Israeli passport

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Israeli passport
Israeli biometric passport.jpg
The front cover of a contemporary Israeli biometric passport issued since 2013.
Israel Biometric Passport.jpg
Front personal-information page of an Israeli biometric passport.
Issued by  Israel
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements Israeli citizenship
Expiration 10 years after issuance

The Israeli passport (Hebrew: דַּרְכּוֹןdarkon) is a travel document issued to Israeli citizens to enable them to travel outside of Israel,[1] and entitles the bearer to the protection of Israel's consular officials overseas.

Israeli citizens are allowed to hold passports of other countries, but are required to use the Israeli passport when entering and leaving Israel. This regulation was introduced officially in 2002, after having been legally contested on several occasions.


Israeli passports began to be issued in 1948, after the Israeli Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, and used Hebrew and French texts. At first they were not defined as a passport but as a travel document, this changed in 1952 when Israel began to introduce the first travel document as a passport, they began to be issued in 1953. The first travel document was issued to Golda Meir, who at the time worked for the Jewish Agency and was soon to become Israel's ambassador to the USSR.[2][3]

An example of Israel's first travel document, dating from December 1948.
Example of an early Israeli diplomatic passport, 1951
An example of an early Israeli service passport, 1951 for MK Dayan.
1950 Israel travel identity document issued to those lacking an official passport.

The first Israeli passports bore the limitation: "Valid to any country except Germany". An Israeli citizen who wished to visit Germany had to ask that the words "except Germany" be deleted from their passport. This was done manually by drawing a line through these words.[4] After the signing of the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany in 1952, the limitation was withdrawn and passports became "valid to all countries".

On 30 March 1980, new regulations issued by the Minister of the Interior required Israeli passports to use Hebrew and English, instead of Hebrew and French. Subsequently, French texts were replaced by English texts.

In 2006, an Israeli passport became accepted for identification in general elections. Until then, only an internal identity card was accepted for this purpose.

Denial or withdrawal of an Israeli passport is one of the sanctions an Israeli rabbinical court may use to enforce divorce upon a husband who chains his wife into marriage against her will (see agunah).

Since 2013, biometric passports are being introduced, in line with standards used by the United States, European Union and other countries. To obtain a biometric passport, "an applicant will have to appear in an Interior Ministry office to be photographed by the special camera which records information such as facial bone structure, distance between one's eyes, ears to eyes and ratio of facial features one from another. One will also be fingerprinted and all this information will be contained in the new high-tech electronic passport."[5]


Israeli passports are navy blue, with the Israeli emblem in the center of the front cover, below the words "State of Israel" in both Hebrew and English. The word "PASSPORT" is inscribed below the emblem, also in Hebrew and English. The inner pages are decorated with the Israeli emblem of olive branches and the seven-branched menorah. The regular passport contains 32 pages, and the business passport contains 64 pages.

Israeli passports are valid for up to 10 years for persons over the age of 18. They are bilingual, using Hebrew and English. Since Hebrew is written from right to left, the passports are opened from their right end and their pages are arranged from right to left. Arabic is not used in Israeli passports, even though it is one of the official languages of Israel, and is used in internal identity cards.

Identity information page[edit]

The front cover of a contemporary
Israeli not biometric ordinary passport (Corners of cover cut off —
the document revoked / cancelled)
Israeli not biometric ordinary passport
personal-information page
An Israeli entry stamp in an Israeli
not biometric ordinary passport

Israeli passport information appears on page 2, and includes the following:

  • Photo of passport holder on the left
  • Type (P)
  • Code of State (ISR)
  • Passport no.
  • Israeli ID no.
  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Place of birth
  • Date of issue
  • Date of expiry
  • Authority (- I.C. Passport at)
  • Signature of bearer (in biometric passport)

All information appears both in Hebrew and English. The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone. Signature of bearer is to follow on page 3 (in non-biometric passport).

Passport note[edit]

The statement in an Israeli passport declares in Hebrew (read from right to left) and English:

שר הפנים של מדינת ישראל מבקש בזה את כל הנוגעים בדבר להרשות לנושא דרכון זה לעבור ללא עכוב והפרעה ולהושיט לו במקרה הצורך את ההגנה והעזרה הדרושה

The Minister of the Interior of the State of Israel hereby requests all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford him such assistance and protection as may be necessary.

Travel document[edit]

Israel may issue a travel document (teudat ma'avar)[6] to a person who does not have an Israeli or foreign passport which allows the person to enter and leave the country, and to travel. It may be issued in the following circumstances:

  • to a non-citizen resident who does not have another passport, for example a stateless person.
  • to Israeli citizens in lieu of a passport, for example for those, who lost their passports overseas.
  • to foreigners (Tami"l) in the country to allow them to leave the country, for example in cases of foreigners who infiltrated to Israel and are deported, or foreigners who need to leave the country for any other reason and are unable to obtain a passport from another country.

Holders of a travel document may not be entitled to the same visa-free entry to certain countries as holders of a standard Israeli passport. The use of a travel document to leave Israel does not, of itself, entitle the holder to enter another country nor to return to Israel.

Travel document in lieu of passport[edit]

A travel document in lieu of passport (Teudat Ma'avar bimkom Darkon Leumi)[7] may be issued to an Israeli citizen in a number of circumstances:

  • in the first year after migration or have not settled in the country.
  • dual nationals and foreign residents.
  • Israeli citizens with criminal record.
  • Israeli citizens who have lost or destroyed over three passports.
  • Israeli citizens who are naturalized, received a passport but do not show an intention to settle in Israel.
  • Israeli citizens who have lost their passport during an overseas trip.
  • Israeli citizens who are returning to Israel by decision of the Israeli government.

They are normally valid for two years, and not for more than 5 years.

Travel document for foreigners[edit]

A travel document may be issued to Arab residents of East-Jerusalem who have neither Israeli nor Jordanian citizenship, and to non-Israeli Arab residents of the Golan Heights.

Visa requirements and limitations on passport use[edit]

Visa requirements[edit]

According to the Henley Visa Restrictions Index 2013, Israeli passport holders have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 144 countries and territories, ranking the Israeli passport 20th in terms of travel freedom.[8]

Limitations on use by Israel[edit]

Under Israeli law, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen are designated "enemy states" and an Israeli citizen may not visit them without a special permit issued by the Israeli Interior Ministry. An Israeli citizen who visits any of these countries, whether using an Israeli or foreign passport, may be prosecuted on their return to Israel. The original list was set in 1954, and was updated only once on 25 July 2007 to include Iran.[9]

A 2008 amendment to the Nationality Law of 1952 designated 9 countries which are considered an enemy of Israel: Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen as well as the Gaza Strip. Acquiring citizenship or establishing residency by an Israeli citizen in one of these countries can result in loss of citizenship.

Countries that do not accept Israeli passports[edit]

Sixteen countries refuse admission to Israeli passport holders:

In addition, Iran,[29] Kuwait,[30] Lebanon,[31] Libya,[32] Saudi Arabia,[33] Sudan,[34] Syria[35] and Yemen[36] do not allow entry to people with evidence of travel to Israel, or whose passports have either a used or an unused Israeli visa.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Embassy of Israel in the US. Consular Section
  2. ^ "Golda". The Emery/Weiner School. Archived from the original on July 2011. 
  3. ^ Pine, Dan. "Golda Meir’s life was devoted to building Zionism". San Francisco Jewish Community Publications Inc. Archived from the original on August 2012. Retrieved 2005-07-15. 
  4. ^ Amnon Dankner and David Tartakover, Where we were and what we did - an Israeli lexicon of the Fifties and the Sixties, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, p. 84 (in Hebrew).
  5. ^ The Yeshiva World » Israel Moving to Biometric Passport » Frum Jewish News
  6. ^ Israel Government Portal - Travel document (in Hebrew)
  7. ^ Israel Government Portal - Travel Document (in Hebrew)
  8. ^ Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2013
  9. ^ Israeli Book of Laws, volume 2109, page 463 [1] (in Hebrew)
  10. ^ Visa information: Algeria
  11. ^ Visa information: Bangladesh
  12. ^ Visa information: Brunei
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ Visa information: Iran
  15. ^ Visa information: Iraq
  16. ^ Visa information: Kuwait
  17. ^ Visa information: Lebanon
  18. ^ Visa information: Libya
  19. ^ Visa information: Malaysia
  20. ^ Visa information: Oman
  21. ^ Visa information: Pakistan
  22. ^ [3]
  23. ^ Visa information: Saudi Arabia
  24. ^ Visa information: Sudan
  25. ^ Visa information: Syria
  26. ^ Visa information: UAE
  27. ^ Jews of Yemen
  28. ^ Visa information: Yemen
  29. ^ "Travel Advice for Iran - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  30. ^ "Travel Report - Kuwait". 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  31. ^ Travel Advice for Lebanon - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Lebanese Ministry of Tourism
  32. ^ "Travel Advice for Libya - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  33. ^ Michael Freund, Canada defends Saudi policy of shunning tourists who visited Israel, 7 December 2008, Jerusalem Post
  34. ^ "Travel Advice for Sudan - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  35. ^ Travel Advice for Syria - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Syrian Ministry of Tourism
  36. ^ "Travel Advice for Yemen - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01.