Ask Lonely Planet: Paperwork a tricky issue in Israel

3 comments
Visitors to Israel can be unwelcome elsewhere. Photo / Wikimedia Commons image posted by user David Shankbone
Visitors to Israel can be unwelcome elsewhere. Photo / Wikimedia Commons image posted by user David Shankbone

My boyfriend and I are heading to Egypt then into Israel and hopefully on to Turkey before heading to Italy to spend time with his family. But recently we have heard we cannot go into some countries after visiting Israel. We have heard the issue is having the Israel stamp on your passport and that they will sometimes just stamp a piece of paper for you instead. We both have NZ and European passports, so could we just use our New Zealand passport when going in and out of Israel?

- Lucy

Lonely Planet's Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater write:

Don't worry: all the countries you mention will allow you entry if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. You should also have no problem entering the Muslim countries of Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Oman and the UAE.

However, some nations may refuse you entry, including Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria. If you intend visiting any of these places, you need to make sure that you do not have any evidence of having travelled to Israel.

Israeli border guards will often stamp pieces of paper stapled to passports to try and overcome this problem, but eagle-eyed immigration officials might also scan for signs such as local currency and Jordanian and Egyptian exit stamps issued at the Israeli border.

As you both have two passports, you could get around this by only using one of them for your travel in and out of Israel, but make sure you use the one that is stated on your ticket or you might find you don't even get on the plane.

Road to the King

Suddenly single at age 64 and an avid Elvis Fan, I would love to fulfil my dream of visiting Graceland, but find the prospect of doing it all on my own rather daunting.

- Mary E. Elvin

Had Elvis not left the building, we're sure he'd love you tender for being such an avid fan. If you don't feel up to arranging the trip yourself, we suggest you head straight to your local travel agent.

Organising your own trip will save you money and allow greater flexibility, but the key is having access to the internet. Start with your flights. You need to get to LA, then pick up a connecting flight to Memphis via Houston or Dallas Forth Worth. You can shop around for deals online; we like hipmunk.com for its simplicity, and expedia.com and orbitz.com let you book hotel deals at the same time.

Graceland and Memphis are well set up for visitors with a range of tours. It pays to book in advance - see elvis.com (what else?). From downtown Memphis, you can either catch a cab or hop on the Number 43 bus. It's possible to combine your Graceland visit with a tour of Sun Studios (where the King was discovered) via a free shuttle which runs between the studio, Beale St and Graceland.

The South chapter of Lonely Planet's USA guidebook has tips for places to stay and eat, and easy-to-follow advice on getting around.

* Mary E. Elvin will receive a copy of Lonely Planet USA ($69.99) for her question.

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- NZ Herald

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