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Eva Luna
06-30-2003, 10:05 AM
So I’m holding in my hand right now the passports for a Pakistani family, and they are inscribed with the endorsement “This passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel” (in English, French, and I presume Urdu). I’ve seen similar text in passports from other Muslim countries from time to time. (For those of you who don’t know what I do for a living, I’m drafting the paperwork to extend their visas; I didn’t just mug them and steal their documents.)

There must be Pakistanis, as well as nationals of other primarily Muslim countries, who travel to Israel from time to time. So how do they do it? Do they use some other document than a passport? Do the Israelis just blow off the endorsement when issuing visas, and consider it a diplomatic fiction? If a Pakistani does travel to Israel, are they screwed out of diplomatic representation if they need it, or does another country handle diplomatic issues for Pakistani nationals, similar to various arrangements the U.S. has set up in Cuba or Iran, for example? How does it all work?

WeRSauron
06-30-2003, 11:44 AM
From what I remember, people who live in Muslim countries travel to Israel via countries like Jordan and Egypt (Jordan being the most popular).

My father had to visit Israel a few times, and he'd travel to Amman, Jordan and drive from there into Israel. From what I recall, Israel can issue visas on a separate piece of paper that is submitted upon entry, and so there is no stamp in the passport or official record of the person having visited Israel. This may be urban legend, though. I'll ask my father and see what he did.

Oh, he had an American passport. What many Americans did who would visit Israel often but lived in a Muslim country (in most, you'd be denied entry if you had an Israeli visa or stamp in your passport) is that they'd have two American passports - one that they use for Israel, and the other for all else. Another way out is if one has two passports (American and Lebanese, American and Pakistani, etc.) - use American for Israeli visa, and the Asian passport for entry into Muslim countries.

I hope others who know better will chime in.

(By the way, despite not being Jewish, I was the token Zionist in my high school in Dubai. Scared the living daylights out of my teachers, who were scared I or the teachers might be deported at any moment. Funny thing is that Zionist websites were not blocked by the government's proxy.)

WRS

bugg
06-30-2003, 03:21 PM
Originally posted by Eva Luna

There must be Pakistanis, as well as nationals of other primarily Muslim countries, who travel to Israel from time to time. So how do they do it? Do they use some other document than a passport? Do the Israelis just blow off the endorsement when issuing visas, and consider it a diplomatic fiction? If a Pakistani does travel to Israel, are they screwed out of diplomatic representation if they need it, or does another country handle diplomatic issues for Pakistani nationals, similar to various arrangements the U.S. has set up in Cuba or Iran, for example? How does it all work?

Well, I've read an account of a Muslim Briton who entered Israel through Jordan, and she was able to get in without having her passport stamped. I know that you cannot get into Syria if you've visited Israel, and presumably avoiding getting it stamped gives you a chance of getting in. Pakistan, like many other Muslim nations, has not recognized Israel (although today and yesterday the news has suggested it may happen soon) and as such Pakistan has no diplomatic representation in Israel.

To be fair, if you're a Muslim and are arrested in Israel, you may be denied diplomatic representation even if it were available. There is an account of British Muslims who were detained after there was a suicide bombing by a British national in Israel. They were held in deplorable conditions for quite some time and denied access to the British consular. It's recent enough where a search on google news will turn it up.

Eva Luna
06-30-2003, 03:32 PM
Thanks for the interesting stories, but I’m especially looking for feedback on situations in which the person is only a citizen of a Muslim country whose passports are not valid for travel to Israel, and therefore does not have the ability to carry another passport and have it stamped (or not).

Will Israel issue a visa to such a person? If so, under what circumstances? For example, say a person is a Pakistani citizen, but a U.S. or Canadian permanent resident, would he/she be able to travel to Israel?

Eva Luna
07-01-2003, 07:47 AM
[bump]

I swear, sometimes I think I hold the record for GQ threads in which nobody knows the actual answer...

Collounsbury
07-01-2003, 08:53 AM
Well Eva, you've hit upon a rather technical subject.

First, Israel doesn't recognize the assertion that it doesn't exist, i.e. the Pakistani position expressed on the validity. As far as I know, if you can produce a valid reason and overcome security hurdles, you can enter Israel.

You can further ask both Jordanian (as noted Jordan is the preferred xfer point, rather more efficient, honest and accomodating than Egypt) and Israeli border control to stamp an attached sheet of paper rather than the actual passport. One has to take care on this insofar as an Israeli stamp or suspicion of an Israeli entry invalidates your travel documents in the view of Syria, Lebanon and several other Arab states. Syria in particular is a stickler on this, tedious corrupt bastards on the other hand can be bribed. Hell, one has to bribe the fuckers anyway. However, I do not recommend this.

There you have it. The real hurdle is the Israeli security clearance to get the visa. I do not believe such are border issuable (some nationalities are).

However, this situation should be reverified with the Israeli Embassy nearest you insofar as practices and policies are known to change, and insofar as I acq. the info second hand and may be dated.

Eva Luna
07-01-2003, 10:49 AM
Well, Collounsbury, I live for legalistic obscurities of this type; they make my day, and in most cases, my living. Thanks for the info; I suspected as much, but had never known anyone who’d tried. Luckily, in the case of my Pakistani family, there is no immediate need to know the answer; it’s just that reading the passport endorsement made me curious. Of course, if I ever had to know for sure, I’d get the info from the horse’s mouth.

Some countries are sticklers for passport validity issues when issuing visas; a poor Belarusian friend of mine was actually unable to see any of his family for a number of years, until he finally naturalized in the U.S., for this very reason. They couldn’t get exit visas from Belarus or entry visas to pretty much anywhere else. He left at a time when leaving meant renouncing one’s nationality (this is no longer the case), so that one was stateless until acquiring some other citizenship. He had to wait 5 years here before applying, and then they gave him the runaround on the “good moral character” issue for naturalization until he could prove he’d been paying child support to his son from a prior marriage in Minsk (he had, but not through official channels, as the government taxed wire transfers at something like 70%, so he did it through unofficial channels, making it exceedingly difficult to document). In the meantime, the U.S. was perfectly willing to issue him a Refugee Travel Document, and then later on a green card and a Reentry Permit, both of which technically should serve in lieu of a passport for visa issuance purposes, but the trouble is that many countries don’t understand these documents and refuse to issue visas. Finally his sister managed to get a passport, and they both got tourist visas for Costa Rica, the one country that would let them both in. And he finally naturalized a couple of years ago, so it’s not an issue anymore.

I knew about the concept of stamping the entry data on a removable sheet; actually, when I went to the Soviet Union the first time, in 1989, they did something similar. They even went so far as to hold onto your entry/exit sheet when you left, so that technically you’d have no proof that you were ever there. As a practical matter, does anyone know how much of a stickler Israel is about issuing visas to nationals of primarily Muslim countries, particularly ones who have not resided there in many years but haven’t acquired any other citizenship? I had a bitch of a time arguing with the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt a while back about issuing a visitor visa for an Iranian national who had lived in Germany since early childhood, but hadn’t managed to become a German citizen…I twisted their arms in the end, though!

WeRSauron
07-02-2003, 08:34 AM
Eva, whom do you work for? BCIS or State Department?

WRS

WeRSauron
07-02-2003, 09:13 AM
Um, ignore previous post. It would be nice if a moderator could delete this and previous post.

My bad.

WRS

WeRSauron
07-02-2003, 09:19 AM
Um, ignore previous post. It would be nice if a moderator could delete this and previous post.

My bad.

WRS

Eva Luna
07-02-2003, 09:52 AM
Huh? I work for a private law firm. I used to work for the Office of the Immigration Judge, which is part of the Justice Dept. but NOT part of the INS/BCIS. Lucky them: I believe they remained in Justice rather than becoming part of Homeland Security.