advertisement

Passports

All travelers entering Israel, Jordan, or Sinai must present a valid passport with an expiration date not less than 6 months from the date of entry into those countries. Travelers from western Europe, Canada, the U.S., Australia, and South Africa will receive a visa upon entering Israel, Jordan, and Sinai; in order to enter all of Egypt (beyond Sinai) by land from Israel, you must have an All Egypt visa, obtainable ahead of time at any Egyptian embassy or consulate. Visas for Israel are usually given for 3 months and can be renewed inside Israel at the Ministry of Interior in Jerusalem. Visas for Jordan are usually given for 30 days. Sinai Only visas to Egypt are generally good for 14 days.

Note: Visas to Jordan are given on the spot at the Sheikh Hussein Crossing from northern Israel and at the Rabin Crossing from Eilat (southern Israel); however, you must obtain a visa in advance from a Jordanian embassy if you plan to enter Jordan via the Allenby-King Hussein Bridge in the West Bank.

Watch That Stamp! -- If you plan to visit Arab countries, ask for your visa stamp to be placed on a piece of paper separate from your passport when you enter Israel (if your passport is stamped by Israel, that stamp will close the doors to many Arab and Islamic countries for the duration of your passport). Israeli passport control personnel are accustomed to this request and in most cases will cooperate, but an occasional ill-tempered clerk may decide to make extra problems for you by stamping your passport. With political conditions the way they are, even in relatively friendly places such as Morocco, Egypt, or even Bali (a Hindu island in Muslim Indonesia), Israeli stamps in your passport could cause problems should you find yourself in a local police station, or when you show your passport in banks, hotels, or post offices.

Visas

Israel -- Visas are given free to U.S., U.K., and Canadian citizens, without prior application, when they enter Israel at Ben-Gurion or Eilat International airports and show passports that are valid for at least 6 months beyond the time of arrival. The tourist visa is good for 3 months and can be extended for another 3 consecutive months at any office of the Ministry of the Interior (you may be asked to prove you have adequate funding for your extended stay). For residents of New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland, visas are issued free upon entry and are valid for 3 months. To work, study, or settle in Israel, you need the proper permit before arrival. If you enter Israel at an overland crossing from either Egypt (Sinai) or Jordan, you may receive a visa valid only for 30 days.

Jordan -- Travelers from Israel crossing into Jordan can obtain visas for a fee at border crossings. Visas to Jordan are generally valid for 1 month. For those travelers planning to enter Jordan via the Allenby-Sheikh Hussein Bridge in the West Bank, a visa must be obtained in advance in your country of origin or at the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv, 14 Abba Hillel St., Ramat Gan (a suburb of Tel Aviv; tel. 03/751-7752). Travelers from Israel crossing into Jordan at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge in northern Israel (not to be confused with the Allenby-King Hussein Bridge in the West Bank), or the Rabin Crossing near Eilat will be issued visas at the crossing point.

Egypt -- "All Egypt" visas for travelers entering Egypt from Israel by land at the Taba Border Crossing must be obtained in advance through the Egyptian Embassy in your home country, or at the Egyptian Embassy, 18 Basel St., Tel Aviv (tel. 03/544-1615) or at the Egyptian Consulate in Eilat, 68 Hakfroni St. (tel. 08/637-6882). "Sinai Only" visas for travelers planning to visit only Sinai are issued on the spot at the Taba Crossing. For those who wish to visit the Ras Mohammed National Park (outstanding snorkeling and diving reefs) at Sharm ek Sheik, Sinai, the All Egypt visa is required.

Medical Requirements

Unless you're arriving from an area known to be suffering from an epidemic (particularly cholera or yellow fever), inoculations or vaccinations are not required for entry into Israel or Jordan.

Customs

What You Can Bring Into Israel -- You can bring $200 (£100) worth of tax-free gifts into the country. You can also bring in 250 grams of tobacco, one bottle (4/5 quart) of liquor, and a reasonable amount of film. When you leave you can convert up to $3,000 (£1,500) back into foreign currency at the airport, so keep your bank receipts.

What You Can Take Home From Israel -- Note that you cannot take antiquities or archaeological artifacts out of Israel unless you have a certificate identifying the object, which will be provided to you by any licensed antiquities dealer.

Canadian Citizens: For a clear summary of Canadian rules, write for the booklet I Declare, issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).

U.K. Citizens: For information, contact HM Customs & Excise at tel. 0845/010-9000 (from outside the U.K., tel. 020/8929-0152), or consult their website at www.hmce.gov.uk.

Australian Citizens: A helpful brochure available from Australian consulates or Customs offices is Know Before You Go. For more information, call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to www.customs.gov.au.

New Zealand Citizens: Most questions are answered in a free pamphlet available at New Zealand consulates and Customs offices: New Zealand Customs Guide for Travellers, Notice no. 4. For more information, contact New Zealand Customs, the Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (tel. 04/473-6099 or 0800/428-786; www.customs.govt.nz).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.