This post is being regularly updated (2020) thanks to the input from some awesome travelers; if you have more up-to-date information, kindly let me know in the comments section
The Israeli passport stamp issue is one of the most discussed topics among people traveling or living in the Middle East. Across all forums and Facebook groups, people keep on asking all sorts of questions related to this subject, over and over again:
Will the Israeli authorities stamp my passport?
Am I eligible to enter Dubai with an Israeli stamp?
The fact is that I followed some of these conversations and I was very surprised by the large amount of bullshit and misleading information that some people tell.
That’s why I have compiled a list that contains the most common FAQ addressing the Israeli passport stamp issue.
And why should you trust me as a source of information?
Well, I’ve been to Israel twice, entering and exiting both by plane and overland. I lived in the Middle East for three years, I’ve been to most Arab countries and I am always getting updates from fellow travelers – just check the comments section where you will see tens of comments.
Against the Compass is your source.
Of course, I might be wrong because things can change overnight in the Middle East, but the information that you’ll find in this article is verified.
For more Middle Eastern-related content, don’t forget to check all my guides and articles to the Middle East.
Does Israel stamp passports?
Entering Israel via Jordan – Problems and how to avoid them
Can I visit Israel with an Arab stamp?
Can you visit Israel after Iran?
Which countries ban Israeli passport stamps?
I have been Israel but I have a new passport
Which Muslim countries can you travel with an Israeli passport stamp?
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Does Israel stamp passports?
The answer is NO.
Some years ago, Israel stopped stamping passports. Instead, they give you a card containing all your personal information.
This rule applies to tourists who enter either overland or by air.
Please note that, if you travel to Israel for work purposes, however, you’ll definitely get a visa in your passport.
Update November 2018: Ovda Airport is the secondary international airport in Israel (located in the south). Until very recently, if you flew into Ovda Airport, the Israeli authorities used to stamp your passport but now, since this airport is gaining popularity, especially because budget airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air are flying in, the authorities no longer stamp foreign passports.
This is what the immigration card looks like:
Do you need to keep the Israeli immigration card and show it at your exit?
Yes and no.
The Israeli authorities won’t ask you for this card when you leave Israel. However, if you enter the West Bank (Palestine) the soldiers might ask you for this tiny piece of paper.
Please note that if you lose this card, you might not be allowed to enter the West Bank.
Furthermore, some fancier hotels may ask you for this card, as well as some car rental firms. Keep it just in case.
Entering/exiting Israel via Jordan – Problems and how to avoid them
If you enter/exit overland from/to Jordan, does the Jordanian stamp give evidence that you’ve been to Israel?
Yes, unfortunately, if you enter/exit Jordan overland, the Jordanian stamp says, very loudly, that you spent your holidays in Israel because the stamp would mention the name of that border.
If you get one of these stamps, your passport is truly f***ed.
Can you avoid a Jordanian overland stamp?
The good news is that the Jordanian authorities are pretty cool and they are all completely aware of the Israeli stamp issue.
There are three Jordanian border crossings: King Hussein Bridge, Wadi Araba and Sheikh Hussein.
At King Hussein bridge, they automatically stamp on a separate piece of paper. However, make sure they do it, just to be on the safe side.
At the two other borders, you must ask for it before giving them your passport.
They will give you an exit form, which you need to fill out, and then you’ll get a stamp on it.
Important! If you avoid your Jordanian entry stamp, it means that, in your passport, you will have just your exit stamp. The question is:
Will the Lebanese authorities notice it or ask any questions?
If you go to Lebanon – It is definitely a problem. The Lebanese authorities tend to check passports thoroughly, to they make sure that you have haven’t been to Israel, and, if they see that you have only one exit stamp for Jordan, they will know the reasons very well, so be careful. Solution: Travel to Lebanon first and then to Jordan and Israel.
You go to another country – When I was in Tajikistan, I went to the Iranian Embassy in Dushanbe to apply for an Iranian visa. On my passport, there was clearly only the exit stamp for Jordan, so I was actually a little bit worried that they may ask some questions. However, nothing happened and I just got my visa within the normal timing.
It may be risky but the truth is that, besides Lebanon, other countries may not look that closely.
Read: A travel guide to Syria
Can I visit Israel with passport stamps from Arab countries like Dubai or Lebanon, for example?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions.
These are some of Israel’s worse enemies. Did I have any problem? Not at all. At my arrival, they didn’t even check inside my passport.
When I left, before heading to the boarding gate, they just interrogated me for 20-30 minutes, like everyone else. That’s it.
However, this may be not the case for everyone, especially if you enter Israel overland from Jordan, as they are much stricter. Actually, a traveler reported that he was denied his entry into Israel because of his Lebanese visa. Nevertheless, he had been living in Lebanon for several months, working with the Syrian refugees, so his case was sort of special.
If you have been in Lebanon just for a short holiday, there shouldn’t be any problem but again, reports are very welcome.
Can you visit Israel after Iran?
In the last year, the Iranian visa seems to be the most problematic one for entering Israel.
A traveler reported that, back in 2016, on arrival at Tel Aviv airport, the Israeli authorities interrogated him for 3 hours for having one.
Then, he entered Jordan and, when he went back to Israel, he had to wait for almost 2 hours due to the same Iranian stamp issue.
As if they wanted to punish him, they then stamped his passport with an Israeli stamp, something very unusual.
Just to let you know that I (and most people) had a completely different experience but, at least, he was allowed to get into the country.
Moreover, another traveler (EU citizen) reported (March 2018) that he was held for questioning for almost 4 hours at Tel Aviv International airport where, along with other travelers who had an Iranian visa, the authorities checked their social media accounts and posts but, since they didn’t see any problematic content, they let them go. In the end, it was just a waste of time.
Which Muslim countries are you not allowed to enter with an Israeli stamp?
Israel has quite a big bunch of enemies and, if you show them any evidence that you’ve been to Israel, either if it’s a stamp, the Lonely Planet or an Israeli Shekel, you’ll be banned from entering this country for the rest of your life. Luckily, you already know how not to get stamped.
Moreover, before traveling to Lebanon or Iran, make sure you get rid of all Israeli evidence. Which Muslim countries are we talking about?
*Iran: According to the MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), you can enter Iran with an Israeli stamp (or Jordanian overland stamp) if your last visit was more than 6 months ago. Please note that I have personally verified this.
**Iraq: Not Iraqi Kurdistan
***Sudan: A traveler reported (January 2020) that she had an Israeli visa occupying a full page and still, she managed to get her Sudan visa in Aswan, Egypt.
I have been to Israel but I have a new passport:
Does Israel exchange information about travelers with its Muslim enemies?
You’ll be surprised, but I get asked this question all the time.
Occasionally, after finding my articles about Lebanon, some people ask me:
Hey, I just left Israel and I’m flying to Beirut through Istanbul. Will the Lebanese authorities know that I’ve been to Israel?
The answer is very simple: Lebanon and Israel are the worst enemies.
Therefore, how could they possibly exchange any sort of information, especially tourism information?
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In which Muslim countries are you eligible to travel even if you have an Israeli stamp?
There are some Arab/Muslim countries where you are allowed to travel, despite having an Israeli stamp:
- Iraqi Kurdistan
- Saudi Arabia*
- United Arab Emirates (Dubai)**
*Saudi Arabia: With the introduction of the e-visa in September 2019, Saudi Arabia’s official e-visa site says: There are no restrictions on the places you have visited prior to coming to Saudi Arabia. You can read it here.
**United Arab Emirates (Dubai): For some years already, the Israeli passport stamp has not been an issue on arrival in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
Read my (updated) guides to the Middle East
I think that this is all that you need to know regarding Israeli stamps. Please note that bureaucratic matters are continuously changing. I will try to keep this article updated as soon as I am aware of any country’s new policy. If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below. Safe travels!