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Palestinian National Authority travel guide

About Palestinian National Authority

With fertile river plains and scrubby desert, Mediterranean olive groves and many historical marvels, Palestine has plenty to offer. Sadly, war and outbreaks of violence have badly damaged the appeal of this hotly contested land. But despite the widely held perception, Palestine is not a tourist-free zone, with more than two million travellers arriving each year.

The bulk of tourists head for Bethlehem, largely through organised tours from Jerusalem. The main attraction is the Church of the Nativity, thought to mark the spot where Jesus Christ was born. There’s also the winding Star Street, believed to be the path Mary and Joseph took on entering the city.

Far from just a pilgrimage site, Bethlehem is fascinating for what remains of the ancient biblical town, as well as its little medina-style streets and bustling market. Foreign investment is trickling through the city, which isn’t as down-at-heel as many expect, with a few museums now open and lots of shops.

Adventurous tourists head for the Separation Barrier, just outside Bethlehem; apart from dividing Israeli and Palestinian territories, the wall is covered in spectacular graffiti by local and international artists including Banksy.

At present, the majority of tourists stick to Bethlehem. But Hebron in the southern West Bank is the largest city in the territory and essential viewing, not least for its fabled souks. The ancient city of Jericho is also attractive for its garden restaurants and stunning Hisham Palace, while Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, is interesting for its lively energy and ubiquitous cafés.

Travel to Gaza, a densely populated slither of coastal land bordering Egypt and separated from the rest of Palestine by Israel, is nearly impossible – especially after the devastating 2014 conflict. But the West Bank remains surprisingly accessible, and while travel advice should be heeded, it is relatively safe.

Key facts

Area:

6,335 sq km (2,446 sq miles) made up of the West Bank territories, 5,970 sq km (2,305 sq miles) and the Gaza Strip, 365 sq km (141 sq miles).

Population:

4.7 million (2015).

Population density:

734.7 per sq km.

Capital:

Ramallah. (Intended seat of government: East Jerusalem.)

Government:

Parliamentary Republic.

Head of state:

President Mahmoud Abbas since 2005.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah since 2013.

Travel Advice

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and against all travel to the following locations:

  • Gaza
  • the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem and Route 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
  • within 5km of the border with Lebanon. The Israeli military has announced that the area is a closed military zone and entry into the area is prohibited
  • the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar
  • within 500m of the border with Syria (the ‘Alpha Line’)
  • the area close to the border with Gaza that includes:
    • southwest of Ashkelon
    • south of route 35 and west of route 40 as far as Tlalim, not including Be’er Sheva
    • west of Be’er Sheva
    • north of route 211
  • recently evacuated communities in northern Israel:
    • Beit Hillel  
    • Dan 
    • Eilon  
    • Even Menachem 
    • Goren 
    • Granot Ha’Galil 
    • HaGoshrim 
    • Liman 
    • Matsuva 
    • Ramot Naftali  
    • Sasa 
    • She’ar Yeshuv 
    • Snir 
    • Tzivon

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

Register your presence

If you are in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Gaza, you are advised to register your presence with the FCDO. We can then share important updates, including information to support you to leave the country. Fill in the form for every member of your family or group who is a British national.

Conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

There was a large scale terrorist attack by Hamas in southern Israel. Hamas continues to launch rockets into Israel.

There have also been Israeli air strikes into Gaza. The Israeli military announced on 13 October that the entire population of Gaza north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to southern Gaza within the next 24 hours.

As of 27 October, Israeli Defence Forces have significantly expanded operations.

You should be aware of a potential increase in rocket attacks and other incidents of violence across Israel and the OPTs, including the West Bank, and Eilat and the Red Sea area. We recognise this a fast-moving situation that poses significant risks. The situation has potential to deteriorate quickly and without warning. This could disrupt air and road links out of the country. If your reason to remain in Israel and the OPTs is not essential you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.

If you are in an area affected by the fighting, follow the instructions of Israeli Home Front Command. To find these:

The Israeli government has declared a state of emergency across the whole country. International borders (air and land) in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) could close at short notice. You should check our Travel Advice for any neighbouring country that you are planning to travel to or through.

Before travelling within Israel/OPTs you should check the local measures in place, that roads are open and, where appropriate, that scheduled train and bus services are operating before you travel.

Due to the security situation, some family members of staff at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and British Consulate in Jerusalem have been temporarily withdrawn. The Embassy and Consulate continue with essential work including services to British nationals.

Monitor this travel advice and other media as the situation is changing fast. Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

Read FCDO advice if you’re affected by a crisis abroad.

Assisted departure

The booking portal for HMG assisted flights from Ben Gurion Airport has now closed.  Commercial International flights continue to operate from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and Ramon Airport in Eilat but are limited and may be cancelled at short notice.

Travel within or out of Israel or the OPTs is at your own risk.  You are encouraged to follow the advice of local authorities, for example on which routes are open or when to take shelter, and monitor this Travel Advice, which is regularly updated. Register your presence to receive important updates, including information on support to leave the country.

Travelling to Egypt from Gaza 

The Rafah border crossing partially opened on 1 November. This is primarily to facilitate the evacuation of seriously wounded Palestinians and some foreign nationals. We understand that the crossing will continue to be open for controlled and time-limited periods to allow specific groups of foreign nationals, including British nationals, to cross. It is for the Egyptian and Israeli authorities to determine who is permitted to cross, and when. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will contact Embassies to let them know when their foreign nationals can cross. Should we receive notification from the Israeli and Egyptian authorities that individuals are permitted to cross, we will notify those people individually.

Movement to the Rafah crossing and beyond is at your own risk. You should only travel if you judge it is safe to do so. Check the Egypt travel advice. Register your presence to receive important updates, including information on support to leave the country.

Help and support in Israel and the OPTs

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Help from FCDO in Israel and the OPTs

If you need consular assistance call:

  • +44 176 766 7600 (UK number)
  • +972 (0)3 725 1222
  • +972 (0)2 541 4100

Help from other organisations  

Keep up to date with local travel advice through local news outlets and international outlets like the Access Coordination Unit.

Concern for friends and family

If you are in the UK and concerned about a friend or family member who is in Israel or the OPTs call FCDO on 0176 766 7600.

About FCDO travel advice  

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Israel on the TravelHealthPro website and for the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories

There are public transport services (bus, train) to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, and local taxis and minicabs can be arranged.

Information on the current requirements when travelling in Israel can be found on Israel’s Ministry of Health website.

On 5 March 2020 the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced a state of emergency related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While some restrictions have been removed, the state of emergency remains in place. You should follow local announcements for any changes to restrictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and confirm any travel arrangements or hotel bookings before moving around the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Public places and services

Information on COVID-19 regulations for public places and services in Israel can be found on Israel’s Ministry of Health website.

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories most COVID-19 restrictions have been removed. You should check with your travel and accommodation provider for information on the latest regulations.

Healthcare in Israel

You should follow the guidance from Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Authority, and be alert to local changes.

For contact details of English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should call the Ministry of Health hotline on *5400 (when you hear the Hebrew message dial 2, 1, 2). After a short assessment you will be forwarded to a designated Magen David Adom (MDA) unit. MDA will coordinate a testing location with you. Results for foreign nationals will be sent to the nearest Ministry of Health Unit. You should take note of how your name is spelt in Hebrew in the system as this will help with tracking results.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Israel.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

Further information on local guidance can be found on Israel’s Ministry of Health website and the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health’s Facebook page (in Arabic).

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

There is currently a large-scale conflict happening in areas of southern Israel close to the border with Gaza. See Summary page for more information, including information for British nationals who are in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Keep up to date with local travel advice via local news outlets and international outlets like the Access Coordination Unit

Israel has responded with air strikes into Gaza. Make sure you know the safety actions that you should take if an Israeli warning siren sounds, follow advice from local authorities and stay informed of the security situation through the media and this travel advice. No warning sirens will sound inside Gaza. See Gaza

We advise against all travel to the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem and Route 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There is a risk of violent incidents, including stabbings, shootings, arson, vehicle rammings and stone throwing attacks on people and vehicles. These incidents have involved protestors (both Israelis and Palestinians), Israeli security forces, and civilians (including Israeli settlers). There is a risk that bystanders could be caught up in any of these types of incident.

There have also been large political demonstrations across Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which have the potential to escalate and become violent. Entry/exit to Ben Gurion Airport has occasionally been impacted during political demonstrations. Check the local news to see if there have been recent clashes, be vigilant, avoid any large gatherings or demonstrations, avoid areas which have been the site of recent violence and follow the instructions of the local authorities. If you are in a location where an Israeli security operation or armed clashes are ongoing, you should stay inside and wait for the local authorities to confirm that the situation is calm before moving to a different location.

Incidents have occurred in Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva, Hadera, Jerusalem and the Old City (particularly at and around Damascus Gate, Herod’s gate, Lion’s Gate and the Chain Gate), Nablus, Jenin, Hebron, the Jordan Valley, at Israeli checkpoints, near settlement outposts, and around Palestinian refugee camps. Hebron and Palestinian refugee camps have previously been the site of violent clashes, settlements and settlement outposts have been the site of recent violent incidents (e.g near Beit El, Homesh, Shilo, Evyatar, etc).  

These incidents have also occurred along Route 60 (especially junctions near Nablus), Route 443 and other West Bank arterial roads used by both Palestinians and Israelis.

There is a risk of increased tension around Jewish high holidays (Passover, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succoth), during Ramadan, in particular Laylat Al Qadr (dates vary), Thursday evenings, after Friday prayers, Saturday evenings and on other religious holidays and anniversaries. This is heightened when different religious or national holidays overlap. Independence Day (14 May, Hebrew calendar dates vary), Jerusalem Day (date varies), Land Day (30 March) and Nakba Day (15 May) may be tense. Demonstrations and other forms of civil unrest can occur at short notice and often turn violent. You should exercise extreme caution: follow local media and this travel advice and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings. See Safety and security.

There are significant tensions between Israel, and the Assad regime and Iranian military forces in Syria. The situation remains fragile, with attempted and actual military exchanges either side of the border. If travelling in the area remain vigilant, follow advice from local authorities and stay informed of the security situation through the media and this travel advice.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Local travel

Jerusalem

There are frequent demonstrations in many of the areas of the city visited by tourists including in and around the Old City (particularly at and around Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate, Lion’s Gate and the Chain Gate), especially after Friday prayers. Some of these protests have led to violent clashes. Stay alert at all times in the Old City and leave the area if there is evidence of tension or unrest (for example if the shops in the souks suddenly begin to close their shutters). The entrances to the Old City may be subject to checks or closures.

Street protests and demonstrations can also occur elsewhere in East Jerusalem. You should be vigilant, exercise caution, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow instructions of local authorities. You should check the local news in advance and avoid areas which have been the site of recent clashes or violence.

There have been a number of violent incidents including terrorist attacks on public transport and near public transport lines in Jerusalem. Take extra care when using public transport in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv

Take extra care when using public transport in Tel Aviv, in particular at transport hubs, and when using buses in the greater Tel Aviv area. You may wish to consider using other forms of transport.

There have also been large political demonstrations across Israel, including in Tel Aviv. Entry/exit to Ben Gurion airport has occasionally been impacted. You should check the local news before travelling.

Wider Israel

Terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in Israel.

Gaza

The FCDO advises against all travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza). You should not approach the perimeter fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.

The FCDO can no longer offer routine consular assistance in Gaza. If you travel to Gaza you should review your security arrangements regularly. Protests may occur in central Gaza City and along the perimeter fence with Israel. You should exercise extreme caution and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings.

The border crossings with Israel (Erez) and Egypt (Rafah) may close with no advance notice. Check the status of the Rafah crossing into Egypt before you travel. Movement to the Rafah crossing and beyond is at your own risk.

During periods of conflict between the de facto Hamas authorities and the Israeli government, the Israeli Air Forces may launch air strikes against targets inside Gaza. There will be no warning siren inside Gaza and there are no official air raid shelters. You should take advice from locals about the safest place to shelter.

The FCDO is not able to support individuals applying for entry or exit permits for Gaza. See Entering the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The FCDO recognises the need for major international organisations to carry out humanitarian and reconstruction work and to engage in independent reporting and verification of the situation on the ground in Gaza. Medical and other essential specialist staff should co-ordinate their entry to and exit from Gaza with those organisations.

Do not attempt to enter Gaza by sea, including via a flotilla. The Israeli Navy routinely patrols the area and have made clear that it will prevent any vessels attempting to breach the restrictions. You will be detained and deported, and your electronic equipment is likely to be confiscated. The FCDO does not believe that humanitarian supplies should be delivered in this way. Anyone wishing to send humanitarian assistance or other goods to Gaza should do so through established channels.

Occupied Golan Heights

The FCDO advises against all travel within 500m of the border with Syria (the ‘Alpha Line’).

While the risks have decreased since Syrian Golan became more stable in 2018, rocket attacks and sporadic gunfire have occurred in northern Israel without warning since 2012. There is also a risk of falling debris from Israeli and Syrian air-defence systems.

Land mines have also been planted in lots of places across the Occupied Golan Heights, including near to populated areas and roads. These areas are usually marked, and are often fenced off. Follow established roads and paths, and do not hike off trail. If you are travelling in the region, follow advice from local law enforcement.

Border with Lebanon

The FCDO advises against all travel within 5km of the border with Lebanon. The Israeli military have announced that the area is a closed military zone and entry into the area is prohibited.

The FCDO advises against all travel to the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar and within 500m of the border with Lebanon (the ‘Blue Line’) east of Metula, including the northern edge of the town. If travelling near areas of military operation, adhere to all Israeli official instructions.

The situation on the ground could change quickly. On 7 April 2023, Israel carried out strikes against targets in southern Lebanon in response to rockets launched on 6 April 2023 from southern Lebanon into Israel. On 20 July 2020 there was an exchange of fire between the militant group Hizballah and the Israeli Defence Force across the Blue Line. You should keep up to date with the news and this travel advice while travelling.

Border with Egypt

The security situation on the border with Egypt remains volatile. Take extra care and be vigilant when using Route 10 which runs along the Israeli border with Egypt and is subject to closures by the Israeli authorities. You may wish to consider using other routes.

There are frequent clashes between Israeli Security Forces and Palestinians in these areas and violent incidents can occur without warning.

West Bank

The FCDO advises against all travel to the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. There has been a heightened state of tension and violent clashes resulting in deaths in the West Bank since the outbreak of conflict on 7 October. .

 There are road closures and numerous checkpoints across the West Bank. Travel in and out of the West Bank is not possible without passing through at least one Israeli military checkpoint. You will need a passport and immigration slip to go through these checkpoints. Checkpoints may be closed during Israeli public holidays and periods of increased instability. Please refer to the Access Coordination Unit for information (which is subject to change).

The Israeli authorities sometimes restrict movement in and out of the West Bank, either on Jewish High Holidays, Israeli national holidays or as a result of a security incident. This doesn’t normally affect foreign nationals, but would affect dual Palestinian-British nationals. Road closures can occur with little notice. Keep up to date with local travel updates.

The cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jericho see large numbers of tourists including on organised tours and there have been no recent reports of any serious incidents involving foreigners. However, take care when travelling anywhere in the West Bank.

There is a risk of violent incidents, including stabbings, shootings, arson, vehicle rammings and stone throwing attacks on people and vehicles. These incidents have involved protestors (both Israelis and Palestinians), Israeli security forces and Israeli settlers. Check the local news before travelling to see if there have been recent clashes and avoid areas which have been the site of recent violence. If you are in a location where an Israeli security operation or armed clashes are ongoing, stay inside and wait for the local authorities to confirm that the situation is calm before moving to a different location.

These incidents have occurred in Nablus, Jenin, Hebron, at Israeli checkpoints, around Palestinian refugee camps and along Route 60 (especially the junctions near Nablus), Route 443 and other West Bank arterial roads used by both Palestinians and Israelis. Be vigilant, exercise caution, avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow instructions of local authorities. Check the local news in advance and avoid travelling to areas which have been the site of recent violence. Exercise extreme caution when driving on these routes, particularly at night.

Israelis living in the illegal settlements in the West Bank occasionally organise demonstrations in the West Bank which sometimes turn violent. There are also a number of reports of settlers threatening those travelling near to settlements and settlement outposts. Take particular care if you are near settlements, including those in the hills around Nablus and in the South Hebron hills and settlement outposts (e.g near Beit El, Homesh, Shilo, Evyatar, etc). There is a closed military zone in the H2 area of Hebron (around Ash-Shuhada Street and the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs), where there is a risk of a hostile reaction from members of extremist groups.

Due to a significant number of road traffic accidents involving taxis in the West Bank, you’re advised not to use them where possible. Avoid using buses on the West Bank and keep in mind the difficulties and risks associated with travelling between Jerusalem/Ramallah via checkpoints and the risks associated with travelling along Route 60 (especially the junctions near Nablus), Route 443 and other West Bank arterial roads used by both Palestinians and Israelis.

Due to restrictions on travel, the ability of the FCDO to provide consular assistance in the West Bank may be limited. The FCDO recommends all British nationals in Israel and the OPTs register their presence.

Crime

Most visits to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are trouble-free, but the theft of passports, credit cards, and valuables from public beaches is common. Keep your personal belongings in a safe place.

Crime is generally not a problem in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but you should take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

Passport security

A Serious Organised Crime Agency investigation into the misuse of UK passports in the murder of Mahmud al-Mabhuh in Dubai in January 2010 found circumstantial evidence of Israeli involvement in the fraudulent use of British passports. This has raised the possibility that your passport details could be captured for improper uses while your passport is out of your control. The risk applies in particular to passports without biometric security features. Only hand your passport over to others (including Israeli officials) when absolutely necessary.

Road travel

A green card is proof that you have vehicle insurance when driving abroad. You need to carry a green card to prove you have the minimum insurance cover in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Driving is erratic, maintenance of public buses is variable, and there are frequent accidents. Radar speed traps operate on roads within Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories, and fines for speeding are high.

If you intend to drive in the West Bank, check that you are insured before setting out. It may be easier to arrange West Bank insurance at a hire company in East Jerusalem than from the major hire car companies in Israel.

It is not safe to hitchhike in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.

If you’re travelling to the desert, go with others, take a supply of water and a mobile phone, and let someone know your itinerary and expected time of return.

In 2019 there were 355 road deaths in the Israel (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 3.9 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

Our advice against all travel to the West Bank does not apply to Route 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

There was a large scale terrorist attack by Hamas into southern Israel on 7 October 2023. Hamas continues to launch rockets into Israel. There are ongoing Israeli air strikes into Gaza.

Terrorist attacks in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are very likely to continue with an increased threat of attacks, including by individuals acting alone.

Any attacks could be indiscriminate, including places visited by foreigners such as:

  • the Old City in Jerusalem
  • government, military and police installations
  • security personnel including military and police
  • transport networks
  • businesses with Western interests
  • crowded places

Areas where foreign nationals and tourists are known to gather may be at higher risk of attack. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Examples of recent significant attacks include:

In 2023:

  • 2 people were killed and one  injured during a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley
  • one person was killed and 6 people  injured during a car-ramming incident in Tel Aviv
  • one person was killed and 3 people injured in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv
  • 7 people were killed and 3 injured during a shooting attack in Neve Yaakov, East Jerusalem

In 2022:

  • 2 people were killed and 22 people injured during 2 explosions in West Jerusalem
  • 3 people were killed and 4 injured during a stabbing attack
  • 2 Israelis were killed and 10 injured during a shooting attack in Tel Aviv
  • 5 Israelis were killed in a terrorist shooting incident in Bne Brak
  • 2 Israelis were killed and 4 injured in a terrorist shooting incident in Hadera
  • 4 people were killed and 2 others injured in a ramming and stabbing incident in Ber Sheva

Terrorist kidnap

Terrorist kidnap is a risk in Gaza and along the border with Egypt. There is a large-scale conflict happening in areas of southern Israel close to the border with Gaza and Hamas has reportedly taken hostages across the border and into the Gaza.

British nationals are seen as legitimate targets, including tourists, humanitarian aid workers, journalists and business travellers. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to protect you or secure your safe release. 

The long-standing policy of the British government policy is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

You should dress modestly – covering your shoulders, upper arms and legs above the knee - in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Local residents in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods such as Bnei Brak, Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit, Beit Shemesh and Safed can react strongly to anyone (particularly women) dressed inappropriately. You can find locations of ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods and towns in travel guides and online.

Avoid driving into ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas of Jerusalem on Shabbat (from sunset on Friday to nightfall (approximately 1 hour after sunset) on Saturday). If you attempt to drive into these areas local residents may throw stones at your car.

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims (though not for children under the age of 8). Although alcohol will be available in some hotels and restaurants, drinking alcohol elsewhere may cause offence. As a courtesy, you should avoid drinking, eating, and smoking in public places in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during Ramadan. Ramadan dates vary each year, you can look them up online. See Travelling during Ramadan

Be sensitive about taking pictures of people in Muslim and Orthodox Jewish areas. Don’t take photographs of military or police personnel or installations.

Carry identification with you at all times (for example a photocopy of the personal details and entry stamp pages of your passport).

The penalties for smuggling and trafficking in illegal drugs are severe. Those caught in possession can expect a prison sentence.

Israeli law does not criminalise same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in the West Bank but is illegal in Gaza, where it carries a 10 year prison sentence. Attitudes towards LGBT issues within some parts of Palestinian and Israeli society can be hostile. All public displays of affection, regardless of the gender or sexuality of those involved, may attract negative attention on the West Bank in more conservative Israeli areas, including ultra-Orthodox communities. Homosexuality is largely taboo in Palestinian society.

Some Palestinian groups may violently oppose events, cultural events and demonstrations, which they consider to be inconsistent with their own values. This includes those perceived to be linked to the LGBT+ community, even if the event is not intended to promote LGBT+ rights. In these cases, the Palestinian security forces and police may not always act effectively to protect participants. You should be aware of these risks. You should liaise with the local authorities before planning or organising any event.

Tel Aviv has a large, active LGBT community and is famous for its annual Pride Parade. An annual Pride Parade is also held in Jerusalem, but there has been a heavy security presence at the event since a fatal stabbing occurred during the 2015 parade. You should exercise extra vigilance if attending. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Israel is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If you are caught breaking local laws on import and export of wild animals you can expect to receive a substantial fine and up to 2 years in prison. For more information on the regulations and laws in Israel please refer to the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection website.

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

This page has information on travelling to Israel and The Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Israel and The Occupied Palestinian Territories set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Israel and The Occupied Palestinian Territories’ entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

It is for the Israeli authorities to decide if you can enter Israel. If you have any particular concerns about visas or entry into Israel, you should contact the Israeli embassy.

If you work in Israel without the proper permissions, you can be detained and then deported. This process which could take several months. Consular staff will not be able to help you enter Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They are unable get involved in another country’s immigration policy or procedures.

Visitors entering via Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport are given an entry card instead of an entry stamp in their passport. While this practice is in place at other ports of entry, there have been instances where passports have been stamped for entry purposes. You should keep your entry card with your passport until you leave. This is evidence of your legal entry into Israel and may be required, particularly at any crossing points into the Occupied Palestinian Territories. If you’re refused entry into Israel, your passport may be stamped with an entry stamp and two red lines drawn across it to indicate the refusal.

At the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan, and at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, Israeli border officials have sometimes used an entry stamp for certain travellers that states ‘Palestinian Authority only’ or ‘Judea and Samaria only’. Since travellers entering via the Allenby Bridge crossing must pass through Israeli checkpoints and Israeli-controlled territory to reach Jerusalem or Gaza, this restriction effectively limits travellers who receive this stamp. It is not clear how a traveller receiving the stamp at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport can leave the airport without violating the restriction. This stamp has been issued to travellers who have no Palestinian or other Arab ancestry, and who would not seem to have any claim to a Palestinian Authority ID.

In March 2017, the Israeli Parliament passed a law which gives authority to deny entry to foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel and/or settlements, or who belong to an organisation which has called for a boycott. Contact the Israeli embassy if you need further information.

Previous Travel to Other Countries

Evidence of a previous visit to another country in the region like an entry/exit stamp in your passport does not normally prevent entry into Israel, although it may lead to additional questioning at the border. It is for the Israeli authorities to determine the right of entry into Israel, so if you have any particular concerns about previous travel to another country, you should contact the Israeli embassy.

If you have any particular concerns about visas or entry into Israel, you should contact the Israeli embassy prior to arrival.

Customs and Immigration

It is for the Israeli authorities to decide if you can enter Israel. You may experience lengthy personal questioning and baggage searches by security officials on arrival and departure from Israel. Searches and questioning may be longer in some cases, including but not limited to some visitors with Palestinian or Arab ancestry with evidence of previous travel which may be considered suspicious, or those who are considered to have publicly criticised the state of Israel.

Airside Immigration officials occasionally ask travellers to wait whilst further checks are conducted. This is not routine procedure, but a small number of travellers do experience delays, some for several hours. Israeli security officials have on occasion requested access to travellers’ personal e-mail accounts or other social media accounts as a condition of entry.

Foreign nationals can legally be refused entry if they have publicly called for a boycott of Israel and/or settlements, or if they belong to an organisation which has called for a boycott.

Refusal of entry into Israel

If in the rare event you are refused entry to Israel you will be booked on the next available flight back to the port from which you entered Israel and on the same airline. Depending on the flight schedule you may be taken to the Immigration Detention Centre located a few minutes’ drive from the airport. You will remain there until your flight departs. Whilst there you will have access to a telephone, information in English, and medical assistance if required. Your luggage will remain at the airport so you will need to highlight to officials if you need to retrieve anything urgent from your luggage, for example medication. The Embassy is contactable from the Detention Centre and can assist where possible. But the Embassy cannot intervene with immigration decisions.

Entering the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including by sea to Gaza, is controlled by the Israeli authorities. You must produce a passport and Israeli immigration slip, to cross between Israel and the OPTs.

On 20 October 2022, the Government of Israel introduced new requirements for foreign nationals entering and residing in the West Bank. You can find more information on the requirements and points of contact for enquiries via the Israeli government website.

Israeli border officials at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport have at times required certain travellers to sign a form that states that they are not allowed to enter territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority. This is unless they obtain advance authorisation from the Israeli ‘Territory Actions Co-ordinator’, violating this restriction may result in the traveller being deported from Israel and barred from entry for up to 10 years.

You may be detained on arrival to Israel and deported if you are intending to enter Gaza without permission. If you are entering Israel for the purpose of working in the OPTs, you may be refused entry.

The FCDO is not able to support individuals applying for entry or exit permits for Gaza. If you decide to visit Gaza against FCDO advice, you will need to contact the relevant authorities well in advance. The FCDO is no longer able to provide administrative support for UK charities wishing to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing. The Rafah border regularly closes with no warning and for long periods of time. The Erez border also sometimes closes with no warning. At these times it may be impossible to enter or leave Gaza.

Israeli checkpoints may be closed during Israeli public holidays and periods of increased instability. Please refer to this website for information (which is subject to change).  For more information, contact the nearest Israeli Embassy.

British nationals of Palestinian origin

If you are a British national of Palestinian origin (on the Palestinian Population Register or holding a Palestinian ID number), you will need a Palestinian passport or travel document in order to leave Gaza or the West Bank. If you are a British national with a Palestinian name or place of birth but without a Palestinian ID number, you may face problems. A number of British nationals of Palestinian origin or British nationals married to Palestinians have been refused entry to the country.

Dual nationals

British-Palestinian dual nationals living in the West Bank and Gaza are allowed to travel abroad only via the Allenby and Rafah border crossings (respectively) with Jordan and Egypt and return via the same route. Please note: British/Palestinian dual nationals entering Gaza, which is against our Travel Advice, should check with the relevant authorities on entry/exit procedures. Numbers of such dual nationals permitted to enter and exit Gaza via Erez are very limited and include medical, humanitarian cases and aid workers. The final decision on entry and exit permits via Erez always rests with the Israeli authorities

If you are a dual national check with your nearest Israeli Embassy if pre-approval is required for travel to Israel. Dual nationals holding Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese citizenship have previously been impacted. If you are not a citizen of any of these countries, but have close family ties, it is also advisable to check with your nearest Israeli Embassy.

Children with Israeli parents (father and/or mother) are considered to be Israeli nationals. The Israeli Ministry of Interior insists that these children enter and leave Israel on an Israeli passport.

COVID-19

Entry requirements for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Check the Ministry of Health pages for full details. Further restrictions may be introduced at short notice.

Children and young people

Minors (aged 17 years and under) travelling to Israel alone or with only one parent are advised to carry with them a letter from their parents or guardians confirming their approval, accommodation plans and contact details.

Minors exiting Israel alone should carry a locally issued notarised letter as advised by external firms.

See ‘Dual nationals’ section above concerning children with Israeli parents.

Entry via Land Borders

You can find the latest guidance on entering and exiting Israel via the land borders on the Israeli Ministry of Health’s website.

Those wishing to enter Jordan from Israel will need to register in advance. You can find more information on the Visit Jordan website.

If you’re transiting through Israel/The Occupied Palestinian Territories

Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.

Full guidance on requirements upon arrival and when transiting through Israel is regularly updated online. Check Israeli Population and Immigration Authority pages and the dedicated COVID-19 Air Transport website for full details. Further restrictions may be introduced at short notice.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are visiting Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, your passport should be valid for a minimum of six months from the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

You don’t need a visa to enter The Occupied Palestinian Territories as a tourist. On entry, visitors are granted permission to stay for a period of up to 3 months. However, if you are a dual national, please refer to the ‘Dual nationals’ section of this guidance before travelling.

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Local medical care

Healthcare in Israel is not free and medical treatment can be expensive. Hospitals will insist on payment and may take legal action to delay departure until bills are met. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 101 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

During extreme weather conditions roads can flood. Flash flooding is a risk, particularly in the Negev. Road users are advised to monitor local weather reports.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

There are ATMs in Israel and Jerusalem that accept international cards. There are fewer ATMs in the West Bank and Gaza. Scottish and Irish banknotes can’t be exchanged in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Money transfer through Western Union to a local Israeli post office normally takes 3-4 hours during a normal working day. Post offices and banks in Israel and Jerusalem close from midday on Friday to Sunday morning. In the West Bank and Gaza they are usually just closed on Fridays.

Purchasing property

There are risks involved with purchasing property in Israeli settlements on land considered to be occupied under international law in East Jerusalem, the rest of the West Bank, and the Golan. Potential purchasers should be aware that a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria, could have consequences for property they purchase in these settlements. The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks. The FCDO does not offer legal advice on or become involved in private property disputes.

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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