Visiting Israel? What to Know About Visas

Due to ongoing tensions between Israel and its neighbours travellers must be very careful when presenting their passport to enter or leave the country.

Some countries block passports containing stamps or visas from Israel. To deal with this issue and make things easier for tourists, Israel now issues slips with stickers on them which you can keep in between the pages of your passport.

These countries include Afghanistan, Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

But also note that those countries will also search for Jordanian or Egyptian exit stamps from land borders with Israel and will likewise prohibit your entry if they find one.

Likewise Israeli immigration may take a dim view of travellers arriving from Arab countries, but you are unlikely to face anything worse than very time-consuming, repetitive questioning. Occasionally, customs officers may get a bit abrasive and strict, understandably they have a job to do, however this rarely occurs. 

Depending on the situation, if you have stamps from other Arab countries in your passport, you should expect to be taken to one side (without any explanation) and eventually questioned.

This usually takes around 10 minutes, very rarely does it take an hour or more.

Your bags will be thoroughly searched on arrival and on departure.

But the key thing to remember is if you have nothing to hide, then, other than the inconvenience of questioning, you should have nothing to be worried about.

Think of it as all part of the experience of traveling in this region.

If you are a young backpacker, especially if you travel alone, it is much more likely you will be detained for questioning in Tel Aviv airport.

There is a "selection committee" of 2 security guards waiting when you go up the escalators from your flight, and if you seem suspicious they will not hesitate to stop you.

If you dress up nicely, seem a part of another group or a family they are less likely to bother you.

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