Immigration at TLV

Old Aug 6, 14, 12:57 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: BRU, DCA, ZRH, JNB, FRA
Programs: UA Global Services 2MM, DL 360, AmEx Cent, Bonvoy Titanium Lifetime, Moms love me
Posts: 5,049
Immigration at TLV

Kind of curious what sort of experiences people have had with immigration at TLV. Will be in Israel for the first time later this year for a week, and am wondering how much "trouble" to expect with a passport that contains (among others)

Tourist Visas/Stamps from: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, DR Congo

Business Visas from: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan

Diplomatic Visas from: Senegal, Russia, Nigeria

I'm fully prepared to have a "lengthy discussion" (and have all the documentation to back things up) but just curious how thorough Israeli immigration at TLV usually us.
ironmanjt is offline  
Old Aug 6, 14, 5:27 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Northern Nevada
Programs: DL,EK
Posts: 1,586
I am curious too. My stamps include Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Somaliland and most of the Gulf States. We were considering flying into Amman and going overland to avoid TLV. With the current situation in Israel, the trip is not likely to happen though.
DesertNomad is offline  
Old Aug 7, 14, 1:37 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 336
This topic has been discussed at length many times in the various travel forums. There have been countless reports by people with passport stamps similar to yours who entered Israel without any extensive questioning. My American cousin visiting last month - he went to Beirut first, then flew to TLV (via Istanbul), and went through Immigration in a minute. Since the border with Jordan opened 20 yrs ago thousands of tourists enter Israel every month after touring other countries in the Middle East. The only question is whether you are a legitimate tourist.
mbgg is offline  
Old Aug 7, 14, 5:15 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Programs: AF FB Gold, TK Elite
Posts: 274
Hi,
Indeed, I believe this is a topic often discussed on the forum. My general impression is that questioning is more thorough when you are leaving than when you are entering.
HasteFlier is offline  
Old Aug 7, 14, 7:22 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: NYC
Programs: DL DM
Posts: 3,755
Israel does not worry about profiling. The reality is if you are an Arab or a Muslim you should expect to be questioned more thoroughly.

At the end of, if you haven't done anything wrong, have valid reasons for visiting these places, and do not appear to be hiding something you will be allowed in
FlyAO2 is offline  
Old Aug 8, 14, 12:02 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 336
In summary, your fears are exaggerated - for almost all tourists questioning upon arrival at TLV is no different than other airports (and probably easier than in the US, judging from many reports on the forums). You may be asked a few questions that appear to be pointless and silly. Reply politely and honestly.
mbgg is offline  
Old Aug 8, 14, 2:31 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: HaMerkaz/Exit 145
Programs: UA, LY, BA, AA
Posts: 13,078
Just an additional point:

While I agree 100% with what mbgg said, just want to add that a bunch of the stamps you listed aren't even "problematic." Russia, Nigeria, etc. - these aren't even enemy states.

Diplomatic visas are also helpful.

All this being said, just echoing - be polite and honest. If you have nothing to hide (which I presume you don't), then you're fine.
joshwex90 is offline  
Old Aug 8, 14, 11:55 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: UA Premier 1K: PlAAtinum; DL SM, MM; Marriott Gold; CO Plat Emeritus; NW Plat Emeritus
Posts: 4,617
Echo what's said above -- be honest and serious and you'll be fine. I would arrive a bit early for departure flight though, since I would guess you'll get a few more questions.

But there's virtually no chance you'll be denied, either entering or leaving.

Why are there dip visas in private passport?
Alpha Golf is offline  
Old Aug 8, 14, 12:16 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: BRU, DCA, ZRH, JNB, FRA
Programs: UA Global Services 2MM, DL 360, AmEx Cent, Bonvoy Titanium Lifetime, Moms love me
Posts: 5,049
Originally Posted by Alpha Golf View Post
Why are there dip visas in private passport?
Combo of two reasons: 1) country wouldn't recognize the dip passport or 2) needing too many visas as once in a short period so having to spread across documents
ironmanjt is offline  
Old Aug 8, 14, 3:42 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 185
Perhaps my case is out of the norm, but out of several hundred arriving passengers at TLV, my wife and I (both U.S. citizens and professionals), along with three Palestinians, were pulled out of immigration lines. We were tourists, with confirmed hotels and outbound flights, but had the usual suspects in our passports (Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, etc.). We were subjected to several hours of amateurish questioning (e.g. we know you are here to contribute money to the PLO, we know you have an arrest record on the FBI database, tell us what your real reason for visiting Israel is, blah, blah, blah). Contact lens were dumped out of cases and lost, film confiscated, hairdryer dismantled and torn up, wife searched head to toe ostensibly for explosives, and luggage contents dumped onto a table. We finally got in, as I am sure you will, but we'll never return. Maybe we caught the TLV version of the TSA on a bad day.
RMC500 is offline  
Old Aug 8, 14, 7:39 pm
  #11  
Moderator: Travel Safety/Security, Travel Tools, California, Los Angeles; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: VNY | BUR | LAX
Programs: AAdvantage | MileagePlus
Posts: 12,674
Originally Posted by RMC500 View Post
Perhaps my case is out of the norm, but out of several hundred arriving passengers at TLV, my wife and I (both U.S. citizens and professionals), along with three Palestinians, were pulled out of immigration lines. We were tourists, with confirmed hotels and outbound flights, but had the usual suspects in our passports (Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, etc.). We were subjected to several hours of amateurish questioning (e.g. we know you are here to contribute money to the PLO, we know you have an arrest record on the FBI database, tell us what your real reason for visiting Israel is, blah, blah, blah). Contact lens were dumped out of cases and lost, film confiscated, hairdryer dismantled and torn up, wife searched head to toe ostensibly for explosives, and luggage contents dumped onto a table. We finally got in, as I am sure you will, but we'll never return. Maybe we caught the TLV version of the TSA on a bad day.
Unfortunately, your case is not out of the norm. You were treated the same as most Arab or Muslim travelers passing through Tel Aviv. The same treatment is also extended to people who visited suspect countries.

Even Donna Shalala, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary who is of Lebanese descent, was subjected to a two hours long detention and interrogation at Ben-Gurion Airport.
TWA884 is offline  
Old Aug 8, 14, 8:22 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: BRU, DCA, ZRH, JNB, FRA
Programs: UA Global Services 2MM, DL 360, AmEx Cent, Bonvoy Titanium Lifetime, Moms love me
Posts: 5,049
Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
Unfortunately, your case is not out of the norm. You were treated the same as most Arab or Muslim travelers passing through Tel Aviv. The same treatment is also extended to people who visited suspect countries.
Well, I'll be sure to report back in November....or maybe I should just get a new passport before then...
ironmanjt is offline  
Old Aug 9, 14, 4:29 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 336
Millions of tourists enter via the airport. A large number enter through Jordan:

Of the 3.5 million visitors [in 2013], about 2.6 million arrived by air (73%). Some 381,000 tourists came in through border crossings (11%)

Do you really think that all are questioned at length ?? Your fears are exaggerated.

Last edited by mbgg; Aug 9, 14 at 11:22 pm
mbgg is offline  
Old Aug 9, 14, 7:24 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Washington, D.C.
Programs: UA Premier 1K: PlAAtinum; DL SM, MM; Marriott Gold; CO Plat Emeritus; NW Plat Emeritus
Posts: 4,617
Originally Posted by ironmanjt View Post
needing too many visas as once in a short period so having to spread across documents
I'm surprised they do that. And that it took you so long to get to Israel.
Alpha Golf is offline  
Old Aug 10, 14, 1:32 am
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: HaMerkaz/Exit 145
Programs: UA, LY, BA, AA
Posts: 13,078
Originally Posted by RMC500 View Post
Perhaps my case is out of the norm, but out of several hundred arriving passengers at TLV, my wife and I (both U.S. citizens and professionals), along with three Palestinians, were pulled out of immigration lines. We were tourists, with confirmed hotels and outbound flights, but had the usual suspects in our passports (Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, etc.). We were subjected to several hours of amateurish questioning (e.g. we know you are here to contribute money to the PLO, we know you have an arrest record on the FBI database, tell us what your real reason for visiting Israel is, blah, blah, blah). Contact lens were dumped out of cases and lost, film confiscated, hairdryer dismantled and torn up, wife searched head to toe ostensibly for explosives, and luggage contents dumped onto a table. We finally got in, as I am sure you will, but we'll never return. Maybe we caught the TLV version of the TSA on a bad day.
Contrary to what a few others post ad nauseam on FT, your experience is out of the ordinary.
The truth is, anyone who has Palestinian citizenship/residency will have a harder time. This is based on legal issues between Israel and the PA, and whether or not people are happy with that - this isn't the place to debate it. But it's true, and that applies even to Americans of Palestinian descent.

However, simply having stamps isn't an issue for either passport control or security. More questions, sure. Hours and hours, humiliation (i.e. the horror stories that have been posted) - no.

Being Arab is another story. However, being Arab doesn't equate with hours and hours, side rooms, cameras broken, computers stolen, etc.
People who claim that don't seem to have an understanding of TLV. It is literally impossible for all non-Arabs to clear in such a quick time (I waited maybe 3 times in my entire life more than 10 minutes on the line as a whole) yet the Arabs ALL take hours (when they represent a decent minority percentage of flyers), when there are how many agents working passport control? It's Israel, so probably 2
joshwex90 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: