residence visa since, I am having Israeli work visa on my passport. Please suggest me before going to Dubai.

        Thank you very much for the help

  21. magellon says:

    Hello, thanks for this site. I am currently studying abroad in the Gulf. I’ll be travelling to Israel soon, via Jordan. I have a second, short-term passport that I use for Arab countries (other than Egypt and Jordan) and a primary one that I’ve used for Israel many times. My question is, if I use the shorter passport with the Gulf stamps to get out of the Gulf and into Jordan, will the Israeli officials be suspicious when I present my primary passport to them upon entry, and it doesn’t say where I came from? I also have the same question about leaving Israel. If I leave on the primary passport and then get back to the Gulf without having any stamp for where I was last, will that be a problem? Thanks so much. Also, do the Israeli border officials realize that some people have two passports? Is there any way I would get in trouble if they found out? Thanks for your help!

    • You will not have any problem getting into Israel. You also do not need to hide the fact of having two passports. This solution is absolutely legitimate and is well-known to Israeli border guards.
      When you re-enter the Gulf, you would need to come up with an explanation where you came from. That is you need to pick a country where your passport would not be stamped. (Typically your home country or in the case of an EU citizen all other EU countries.)

  22. Ake Bono says:

    Question: Im thinking about traelling to Iran with my German passport (which has a Israeli stamp in it) , do I absolutely need a second passport? Thanks a lot!

    • You don’t need a second passport if you will get a new one in time. When you fill out the Iranian visa application form, you will have to sign a statement that you have never been to “occupied Palestine”.

  23. John says:

    Thanks a lot! One question: my daughter is travelling at Middle East now. She did get the Israeli stamp on her passport, and will be Dubai and Oman in 3 days. Do you think she will have any problems? Especially Oman. It’s urgent. Thanks!

  24. s robert kumar says:

    I am in jordan and having indian passport. Is it possible for me go to israel by road from amman.. I have no prior visa for israel.. jordan on arrival visa for 14 days I have. Pleasebhelp and advuse..

  25. Tim Gray says:

    Just to let you all know I successfully crossed the border from Egypt to Israel at Eilat and they offered me the separate piece of paper with the stamp on. So it works at the border too. This was in September 2011. No need for 2 passports, they completely understood the situation.

  26. avi says:

    Help please, i have a canadian passport with israeli stamps in it. And it was made in tel aviv. Do you know if i can enter Qatar? I dont have time to make a new passport.

  27. I’m lucky in that I hold both a valid US and UK passport. I have never traveled to Israel, but if I did, I would do so using my US passport. I would travel to Muslim countries using my UK passport.

  28. stanito says:

    Seems like a lot of trouble, and in most cases quite at stake. I agree that Israel shouldn’t be avoided just because of the hideous stamp issue (you just ask not to have it and that’s it, they’ll stamp a piece of paper instead).
    I have to say, I don’t agree with Myth n1. If you have an Arab country stamp on your passport, you might get into Israel, sure, but the torture and questioning that will follow is by no means something you should skip mentioning, because it happens most times unfortunately.
    Plus Egypt and Jordan are the only friendly nations surrounding Israel, so the comparison in this case in unsustainable.

    • As I said in my article, if you have been to plenty of Arab countries or Iran and Afghanistan, you get questioned in almost ANY country. You’ll also get questioned when you enter the US, Germany, Russia or Lithuania. Some countries are responsible for more than their fair share of terrorists and thus travel to these countries will lead to some questions later. But you just answer the questions and on you go. I think the word “torture” is an exaggeration at best, or a downplaying of real torture at worst.

    • Elke says:

      I have to say that I don´t agree with the part, in which you say Israel is torturing visitors who want to travel into Israel and beeing in arab countries before.

      • stanito says:

        Elke, if it hasn’t happened to you I understand your point.
        But to those who have been through a lot of drama with Israeli immigration security because they had particular stamps on their passport, is fairly true I’m afraid…

  29. Michael says:

    im a filipino citizen and im curently working in DUBAI UNITED ARAB EMIRATES for 7 years, I would like to know if i can travel to ISRAEL and with visa stamp when i coming back to UAE?

    PLEASE kindly answer my question…..

    tips: my cousin was in israel last month and no visa stamp on his passport.

  30. Binwa says:

    Im moroccan citizen but im in Istanbul right now and I wanna go to israel
    they will let me entre ?

  31. Anthony says:

    hi Andreas I once had an Israeli Visa on my passport for tourism and was denied entry at Ben-Gurion Airport in 2010,. I am planning of visiting UAE for a 7 days summer holiday this summer, what are your views will i have problem entry UAE for my tourist visa

  32. Siobhan says:

    I crossed into Israel from Jordan on the Allenby Bridge border and asked them not to stamp my passport, but they did anyway. I now want to go to Iran, so will need to get another passport.

  33. Lejan says:

    Israel is not that great a visit. Jerusalem is positively freaky with all the obvious religious tension, not to mention fanatic Jewish fundamentalists that even the Israel is can’t stand. It’s also expensive and everyone is casually walking around with guns like it’s the wild west. It’s a very strange country and certainly the most militarized nation on earth.

    • Israel is beautiful. Just have a look at the photos from my last road trip around Israel.
      If you are bothered by religion and guns, just stay away from Jerusalem. But from my own travelling experience, I can tell you there are far more militarized countries in the world, among them many of Israel’s neighbours.

  34. Sarah says:

    when i went to Israel i asked the women not to stamp my passport, she asked me why, i told her i might want to travel to lebanon or syria, then she stamped it while looking at me then called out ‘next’ – also, it is not just ‘some probing questions’, they take you into an interrogation cell and you can wait several hours before they will let you know if they will let you into the country or not (they will rarely refuse you, its just to intimidate you)

  35. Henry says:

    Be especially careful when entering Israel without an Israeli passport if you have a parent who was ever an Israeli citizen or is currently considered an Israeli citizen. If you are visiting Israeli relatives they may well ask you about your parents or you may decide to volunteer this information thinking it will speed your entry – it will not. A child of an an Israeli is automatically a citizen, and must enter Israel on an Israeli passport. I was only let in because of a very nice border guard who told me never to mention that again to a border agent because of this rule. Being turned around at the airport to go home and apply for a passport would not be fun. The Border guards realize 90% of the time the questioning they do is pointless, if you are polite and answer all their questions you won’t have issues. Do have the mobile phone number of who you are visiting. If you can book a flight that lands in Tel Aviv on Saturday do so (if they still have these), the place is a desert with few arrivals/departures and no immigration line.

    Also, in our case the border agent had a lot of questions as to why my spouse had a different last name. He was not aware of this more recent cultural practice in the West.

    • Thanks a lot for these great pieces of advice!

    • Alonso says:

      Your experience is totally different from mine. I have an Israeli mother and a brother, who both live (most of the time) in in Israel. I am not Israeli and entering Israel always with a foreign passport. At the Passport-Controll the borderguards ask me every time if I have an Israeli citizenship. Every single time they do not believe me, that I don’t have it. We make a little jokes about that, because they know the facts and still asking the same questions.
      A few times we even entered together at the non-foreign passport control. It was no problem at all.
      I am not considered as an Israeli because my mother is one.
      It´s funny to hear that the nice borderguard told you never to mention the fact about your parents being Israeli, because they do know about it. Everything is on their computer. They know more about you and your family than you think.

    • Talia says:

      I am happy to hear this was not just my experience. My Father lives in Israel. I do not consider myself an Israeli citizen – I was born and have only ever lived in the US. After many visits to Israel with no issue on my US passport, last year I was forced after hours and hours of questions and initial refusal on my end to pay almost $400 for an Israeli passport at the airport or not be let out of the country. I had an r/t trip from Tel Aviv to NYC, having left to Germany for a month in the middle. On my first exit to Berlin they warned me that I could leave, but this was the last time I could be in the country sans an Israeli passport. I didn’t take this seriously, thinking “I’m American, whatever.” They kept repeating that I was listed as having a national security ID #. This meant nothing to me at the time and I am still not sure what it’s about. Cut to a month later and I miss my first flight back home trying to fight it out with the immigration official. Finally I relented, in tears, paid some crazy upcharge for same day processing, paid for photos, got on the next flight. Upside! I now have an Israeli passport and my US passport holds no Israel stamp (which I’ve learned here is no longer a thing, go figure).

  36. Ellen says:

    Hello,

    I’ve been to Israel a couple of days ago. I left the country to go to Jordan so I got a stamp in Aqaba. I want to travel to Sudan so I think it can be a problem. Aqaba also has an airport so I thought that I could might say that I flew to home from there. Does anybody know if this is an option and if it’s a problem to enter Sudan when I have a exit stamp from Jordan/Aqaba?

    Already thanks for your reactions!

  37. Sunita says:

    hello i am sunita from india i have completed my engineering and i wish to work in israel as an engineer is it possible plzz reply soon….

  38. marc says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen this issue addressed: will I be issued a PA-Areas-Only stamp (or slip) at Ben Gurion if I come to do some work in Gaza, and will that prevent me from doing some sightseeing in Israel afterwards?
    Thanks.

    • If you wish to enter Gaza from Israel, you need a special permit (which has nothing to do with your visa for Israel, as Gaza is neither Israeli territory nor administered by Israel).
      You can try the “Coordination and Liaison Administration of the Gaza Strip” or of course the Israeli Consulate in your country of residence.

      Another option is going to Gaza from Egypt, but this depends on the border policies of Egypt on that day. From Egypt, there are of course also hundreds of tunnels through which you can cross without any visa (but for a hefty fee probably).

      As to the sightseeing in Israel, I would do that before going to Gaza, as there is no guarantee that you will be able to leave Gaza on time. All of the aforementioned borders may be closed at any time for a few days. Depending on your citizenship, you will eventually be able to get out of course, but not many countries have consulates in Gaza, so there is usually no official of your country to help you.

  39. Sarah says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I have a British passport with many Israeli stamps-on the page opposite my ID for all the world to see, as well aqaba border stamps right in the middle so that always flips open immediately for the world to see also.
    right now I plan to go to saudi arabia to teach english for a year (can’t say no to tax-free money!), I’ve just spoken to the British embassy in Berlin (I’m living in Germany at the moment) and they were completely useless! the receptionist as well as the consular officer told me to just look on the gov.co.uk site, which i already had done, but they just give very basic info about who can/can’t enter & what documents u need. nothing about what to do if u have israeli stamps!
    Apparently the embassy/consulates in Germany don’t issue new passports and i can’t really wait 4-6 weeks to do it via mail in the uk and not really in a position to fly there & do the express service either ( at least that’s a really last resort & only if it’s confirmed i get the job). the embassy couldn’t even tell me if i can still get a normal passport or only the biometric one (which im opposed to).

    how do i apply for this 2nd passport which u mentioned? coz there doesnt seem to be that option available when applying for a british pasport, just’ apply for 1st time passport, renewing an old one, lost/stolen.
    the consular officer wasn’t even aware of this issue with having israeli stamps & travelling to arab countries like KSA.

    i happend to read about a guy married to a palestinian who naturally had israeli stamps in his passport & wanted to go on hajj in saudi arabia,he said he spoke to the saudi embassy and they had no problems! he said he wasn’t sure if it’s coz he’s muslim & maybe that stamp rule only applies to all non-muslims.
    now, i have middle-eastern looks & was wondering if i should pretend im muslim so i have less problems trying to explain my israeli stamps and also for my own security while in KSA for a year, don’t want some crazy nut finding out i’m jewish and making me the next gilad shalit!

    any ideas/suggestions?

  40. Hi! I’m very happy to stumble upon this blog while googling these issues. Thank you for posting. My friend and I are US citizens and are planning to get a second passport just for use in Israel and Jordan. From your experience, do you think the following will work?

    We have roundtrip tickets from the US to Tel Aviv (US citizens). We plan to cross at the border into Jordan after visiting Israel and use our second passport for Israel and Jordan. From there fly from Amman to Beirut roundtrip. We are considering getting tourist visas from the Lebanon embassy in DC to expedite the process and use our current passports for this which will have no evidence of travel to Israel.

    However, will the Lebanese ask for our air tickets to determine original departure? They would then find out that we we flew from Jordan, but see no entry/exit stamp in our current passport. I’m worried they will stalk our travel itinerary and see that we were not on any flights from the US to Beirut that day (in case we say we were on layover in Amman) and get detained. I’m wondering if they will be scrutinizing further because of the heightened security in the region overall. Thanks in advance for your advice.

  41. Kc says:

    Hello,

    I find this very interesting! Just wanted to let you know that the stamp issue for Israel can be avoided by border crossings. I’ve just got back today from Israel and used the Allenby Bridge from Jordan. When departing Jordan they have a piece of blank paper at the window where you right your name and passport number on it. You give this and your passport to the officials. When you pay your money you get two bits of print and then they will stamp on the print and the paper you wrote on to say you exited. One of the printed bits and the one you wrote on are then taken off you halfway through the bus ride to the boarder. Once in Israel you will go through check after check after check and finally get to immigration! You can ask for no stamp and then the official will then type out info and then give you a little ticket with all your info and scan of your passport photo – this ticket is I’m place of a stamp! You then hand it to the next official and your stamp free (you can ask to keep the ticket and they will put a little tear in it). On the way back from Israel to Jordan, you will pay a departure tax and get a ticket as proof. At immigration hand your passport and ticket to the official and she/he will stamp the exit stamp on that ticket. Then on the bus you go. Too easy! Hope this helps, haven’t read anywhere about this updated procedure and was expecting the worse!

  42. Paige says:

    I wish some people knew how amazing Israel is. Mostly everything they hear is wrong, esp if you are hearing it from the United States.
    Israeli government protect the Arab Muslims. People will never know the true.. Sigh..

    • Ahmad says:

      hi. first of all the never protect the interest of non jews. maybe the country is amazing for some people, but I don’t like it even jesus and other best personality are from there. for me it is the centre of war and crime for jews, muslims and Christians. if you aren’t jews, you aren’t good human. jews think like this.

  43. Fred says:

    That last comment made me laugh, that’s all I am saying. I travelled to Jerusalem last year to see all the sights and loved visiting the various Jewish, Muslim and Christian historical sites. I was however disappointed with the horrendous, intimidating service at the border between Jordan and Israel and when I asked for the officer to not stamp my passport, he had me in for extra questioning and stamped it anyway even though I explained that it had nothing to do with political observation but rather because of the possible future travel to counties that may have an issue. Shame really. I thoroughly enjoyed Jerusalem and would love to go back.

  44. Just being the kind of guy I am, I would insist the Israeli official stamp my passport only, and refuse any offer of giving me a separate paper with the visa.

  45. Pingback: Stamps on your passport, are they relevant? « SeekingVoice

  46. Ash says:

    I have a Israeli stamp.. what if I want ot go to Malaysia or Singapore? Will I get in?

  47. Derek says:

    Hi, I have been to Israel 2 years ago, got a stamp in my passport. I’ll visit Iran in January 2014. I’ll apply for visa at airport. Does anybody have recent informations if it’s possible to enter Iran without any problem?

    • Considering the fee for a second or new passport and the cost of a roundtrip to Iran (both of which admittedly depend on where you are from), I would not risk it.
      Or if you want to, I would at least not book a direct flight to Iran, but one via Turkey for example. This way, if Iran doesn’t allow you to enter, you can at least spend your holiday in Turkey.

  48. Pingback: Kuwait and Israeli stamp: will I be in trouble? - FlyerTalk Forums

  49. suhail says:

    very helpfull.
    I have heard my friends say that having first visa of Pakistan is not good, if you are planning to visit other country. Is this true?

    • Ahmad says:

      hallo. if you visit pakistan, the police in US and UK will think, that you have been with Al-qaida. if you aren’t muslim. no problem.

      • Hello Ahmad,
        that’s a good point. It’s ironic how many people are worried about which country in the Middle East they can visit with what passport stamp, when the real problems will be when entering the UK or the US.

  50. Sebastian says:

    1st of all, Israel is one of the shittiest countries in the world, those dudes have no sense of joy whatsoever, it is a 1st world country, but lookswise, it is a 2nd world country.
    2nd, it is always better to have you passport damaged from rain or the washing machine rather than to lose it.

  51. s m says:

    Hello Andreas. My question is quite particular so I doubt you will be able to answer, but maybe you’ll have some information anyway. I was born in Israel but am not Israeli, never have been and never will be, my parents were based there a few years because my father was stationed in Lebanon. There are some countries I would like to visit which have restrictions, but how strictly do you think they would be applied in my case? I’ve had my birthplace removed from one of my passports (multinational), but all they did was leave an empty space under ‘birthplace’. I imagine I would need to state my birthplace in any visa application anyway so it really doesn’t help. Do you reckon that if I can prove I’m not Israeli by carrying two passports they would let me through? If you know more about particular countries, I’m most interested in visiting Yemen, Bahrain, and Iran.

    • Ahmad says:

      hallo. if you don’t have Israeli visa or stamp in your passport. you can visit Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, UAE. but Saudi Arab is very difficult to visit, even for muslims.

  52. Ahmad says:

    hallo. that is true that you can’t visit UAE and Saudi Arabia, if you have Israeli visa in your passport. I don’t think, it is good idea to visit Israel. if you look like Arabs or have Muslim name. they will stop you for hours for entry. they will ask you from A to Z. about your father name. your brothers. their telephone number, your e-mails, why you visit israel. they don’t respect visitors. they call them self as super power. I have visited Israel 2 time. but of you are American or European with muslim name or Arab look. don’t visit Israel. they are afraid of your look and name. better to visit egypt or jordan. they are respectful and more open for visitors. their is nothing in Israel to miss. if you aren’t crazy about Jesus.
    don’t think that I am arab or enemy of Israel. I am also from Jewish tribes.

  53. Molybdenum Studios says:

    Reblogged this on Anything in Random, by MSP and commented:
    Wow… just in case Japan allows dual citizenship (provided it implements the Behaltungsgemehnigung), I’ll simply use the Japanese passport for the Gulf/Arab countries while I use the Philippine passport for Israel. Das ist alles! Ijou!

  54. Pingback: How to See Both the Jewish and Arab World | Liebertee.org

  55. Inna says:

    Hello, I need to visit Israel for work and then later on travel to Japan via Dubai. I have an European passport. Do you think I may have problems during the Dubai transit if Israelis stamp my passport at Tel Aviv (of course I will ask them not to). Thanks

  56. soniab30 says:

    Ive had the pleasure of meeting and knowing many israelis. They are a kind , educated, warm and likeable bunch. To skip out on Israel should be unthinkable, in my opinion it is one of the prettiest places in the middle eastern cluster.

  57. imwillwerth says:

    If I get a separate piece of paper with an Israeli stamp from the airport in Tel Aviv and I exit the country by land to say Jordan, will the separate piece of paper get stamped or my passport?

    I’m a dual citizen, and have two passports, but they have different surnames because I changed it in one of the countries. Does this cause any suspicion?

    Also, if I enter Israel with one passport and exit the country over the border to Jordan, can I ask for the Jordanian entry visa stamped in my other passport even though my Israeli exit visa would be in a different passport?

    Thanks

    • imwillwerth says:

      Apparently, Jordan will stamp my passport with the information of where I crossed, so it will be obvious that I came from Israel if I cross by land. However, I’m wondering if, when I then travel from for example Jordan to Lebanon (and then switch passports on arrival), will the Lebanese look for an exit visa from Jordan? They wouldn’t necessarily know what flight I was on.. so how would they know where I came from. I could have come from Europe and had a layover in Jordan right?

  58. Sara Olivera says:

    I visit Israel by Taba. I don’t have Israel stamp, but I have Taba stamp. Obviously, they will know that I went to Israel. I just spent 2 days, nothing more. Do you think they will reject my entry at the Airport? I intend to apply a visa here in Brazil, but I am afraid because they will check my passport and they will know about Taba.

  59. shelli says:

    Mr Moser,
    I apologize if this is the wrong forum for this question. I have an Israeli stamp. I plan to get a new passport without a stamp so I can travel to Libya (which does not allow entry with an Israeli stamp).
    Here are my questions:
    Is it only illegal to enter with an Israeli stamp or is it illegal to travel to Libya if you have visited Israel?
    I realize you may not know Libyan law but if you don’t perhaps you can comment on countries that have similar entry restrictions.

    If someone were to report to the authorities in libya that I have been to Israel, what will happen?
    Will I be put in jail because I have broken a law, or worse? Will I be sent back home?
    Or will nothing happen as I didn’t have a stamp in my passport?
    Your help is greatly appreciated.

    • I have not yet been to Libya, so my answer will relate more generally to all the countries who have something against people who have previously visited Israel:

      Usually, these countries take their hatred against Israel so far that they make it illegal to visit Israel and subsequently visit their country. When applying for a visa for Iran for example, you have to sign that you have never been to “occupied Palestine”.
      If you are caught out, you would at least face the charge of lying on a visa application, for which deportation is probably the best thing you can get. More seriously though, you might be charged with espionage or “working for the enemy” or other dubious charges.

      You should consider that some countries have a real obsession about Israel. Remember the cases where Saudi Arabia and Egypt arrested or accused animals like birds or sharks to be Israeli spies. That’s the kind of mindset you are dealing with. So if they meet a traveller who is in their country and who lied about having been to Israel, in their mind they have caught the spy of the century. Because they want to. And you are just the unlucky one who gets caught.

      We should also consider that what the law says is not that relevant in most of the countries who ban travellers who have previously visited Israel. These are not exactly rule-of-law countries, so a lot depends on the local police or the branch of the government that will get their hands on you.
      For example, I was once arrested and imprisoned by the Iranian Interior Intelligence Service. They asked where else I had been in the Middle East and I was candid about my visits to Israel. That was the last question of a week-long interrogation and after that I was released. Big surprise! But maybe some other police or security agency in Iran would have made a big fuss out of it and would have brought me to (show) trial.

  60. shelli says:

    Thank you for your quick and thorough response.
    I am not sure what to do. I don’t like to lie. Also, there is someone in Libya that could easily report that I’ve been to Israel. He has said his sibling is police. He certainly doesn’t want me there.
    Its a shame I can’t see the visa form beforehand to read the wording.
    So if caught, do you advise admitting to going to Israel?

    • You might find the visa form online or get it from some travel agency which organizes tours to Libya.

      If there is someone in Libya who knows of your stay in Israel anyway, I would admit it – if confronted with it – or say that you completely forgot about it because you travel a lot and argue that it’s not much of a big deal.

  61. Pingback: How to See Both the Jewish and Arab World | LIEBERTEE

  62. Carlos says:

    Mr Moser
    I have spanish passport but currently I spend a lot of time in the Arabian Gulf for business pusposes. I have saudi multiple entry visitors visa in my passport and the passport is full of stamps (many, many, many) of Saudi Arabia, and especially Bahrain, because we usually are based in Bahrain, we commute to Saudi to do business and come back to Bahrain to the hotel. I also have stamps from two trips to Qatar and Lebanon.
    In case I planned a tourist trip to Tel Aviv in summer, would there be many problems when entering Israel via Tel Aviv Airport?

    • No. Israel does not have any problems with your previous visits to any other country. You might be asked a few questions about the nature of your work, that’s all.

      If you enter and leave at Tel Aviv Airport, your passport won’t get stamped, so that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain won’t notice anything.

  63. Dilip says:

    Hello.. I am dilip from India..we are going on a trip to egypt for a vacation as we have been gifted one..In the future i am planning to apply for a student visa to the US..do you think it will impact my chances of entry negatively and will i face a barrage of questions at the Immigration counter in US by the officers

    • I think almost everyone faces a barrage of questions at US immigration anyway. :-) But no, as Egypt is a well-known holiday destination, I don’t think you will face any problems. I think problems can occur if people have previous visas from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and such.

  64. franklyn9ice says:

    i have a NIGERIAN PASSPORT with a valid work RESIDENCE PERMIT IN QATAR and i have the intentions to come to Isreal on vacation will i have any problems getting into isreal and getting back into QATAR plase i need your comments

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