Countries you may not visit after Israel – even if you don't have an Israeli stamp

7/23/2021 3:51:57 PM

Wikipedia has a page titled Arab League boycott of Israel which contains a section Travel Restrictions and a handy little table and map.

Unfortunately, both table and map may be outdated. This is partly because not all countries that participate in this type of boycott necessarily put all the details of their boycott in writing but also countries may choose to join or leave the boycott. However, one can think of various levels of entry refusal from tight to broad with the implicit assumption that the broader categories include the tighter categories above them:

  • only Israeli passports
    (a number of states restrict Israeli passport holders from entering and sometimes even transiting even if they allow other people with evidence of travel to Israel; see the central column of the table on the Wikipedia page)

  • any passport that has a stamp or mark by Israel

  • any passport that has evidence of travel to Israel

Evidence of travel to Israel would typically be a Jordanian or Egyptian entry or exit stamp at a border crossing to Israel (e.g. Wadi Araba for Jordan, Taba for Israel). There is nowhere else to go if you use those border crossings to exit and there is nowhere you could have come from if you enter Egypt or Jordan from those crossings. Probably that is why Israeli border control issued actual passport stamps at Wadi Arava (Israeli side) as late as 2016 (my passport has one).

Now this never applied to upwards of 80 % of tourists visiting Israel, as they would likely fly into Tel Aviv (or maybe Eilat) airport, get their entry slip, and depart through the same airport. There will be practically no ways of knowing you visited the country.

Finally, note that any country that is not your own could refuse you entry for practically any reason. Thus, it is never a good idea to start a friendly chat with the immigration official, talking about your last holiday. Your communication should be a greeting, handing them your passport and then waiting for them to ask whichever questions they might have. Make this your habit and you will never end up in the awkward situation of admitting to having been in Israel to the Lebanese immigration officer.

The possibility remains that they might ask you out of their own motivation. However, I have not heard of this happening on a large scale and a comment by Krist van Besien anecdotally notes that:

I have visited quite a few countries that are not exactly on good terms with Israel. I was never asked if I ever visited Israel. In Beirut the immigration officer did go through my passport, and when he noticed that I had a Jordanian stamp in there had a closer look at it. I suppose to check it wasn’t for the Allenby Bridge checkpoint. He then just stamped my passport and let me in. I guess in most of those countries the policy is "don’t ask, don’t tell".

I strongly assume that if any Israel-boycotting country were to make asking travellers whether they had been to Israel a common policy, we would hear about it.

7/21/2021 8:49:06 PM

I could not find a formal statement by any country that previous travel to Israel forbids entry. states that a passport indicating such entry may prevent entry to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lybia, Sudan, Kuwait and Lebanon. However:

  • This is not a formal statement by any of these countries.
  • The problem mentioned is with passport stamps, not a prior visit.

I failed to find official entry requirements for any of these countries.

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Hello,My name is Aparna Patel,I’m a Travel Blogger and Photographer who travel the world full-time with my hubby.I like to share my travel experience.

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