Recommended: Check if you need a visa to visit Israel.
Good question. Some Arab countries have reasonably good diplomatic relations with Israel and visiting these countries (listed below) after a visit to Israel shouldn’t be a problem whatsoever. However, there are of course a number of Arab countries that would rather curl up and die than have a visitor with an Israel-stamped passport (Oh My Allah!) step through their immigration…
As many visitors to Israel often make short trips over the border to Jordan and Egypt/the Sinai Peninsula, the question of whether an Israeli stamp in your passport will limit travel to these countries is a very valid one.
If you’re looking to visit Israel AFTER visiting an Arab/Muslim country, read this. You might also want to check out the questions Israeli immigration are likely to ask you at border control.
Fortunately, the list of Arab nations that are more than happy to accept visitors with Israeli stamps in their passport include two of Israel’s immediate neighbors, Egypt and Jordan. It might not surprise you that the two other countries that share a land border (but not a crossing point) with Israel, Lebanon and Syria, do NOT permit visitors to their country if any trace of a visit to Israel is found in a passport.
And what is meant by “any trace of a visit to Israel”? Well, eagle-eyed immigration clerks are often on the lookout for indications of a visit to Israel, as they know it is standard practice for Israeli immigration to stamp entry and exit visas on a separate piece of paper (if requested). What can give the game away and cause the end of your visit is Egyptian or Jordanian border control stamps if you popped across the border from Israel to Amman, Cairo or Sinai. This is evidence enough that you visited the evil state of Israel and you will be wished Bon Voyage right back to where you came from. Even security check stickers and luggage tags issued at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport have been known to bring visits to an end, so get rid of all traces of these if you plan on visiting any of the countries in the list of “bad guys” below.
UPDATE EARLY 2013: Israeli passport control now stamps a separate piece of paper, which is actually a small slip of paper that fits into your passport. They stamp it whether you want it or not. However, the issue of Jordanian and Egyptian passport control stamping your passport (and hence showing signs of you being in Israel) still remains…
Arab/Muslim countries that accept visitors with Israeli stamped passports:
Arab/Muslim countries that DO NOT accept visitors with Israeli stamped passports:
For those of you with Israeli passports, the following list might be of interest.
Arab/Muslim countries that ALLOW entry for Israeli citizens:
Our hot tip for avoiding any future issues when visiting Arab countries: get a second passport. Americans should find this is easy to do: you will have to answer a questionnaire as to why you need it, but then you’ll get a passport valid for two years. So use this passport for visiting Israel and your regular passport for anywhere else in the world.
If a second passport is out of the question, when arriving in Israel ask the immigration clerk to issue the entry stamp on a separate piece of paper because you intend visiting Arab countries after your visit to Israel. It shouldn’t be a problem and has become standard practice for Israeli officials, who have become very familiar with the problem of travelers later visiting Arab countries. Apparently, if you have one of the new biometric passports, the Israeli officials have all your details on computer so won’t stamp your passport anyway.
Another hot tip: use Cyprus as your Middle Eastern gateway to Arab countries. Of course, immigration will know from which country (Cyprus) the plane has come from, but the plane before?
One last tip: always check with your embassy or tour operator about any visa restrictions. Things change all the time, so hopefully things will have changed for the better when you make your travel plans…
If you’re looking to visit Israel AFTER visiting/working in an Arab/Muslim country, check out our tips here.