Understanding the Israel Passport Stamp Restrictions

It seems that almost any mention of travelling to Israel is synonymous with concern about the Israeli passport stamp. Travel forums, blogs and Facebook groups are littered with questions about what countries you can and can’t travel to with an Israeli stamp in your passport.

Israel Passport Stamp
Israel Passport Stamp

This article aims to provide clarification for future travellers to Israel. It should not be taken as consisting of official statements, since Immigration procedures are subject to change at any time, however I believe it to be reliable and accurate as of the time of writing this (May 2018).

I’ve travelled extensively around the Middle East (including Israel), and have spoken to countless other travellers about this matter. I receive dozens of emails about what countries you can’t visit with an Israeli passport stamp each week and I believe that I am in a pretty good position to advise.

Related Article: Solo Travel in the Middle East as a Woman

Israel Passport Stamp: Why All the Fuss?

You probably are already aware that tensions are high in the Middle East as far as the Israel – Palestine debate goes. A lot of Arab countries oppose and sanction Israel and the reach of that extends to anyone who travels to Israel and is seen to be supporting their agenda.

Will I Get an Israeli Passport Stamp?

Typically, no. Because of the impact that the Israel Passport Stamp had on people who had visited the country ( in prohibiting them from entering certain countries, or deterring them from even visiting Israel in the first place), the process for travellers has changed. When you arrive in Israel, the immigration officers now present you with a little blue slip of paper with your passport information on in place of a stamp in your passport.

Related Article: Guide to Travelling Solo in Israel

What Happens With The Blue Slip of Paper?

You must keep this safe at all times during your trip in Israel and it needs to be presented when exiting the country, crossing land borders or visiting Palestine. It should also be noted that sometimes your accommodation may request to review this slip of paper (I stayed at Brown Hotel Tel Aviv and they asked for this, instead of my passport)

Israel Passport Stamp
Israel Passport Stamp

Israel Passport Stamp: Exit Protocol

When you leave Israel, you blue slip of paper is replaced with a pink slip of paper that you provide to immigration and when boarding your flight.

Land Border Crossings with Jordan and Egypt

The process of Israeli immigration giving you little slips of paper instead of stamps is all well and good until you decide that you want to visit one of the neighbouring countries by land. Only Egypt and Jordan can be accessed by land border crossing from Israel. Entry to Syria and Lebanon are not permitted from Israel because of the relations the countries have with each other.

When you exit Israel to enter Jordan or Egypt, the Israeli Immigration Officers tend to stamp onto your blue slip of paper (if requested), rather than into your passport. When crossing into Israel from Jordan or Egypt however, you will receive an exit stamp from that country, acting as proof that you have been to Israel.

Will an Exit Stamp From Jordan or Egypt Act the Same as an Israel Passport Stamp?

Officially yes, especially if you plan on travelling to more hardcore countries like Iran which consider Israel as their sworn enemies. You can almost guarantee that if you are visiting a country where your have to submit your passport for visa considerations prior to travel, your application will be rejected.

Related Article: Traveling to Israel on a Budget

Can I Travel to Palestine With an Israel Stamp?

Palestine is technically within Israel. As in, Israeli forces control the borders, and you have to travel to Israel to travel to Palestine anyway. As such, you will have no issues on that front. Just make sure that you keep that blue slip of paper with you as Israeli soldiers check for it when crossing back into Israel from Palestine.

Israel Passport Stamp
Israel Passport Stamp

Which Countries Can I Travel to With an Israel Stamp in my Passport?

Many Arab and Islamic countries have amicable relations with Israel, and therefore having an Israel stamp in your passport will not cause an issue. To address any uncertainty about specific countries, the countries that you can enter with traces of an Israel stamp are as per the below:

  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Jordan
  • Malaysia
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

So Which Countries Do Not Allow Access With an Israeli Passport Stamp?

Officially, the countries which sanction Israel and do not allow access to those that have Israeli passport stamps in their visas are as per the below list:

  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Libya
  • Kuwait
  • Pakistan
  • Saudi Arabia (with this said, people have travelled to the country on a business visa)
  • Yemen
  • Sudan

It should be noted however, that people have also reported issues with getting into Malaysia with traces of visiting Israel in their passports, but that seems to be the consequence of overzealous Immigration Officers than anything official.

Israel Passport Stamp
Israel Passport Stamp

Related Article: The Perfect Israel Itinerary

Do You Think I Can Get Away With it?

That depends. If you travel to a country on the above list that typically issues visas on arrival, your luck can depend on the immigration officer in question. That may browse through your passport and check for an Israeli stamp or they may not. The question is though – do you want to risk it?
If you travel to a country that sanctions Israel and they do happen to check your passport, you may be turned away and will have wasted money on flights.

Any Problems Entering Israel With Arab Stamps?

That completely depends on a number of circumstances – including the specific immigration officer that you are dealing with, and the political situation at the time (ie, if Israel are on alert for any reason). I have travelled to a lot of Middle Eastern/Arabic countries (Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey) and I got questioned quite a bit at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport. On the other hand, I have spoken to travellers who have been to countries that are Israel’s sworn enemies (Iran, Iraq, etc) and though some got questioned, others didn’t.

Ultimately, the thing to remember is that the border control guys are just doing their jobs in the interest of everyone’s safety. Don’t panic if they ask you a few more questions than the usual. They are just following procedure.

What’s a Globetrotter to do?

My best recommendation would be that if you are travelling in the Middle East, to save Israel until last. That way you do not risk not being able to visit countries that fascinate you because of a stamp in your passport.

You could also consider getting two passports (if that is an option in your country). This could be especially useful if you are a frequent traveller. After all, the issue here works both ways – there are countries that you can’t visit with an Israel stamp, sure, but equally Israeli immigration may question your previous travels in countries where the relations are not so amicable with Israel. As an example, when I crossed the border from Jordan to Israel, a girl behind me in the queue had been to Iraq to do aid work so the guards were questioning her extensively and took her to a room to check her laptop, phone, etc. So be mindful of that.

Pin it For Later!

I’m curious if anyone has noticed an impact on their travels as a result of having an Israeli passport stamp? Let me know in the comments below! If you have any more questions about Israel Passport stamps then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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