Travelers visiting Arab countries like Saudi Arabia frequently ask about getting a stamp in their passport from Israel. However, what is often unsure is if this will prevent entry to the country.
The historic tension between Israel and the Arab world has resulted in various Arab and Muslim countries taking an anti-Israel stance in their immigration policies. Some countries do not permit Israeli citizens to enter, while others take it even further and deny entry to anyone who has done so much as visit Israel.
To better prepare for a trip to the Middle East, this article helps to answer the question of what Saudi Arabia’s policy on visitors who have previously visited Israel is.
Israeli Passport Stamps
Israel used to stamp all passports presented by travelers entering the country by land or air. However, due to the policy of various Arab countries in denying access to people who have been to the country, Israel no longer stamps passports at airports or land borders.
Instead, they provide a separate card with the traveler’s personal information, which is stamped instead. This card must be requested at some border control points to avoid a stamp.
However, one potential problem is when travelers cross the border from Israel into Jordan or Egypt, since these countries will stamp passports. This is evidence that the visitor has previously been to Israel, which could mean they will be denied entry into certain Arab countries.
Can You Go to Saudi Arabia With an Israeli Stamp in Your Passport?
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in Western Asia and the second-largest in the Arab world. Its economy is the biggest in the Middle East and in addition to being a global power, its historical and religious sites make it the 19th-most-visited country in the world.
In the past, Saudi Arabia refused to permit entry to travelers whose passports or luggage showed signs of having been to Israel. This included:
- Israeli passport stamps
- Tags on baggage from Israeli airports
- Passport stamps from countries bordering Israel (such as Jordan and Egypt), which could have only come from having crossed the Israeli border
Since September 2019, when the Saudi Arabia eVisa was introduced, this policy has changed.
Travelers who have been to Israel before and wish to go to Saudi Arabia should no longer worry. Saudi Arabia now allows travelers to enter if they have previously visited Israel and have a stamp in their passport.
What Countries Can You Not Visit After Going to Israel?
Various Arab and Muslim countries refuse to allow travelers with passports bearing Israeli stamps (or other evidence of a visit to Israel) to enter due to ongoing disputes and poor diplomatic relations with the country.
Until recently, Saudi Arabia was one of these countries. However, since the introduction of the Saudi Arabia eVisa, visitors who have previously visited Israel can now enter the state.
Travelers whose passports bear Israeli stamps cannot enter the following Arab-speaking and Muslim countries:
On the other hand, travelers with Israeli stamped passports are permitted to visit the following Arab and Muslim countries:
- Saudi Arabia (since the introduction of the e-visa in September 2019)
- United Arab Emirates
Can Israeli Citizens Travel to Saudi Arabia?
While restrictions have been relaxed for nationals of third countries who have visited Israel previously, Israeli citizens themselves are currently prohibited from entering Saudi Arabia.
International relations between Israel and various Arab countries have been tense since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. Relations with some Arab countries have eased, and the following sovereign states allow Israeli citizens to visit:
Saudi Arabia does not have any official diplomatic relations with Israel. It does not recognize Israel as a sovereign state and does not accept the validity of Israeli passports.
However, now that it has started to permit travelers who have previously visited Israel to enter, this could signal the beginning of a change in policies. Some reports suggest that Saudi Arabia may soon open its doors to at least Israeli Arabs. In the future, it is possible that all Israeli citizens will be able to visit.
Entering Saudi Arabia With an Israeli Stamp
International travelers are now able to visit Saudi Arabia with an Israeli stamp in their passport as long as they have the following documentation:
- A valid passport from a country whose citizens are permitted to enter Saudi Arabia
- A valid Saudi Arabia visa or electronic visa (eVisa)
The exceptions to this are citizens of the following countries, who enjoy freedom of movement to Saudi Arabia and may enter visa-free with a national ID card:
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Nationals of many countries, including EU citizens, and citizens of the US, Canada, China, and Australia, among others, are eligible to obtain an electronic visa. Check the entry requirements for the Saudi Arabia eVisa.
Individuals with Israeli stamps in their passports are welcome to fill out the online application for the Saudi Arabia eVisa, which streamlines the process of obtaining the visa, and they shouldn’t experience any problems on their journey to Saudi Arabia.