Foreign Office Travel Advice Israel: Security Landscape

Traveling to Israel can be a remarkable experience filled with rich history, diverse cultures, and breathtaking landscapes. However, it’s crucial to be well-informed about the country’s entry requirements and immigration policies before you embark on your journey. In this guide, we’ll delve into the essential details outlined in the Foreign Office Travel Advice Israel, covering everything from visa concerns to unique considerations for different types of travelers.

Navigating Entry Requirements and Immigration in Israel

All Travelers: Entry at the Discretion of Israeli Authorities

One fundamental principle for all travelers to Israel is that entry is ultimately at the discretion of the Israeli authorities. This means that even if you meet the general entry requirements, you could still face additional questioning or be denied entry based on the authorities’ judgment. If you have specific concerns about visas or entry into Israel, the best course of action is to get in touch with the Israeli embassy before your trip.

Working Without Proper Permissions: Detention and Deportation

Working in Israel without the appropriate permissions can lead to severe consequences. If you’re caught working illegally, you may be detained, and subsequently deported. This process can be lengthy, potentially taking several months to resolve. It’s important to note that consular staff cannot assist you in entering Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They do not have the authority to intervene in another country’s immigration policies or procedures.

Entry Card vs. Entry Stamp

Visitors entering Israel, particularly through Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, are typically given an entry card instead of an entry stamp in their passport. This practice is also observed at other entry points into the country. However, it’s essential to be aware that there have been instances where passports have been stamped for entry purposes. Therefore, you should always retain your entry card along with your passport.

This entry card serves as crucial evidence of your legal entry into Israel and may be required, especially when crossing into the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In rare cases where entry is denied, your passport may be stamped with an entry stamp marked with two red lines, indicating the refusal.

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Restrictions for Certain Travelers

At times, Israeli border officials have issued an entry stamp for specific travelers that restricts them to “Palestinian Authority only” or “Judea and Samaria only.” This restriction is particularly significant for those entering via the Allenby Bridge crossing or Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport. Travelers receiving this stamp are effectively limited in their movement within Israel and the OPTs.

For those entering via the Allenby Bridge crossing, where passage involves Israeli checkpoints and territory control, navigating these restrictions can be challenging. It may not be clear how a traveler receiving the stamp at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport can depart without violating the restriction. These stamps have been issued to travelers with no Palestinian or Arab ancestry and no apparent claim to a Palestinian Authority ID.

Impact of the 2017 Law: Boycott Restrictions

In March 2017, the Israeli Parliament passed a law that grants the authority to deny entry to foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel and/or settlements or belong to an organization advocating such boycotts. If you have concerns or questions about how this law may affect your entry into Israel, it is advisable to contact the Israeli embassy for further information.

Previous Travel to Other Countries: Additional Scrutiny

Evidence of previous travel to other countries in the region, such as entry/exit stamps in your passport, typically does not automatically prevent entry into Israel. However, it may result in additional questioning at the border. The Israeli authorities have the ultimate say regarding entry into the country, so if you have specific concerns about your travel history, it is recommended to reach out to the Israeli embassy for guidance.

Customs and Immigration Procedures

Upon arriving in Israel, travelers may experience extensive questioning and baggage searches conducted by security officials both during entry and departure. Some visitors, including those with Palestinian or Arab ancestry and evidence of previous travel that might be considered suspicious, may face longer periods of questioning and scrutiny.

While not a routine procedure, airside immigration officials may occasionally ask travelers to wait for further checks. In some cases, travelers have encountered delays lasting several hours. Israeli security officials have even requested access to travelers’ personal email accounts or other social media accounts as a condition of entry.

Foreign nationals can legally be refused entry into Israel if they have publicly advocated for a boycott of Israel and/or settlements or are affiliated with organizations that support such boycotts.

Refusal of Entry into Israel: A Rare Event

In the rare event that you are denied entry into Israel, a specific protocol is followed. You will be booked on the next available flight back to the port from which you entered Israel, using the same airline. Depending on the flight schedule, you may be taken to the Immigration Detention Centre, located a short distance from the airport. During your stay at the detention center, you will have access to a telephone, information in English, and medical assistance if needed.

It’s important to note that your luggage will remain at the airport, so if you have any urgent items, such as medication, you should inform the officials. While at the detention center, you can contact the Embassy for assistance. However, it’s crucial to understand that the Embassy cannot intervene in immigration decisions made by Israeli authorities.

Entering the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Controlled Access

Access to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including entry by sea to Gaza, is tightly controlled by the Israeli authorities. To cross between Israel and the OPTs, travelers must produce a passport and an Israeli immigration slip.

In October 2022, the Government of Israel introduced new requirements for foreign nationals entering and residing in the West Bank. Detailed information about these requirements and points of contact for inquiries can be found on the Israeli government’s official website.

Restrictions on Travelers to Palestinian Territories

At times, Israeli border officials at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport have required certain travelers to sign a form stating that they are not allowed to enter territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority. This restriction remains unless travelers obtain advance authorization from the Israeli ‘Territory Actions Co-ordinator.’ Violating this restriction can result in deportation from Israel and a subsequent ban on entry for up to 10 years.

Special Considerations for Gaza Entry

If you intend to enter Gaza without permission, you may face detention and deportation upon arrival in Israel. Additionally, if your purpose for entering Israel is to work in the OPTs, there is a possibility of being refused entry.

FCDO Support and Restrictions

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide support for individuals applying for entry or exit permits for Gaza. If you decide to visit Gaza despite FCDO advice, you must contact the relevant authorities well in advance. Moreover, the FCDO can no longer offer administrative support to UK charities seeking entry into Gaza via the Rafah crossing. The Rafah border often closes without warning and for extended periods, making entry and exit challenging. The Erez border, which can also close abruptly, may present similar difficulties.

Israeli Checkpoints and Closures

Israeli checkpoints may be closed during Israeli public holidays and periods of heightened instability. For the latest information on closures and other details, you can refer to the official website (subject to change). If you require additional information, consider contacting the nearest Israeli Embassy.

British Nationals of Palestinian Origin

British nationals of Palestinian origin may face specific challenges when traveling to Israel. Those on the Palestinian Population Register or holding a Palestinian ID number must possess a Palestinian passport or travel document to leave Gaza or the West Bank. British nationals with a Palestinian name or place of birth but lacking a Palestinian ID number may encounter difficulties. Several British nationals of Palestinian origin or those married to Palestinians have been refused entry into the country.

Dual Nationals: Special Considerations

British-Palestinian dual nationals residing in the West Bank and Gaza are permitted to travel abroad solely through the Allenby and Rafah border crossings with Jordan and Egypt, respectively. However, British/Palestinian dual nationals entering Gaza, against the travel advice, should check with relevant authorities regarding entry/exit procedures. Only a limited number of such dual nationals are allowed to enter and exit Gaza via Erez, including individuals with medical, humanitarian, or aid worker affiliations. The final decision on entry and exit permits via Erez rests solely with Israeli authorities.

Dual nationals should check with their nearest Israeli Embassy to determine whether pre-approval is required for travel to Israel. Dual nationals holding citizenship in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon have experienced restrictions in the past. Even if you are not a citizen of these countries but have close family ties, it is advisable to verify entry requirements with your nearest Israeli Embassy.

Children of Israeli Parents

Children born to Israeli parents (either father or mother) are considered Israeli nationals. The Israeli Ministry of Interior insists that these children enter and exit Israel using an Israeli passport.

As you plan your visit to Israel, it is essential to stay informed about the latest entry requirements, immigration procedures, and travel advisories. While these guidelines provide a comprehensive overview, conditions may change, so it is wise to check with relevant authorities or your nearest Israeli Embassy for the most up-to-date information. Traveling to Israel can be a rewarding experience, and being well-prepared ensures a smoother journey and a more enjoyable stay in this captivating country.

Security Landscape

Conflict in Southern Israel near Gaza

As of the latest update, a significant conflict is unfolding in southern Israel near the Gaza border. This conflict involves rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel and reports of armed terrorists in the vicinity. These terrorists have been involved in shooting incidents and hostage-taking in the areas around Gaza. Travelers are strongly advised to consult the Israeli Home Front Command for the most up-to-date information and contact 104 if you are already in Israel. Please follow the directives provided by local authorities if you find yourself in these conflict-prone zones.

State of Emergency and Border Closures

The Israeli government has declared a state of emergency within an 80-kilometer radius of the Gaza border. International borders, including airports and land crossings, may be subject to sudden closures. Therefore, it is essential to verify the status of your flight and consult your travel insurance provider before making any travel arrangements.


As you plan your visit to Israel, it is essential to stay informed about the latest entry requirements, immigration procedures, and travel advisories. While these guidelines provide a comprehensive overview, conditions may change, so it is wise to check with relevant authorities or your nearest Israeli Embassy for the most up-to-date information. Traveling to Israel can be a rewarding experience, and being well-prepared ensures a smoother journey and a more enjoyable stay in this captivating country.

Also Read: Unveiling the Epic Odyssey

Nyra Abigail

My Name is Nyra Abigail and in 2016, I made the decision to leave my traditional living situation and hit the road in a Dodge Ram Van. Since then, I've had the opportunity to camp in 48 states and hike in many of the United States' National Parks. My mission is to inspire and assist others in living an adventurous lifestyle, whether that be through van life or RV living. We provide a comprehensive resource to help guide and support individuals on their own journeys of discovery.

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