Entry requirements

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Visas

You do not need a visa to enter Israel as a tourist. On entry, visitors are granted leave to enter for a period of up to 3 months. In the past the Israeli immigration authorities stamped passports and on request agreed to stamp landing cards instead. Since January 2013 a pilot scheme has been introduced whereby visitors are given an entry card instead of an entry stamp on arrival. You should keep this card with your passport until you leave. This is evidence of your legal entry into Israel and may be required, particularly at any crossing points into the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

It is for the Israeli authorities to determine the right of entry into Israel, if you have any particular concerns about visas or entry into Israel, you should contact the Israeli Embassy in London. If you work in Israel without the proper authority, you can be detained and then deported, a process which could take several months. Consular staff will not be able to help you enter Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They are unable get involved in another country’s immigration policy or procedures.

At the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan, as well as at Ben Gurion Airport, Israeli border officials have on occasions used an entry stamp for certain travellers that states ‘Palestinian Authority only’ or ‘Judea and Samaria only’. Since travellers entering via the Allenby Bridge crossing must pass through Israeli checkpoints and Israeli-controlled territory to reach Jerusalem or Gaza, this restriction effectively limits travellers who receive this stamp. It is not clear how a traveller receiving the stamp at Ben Gurion Airport can leave the airport without violating the restriction. This stamp has been issued to travellers who have no Palestinian or other Arab ancestry, and who would not seem to have any claim to a Palestinian Authority ID.

Israeli border officials at Ben Gurion Airport have also at times required certain travellers to sign a form that states that he/she is not allowed to enter territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority unless he/she obtains advance authorisation from the Israeli ‘Territory Actions Co-ordinator’, and that violating this restriction may result in the traveller being deported from Israel and barred from entry for up to 10 years.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories unless the holder is a returning resident. However, ETDs are accepted for airside transit and exit from Israel.

Previous travel to other countries

Evidence of a previous visit to another country in the region like an entry/exit stamp in your passport does not normally prevent entry into Israel, although it may lead to additional questioning at the border. It is for the Israeli authorities to determine the right of entry into Israel, so if you have any particular concerns about previous travel to another country, you should contact the Israeli Embassy in London.

Customs and Immigration

You should expect lengthy personal questioning and baggage searches by security officials on arrival and departure from Israel. Electrical items, including laptops, may be taken from departing passengers for security inspection and either stored in the aircraft baggage hold, or returned to you in the UK. Damage may occur.

If you arrive with valuable personal items (computers, camcorders etc.) you may be required to pay a deposit that is refundable on or after departure.

Israeli security officials have on occasion requested access to travellers’ personal e-mail accounts or other social media accounts as a condition of entry.

Entering the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs)

Entry to the OPTs (including by sea to Gaza) is controlled by the Israeli authorities. You may be detained on arrival and deported if you are intending to enter Gaza without permission. If you’re entering the country for the purpose of working in the OPTs, you may be refused entry.

You must produce a passport and immigration slip, to cross between Israel and the OPTs.

For more information, contact the nearest Israeli Embassy.

Visiting Gaza

If you decide to visit Gaza against FCO advice, you will need to contact the relevant Israeli authorities well in advance. If your entry to Gaza is via the Rafah crossing, you will need to contact the relevant Egyptian authorities in advance. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is open on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays. The crossing is subject to regular closure for long periods of time.

British nationals of Palestinian origin

If you are a British national of Palestinian origin (on the Palestinian Population Register or holding a Palestinian ID number), you will need a Palestinian passport or travel document in order to leave. If you are a British national with a Palestinian name or place of birth but without a Palestinian ID number, you may face problems. A number of British nationals of Palestinian origin or British nationals married to Palestinians have been refused entry to the country.

Dual nationals

British-Palestinian dual nationals living in the West Bank and Gaza are allowed to travel abroad only via the Rafah or Allenby Bridge border crossings into Egypt or Jordan and return via the same route.

Children with Israeli parents (father and/or mother) are considered to be Israeli nationals. The Israeli Ministry of Interior insists that these children enter and leave Israel on an Israeli passport.