Israel - Israeli stamp in passport when entering Dubai UAE
Many people, and online sources, will say UAE visas (and entry to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or other UAE emirates) are not permitted for anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport. This may have been correct in the past, or it may be one of those official rules that no one takes any notice of, since there have been visitors that have entered the UAE despite having entry stamps from Israel in their passport. Or it might depend on the mood of the immigration official checking your passport and what he or she thinks of you and your mood or attitude.
Note that this information is specifically about Israeli stamps in your passport, and Israeli passports. There is no official restriction on entry to the UAE for anyone because they are Jewish, as far as we know.
- The website of the UAE Embassy in the UK (www.uaeembassyuk.net) says "Israeli stamps endorsement is not a problem for UAE entry".
- The US UAE Embassy website (www.uae-embassy.org) says "All Americans with a valid US passport are welcome to enter the UAE. This includes those with visa or entry stamps from other countries" (as of December 2008). Which might not refer to Israel since the UAE doesn't officially recognise Israel as a "country" as far as we know.
- Israeli citizens are normally denied visas to the UAE however, and entry might be denied to Israelis travelling on another passport, or other nationals who were born in Israel - check with the UAE immigration department or your nearest UAE embassy in that case.
- The Dubai Development & Investment Authority (DDIA) website said (in 2006) "Israeli' nationals will not be issued visas." But did not say anything about other nationals with Israeli stamps in their passports. Website no longer available.
- Although visa rules are federal, there appear to be differences in how they are applied in the different emirates. Dubai is generally perceived as being the most tolerant, and if you do have a evidence of a visit to Israel in your passport, try and enter the UAE in Dubai rather than other emirates. Abu Dhabi might be ok also, but Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah could be more difficult or inconsistent.
- For Israeli passport holders and citizens of Israel planning to be in transit through Dubai airport, Abu Dhabi airport, or any other UAE airport, it might be ok given that the traveller is not properly entering the UAE. The airline might have some idea, but to be sure, it would be best to contact a UAE embassy or immigration department, and even then, don't rely on their word 100%. Even if one Israeli traveller has successfully travelled through the UAE in transit, that doesn't mean the next one will. And no website or forum (including this one) can say definitely yes, or definitely no.
The SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) on 05 November 2012 had some comments about Israeli passport holders and stamps in other passports in a report about the proposed Emirates-Qantas codeshare agreement. The report said, in response to concerns voiced by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry about the alliance ...
- Qantas has sought to allay the concerns by assuring the Jewish community that Israeli passport holders can buy tickets for Emirates flights and transit Dubai without requiring a visa.
- The airline has also given assurances that anyone traveling on a non-Israeli passport but with a stamp indicating they have visited Israel will be able to enter Dubai.
Unknown how reliable this information is - the comment about Israel stamps is probably accurate, but as for Israeli passport holders transiting Dubai (entry is not permitted as far as we know), no official comment from the UAE or Dubai governments was found or supplied.
Israeli citizens visiting Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE
- Apr 2012 - A dozen or more Israeli cardiologists were invited to a World Heart Federation conference (World Congress of Cardiology 2012) held in Dubai from 18-21 April 2012, but were denied visas for the UAE. However, 2 invitees did apparently attend - one from the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, and the other from the Rabin Medical Center, but reportedly were restricted to staying in their hotel and attending the conference (Jerusalem Post 24 April 2012).
- Dec 2010 - An Israeli swimming team attended the 10th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championship held from 15-19 December 2010 at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, and the Israeli flag was displayed. A TV crew from Israel, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Israeli representative Alex Giladi, also apparently attended. News reports said there were some last minute delays before UAE visas were issued to the Israelis.
- Feb 2010 - Shahar Peer, a female tennis player from Israel, attended the February 2010 Dubai Tennis Championship and got as far as the quarter finals before being taken down by Serena Williams. Tennis matches with Ms Peer were played on the less accessible Court 1, not Center Court, for security reasons.
- On 20 January 2010, a Hamas leader,
Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, was allegedly murdered in the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai by Mossad (the Israeli secret service) agents. The Chief of Dubai Police, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, announced a list of suspects in the murder and said he was "almost certain" that Mossad was behind the attack. Interpol issued arrest warrants for the suspects. Lt Gen Dahi also said on 02 March 2010 that he wanted to issue arrest warrents for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, and
Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, if it was shown that they were behind the attack. The suspects entered the UAE on fake and/or stolen passports belonging to countries other than Israel, including Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, UK, but it was claimed they had dual nationality. Later reports (01 or 02 March 2010) quoted Lt Gen Dahi Tamim as saying "We will not allow those who hold Israeli passports into the UAE no matter what other passport they have," referring to potential future visits to the UAE by Israeli citizens attempting to enter the country on a different passport (if they have one).
- In January 2010, the Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Uzi Landau, attended the IRENA Preparatory Commission conference in Abu Dhabi. Mr Landau was reportedly the first Israeli Minister to visit the UAE.
- In October 2009, two Israeli delegates visited Abu Dhabi as part of the IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) Administrative Committee Meeting, and the Israeli flag was displayed at the conference (the first time it was displayed in the UAE apparently, other than on the ground during the occasional protest in the UAE against Israel's treatment of Palestinians). Abu Dhabi is the interim headquarters of the IRENA Agency. The Israeli delegation consisted of Simona Halperin, Director of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Human Rights and International Organizations, and Dr Avraham Arbiv from the Israel Ministry of Infrastructure.
- In February 2009, Shahar Peer, a female Israeli tennis player due to play in the WTA Dubai tennis tournament, was denied a visa. However, the possibility of Dubai having the tennis tournament taken away from them as a result of that decision, prompted Dubai to issue a visa to Andy Ram, a male Israeli tennis player in the men's tournament the following week. Following the 2009 tournament, the Dubai Tennis Open organisers were fined (US$300,000?), and were required to give an assurance that Shahar Peer would be issued a visa at least 10 weeks before the Dubai tournament started in 2010. As UAE visas normally only have an 8 week validity period before entry, it would be ironic if Ms Peer was issued a visa, then refused entry because it was out of date 10 weeks later.
- In September 2003, Israeli officials, headed by Minister Without Portfolio, Meir Sheetrit,
attended the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings held in Dubai.
Visiting Israel after a trip to Dubai
- There are no entry restrictions to Israel for visitors who have a visa stamp from Abu Dhabi, Dubai or anywhere else in the UAE, however on entry to Israel you might be questioned a bit more than if you had not been to the UAE.
- Note that there are no direct flights or travel connections between the UAE and Israel, as Israel is not recognized by the UAE. There are a number of airlines flying to Dubai that also have flights to Israel so you can connect easily with one of them.