Israel visit may prohibit stops in other countries

Q&A

January 14, 2007|By San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

Can a person with an Israeli passport stamp visit Middle Eastern countries, or would a new passport be needed?

Some Arab countries either do not permit, or are unlikely to permit, visitors with an Israeli visa or stamp in their passport. Among them are Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia (the last has refused entry in the past but not recently).

If you are planning to travel to Israel and the Middle East, ask Israeli immigration officials to stamp a piece of paper instead of your passport. This is a fairly common request.

If you already have an Israeli stamp and want to visit an Arab country, it's possible to obtain another passport, valid for a limited length of time. Laura Tischler, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said additional passport requests are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Leisure travelers "would have to submit a letter explaining their reasons," Tischler said. "They would also have to report to us the loss or theft of the passport."

Check the State Department's Web site, travel.state.gov, and click on "Consular Information Sheets" at the bottom left, then the countries you want to visit. If there's no information about entering with an Israeli passport stamp, contact the country's embassy.

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