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Israel Passport Stamp Problems

Travelers who have old passport stamps from Israel may not realize that these can cause problems for future travel. Here’s what they need to know.

When Do Israel Passport Stamps Cause Problems?

Travelers who try to enter Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Sudan with an Israeli passport stamp may have problems.

These countries do not allow people who have been to Israel to enter their country. In fact, those who try to do so may face stiff penalties.

Note that Iran has recently changed its laws. Now, travelers with stamps from Israel that are more than 6 months old should be able to enter. 

In addition, Saudi Arabia is now permitting at least some travelers to enter their country after having been in Israel.

This is more likely the case for business travelers but others have had success, as well. Their electronic visa application system does not disqualify people who have visited Israel.

Why are Stamps from Israel Problematic?

Stamps from Israel are a problem because of ongoing tensions in the Middle East. Many countries do not recognize Israel as a legitimate country, so do not accept their stamps.

Others fear that people coming from Israel may be terrorists or planning to participate in terrorist activities. This fear may not be justified, but is one that people have.

Does Israel Still Stamp Passports?

Israel phased out its passport stamp over several years. Now, it offers tourists a stamped blue piece of paper instead.

Travelers must keep this piece of paper with them and with their passport at all times. It is their permission to be in the country, just like a passport stamp would be.

Upon exiting Israel, travelers will hand in their blue piece of paper and get a pink exit slip for the country. This is in lieu of an exit stamp.

Note that Israel will stamp passports or other pieces of paper if travelers want it as a souvenir or for sentimental reasons. They can keep this as private evidence that they visited Israel.

While Israel will not stamp passports from people who are visiting as tourists on the visa-free or visa-on-arrival programs, they will still stamp visas into passports.

Travelers whose purpose in visiting means they need a visa or who are from a country that requires visas will have evidence of their trip to Israel in their passport.

These travelers need to make sure that they are fully prepared for the ramifications this could have before they apply for their visa.

What Countries Permit Israeli Passport Stamps?

All countries not mentioned above should allow people to enter even with evidence that they have visited Israel.

This includes muslim and Arab countries like Algeria, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

Travelers who are concerned about where they will be allowed to enter should search online before they leave, just to make sure they are safe.

Are There Other Passport Stamp Issues Travelers Need to Know About?

Some travelers have gotten in trouble because they had evidence of crossing land borders between Israel and Jordan or Israel and Egypt.

Stamps from these borders - even stamps from the Arab countries and not from Israel - have been used as proof that the traveler was in Israel.

Most of the time, officials at these borders will be willing to work with travelers. Visitors should notify officials that they are concerned before they hand over their passport. 

These officials may be happy to stamp the pink exit ticket from Israel or may have a solution of their own to help.

As long as travelers are polite, patient, and straightforward, they usually don’t have problems requesting help with their passport stamp.

How to Get Around Passport Problems Related to Israel

Most people find that the blue and pink paper systems work well to help them avoid passport problems related to stamps from Israel.

Travelers who have an old passport stamp from Israel may decide to simply renew their passport. That way, they can keep their stamp for themselves and use a new passport.

Travelers who need to get a visa to visit Israel and who need to visit restrictive countries after that should approach their state department.

This passport problem with Israel is well-known around the world. Many times, travelers can submit evidence of their need to visit Israel and the Arab world and get a second passport.

That way, they can use one for visas to Israel and the other one for any other travels. They only need to keep their passports separate and make sure they don’t mix them up.

Visiting Israel doesn’t have to cause problems with visiting Arab countries afterwards. When travelers know what to expect, they can make good decisions and plan for the future.

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