Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Usually entry requirements are based on country of citizenship, but is it at all possible to be denied entry if you were born in a country in conflict with your travel destination ?

This is a specific question that I'm trying to make more general. In my case, I was born in Beirut but am Canadian citizen, always lived here. Not to get into details but technically speaking, Lebanon considers itself at war with Israel, and relations are always tense there. I would really like to visit Israel one day, but I'm wondering if I can be denied entry because my (Canadian) passport says I was born in Lebanon?

I was speaking with an Israeli-Canadian friend and he also thinks that he would never be allowed into Lebanon because he was born in Tel Aviv.

share|improve this question
5  
You can be refused entry for any reason, including your place of birth. –  Adam Davis May 22 at 21:41
    
@AdamDavis can I challenge the decision if I believe the reason for refusal is unfounded ? –  Blackbird57 May 23 at 1:23
    
You are entering a different country. There's no international treaty that gives you, a non-citizen of that country, any rights to enter or challenge the decision of that country to admit you. Thus there's no generic answer to whether you can challenge it - I'm sure in some cases you can, and in others you can't. If you ask that question about a gaining entry into a specific country I'm sure it can be answered. –  Adam Davis May 23 at 1:29
    
For example within the EU, an EU citizen can challenge arbitrary refusal because we have a treaty that includes freedom to travel and work. There are grounds for that freedom to be denied to an individual, but if denied on incorrect grounds a court can overturn the decision of the immigration services. I think visa-waiver treaties usually don't restrict the grounds that entry can be refused, even for tourist travel. So the best you could do after a refusal, I suspect, is to contact the Israeli embassy in Canada and request (not demand) permission to visit. –  Steve Jessop May 25 at 10:01
    
Lebanese citizens can visit Israel, as long as you are not a Hezbollah member sworn to Israel's destruction. –  Imray Jun 9 at 14:22

4 Answers 4

up vote 30 down vote accepted

You have the right to ask for a Canadian passport that does not show your place of birth. This implies that having it in your passport may cause problems in some cases. The disclaimers on that page further suggest that not having it in your passport may cause problems, too.

To quote from their info page:

You may request that your place of birth does not appear in the passport. However, if you chose to do so, note that:

  • Place of birth is mandatory for entry to some countries. You should contact the consulate or embassy of every country you plan to visit to ensure that you will be allowed entry if your passport does not indicate your place of birth.
  • You may have difficulty obtaining a visa.
  • You may experience delays at border crossings.

Wikipedia also claims:

The People's Republic of China will not issue visas to Canadian passport holders whose place of birth is inscribed as being Hong Kong HKG, Macau MAC or (city name) TWN. Accordingly, passports issued to Canadians born in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan now only list the place of birth, without an accompanying three-letter country code, unless upon request.

... and ...

Canadian citizens born in Jerusalem have their birthplace identified only by the city's name, with no national designation, due to the unresolved legal status of Jerusalem.


So yes, in some cases it may matter, but nothing so simple as "born in Lebanon? Denied!"

share|improve this answer
    
Good to know I can do that, but I guess I still have to check with a consulate to see if they'll allow that (not just Israel in that case). –  Blackbird57 May 22 at 14:08
    
yes, you may actually be making it worse by removing something they don't care about and replacing it with a blank they could fill in with something they do care about –  Kate Gregory May 22 at 14:10
    
Heh, it's comforting to know that China doesn't actually care what your place of birth is, it's just denying entry in order to force you to get a passport that doesn't claim the place in question isn't in China. Way to make clear what's important. But in general I'd expect that if there are places that won't let you in without a place of birth, at least some of those places surely do it because there are certain places of birth they want to restrict one way or another. –  Steve Jessop May 22 at 18:43

I am from Lebanon, you could visit Israel using a Canadian or a Lebanese passort, Israel will let you in. Many priests and nuns visit Israel each year. In fact, our Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al‑Rahi will go to Israel to welcome the pope. But there's a catch.

You cannot come back to Lebanon, well technically you could, but you will be called a spy and executed :) But hey many Lebanese are now living in Israel.

In fact there's a Lebanese basketball player, he was born in Australia he played in Israel and now he's playing in Lebanon, he didn't know about the Lebanese-Israeli relationship.

The issue of travel between the two countries presents a minefield of diplomatic restrictions. Tourists who arrive to the Lebanese borders with a passport bearing an Israeli passport are not allowed entry into the country and Lebanese citizens who move to Israel can be prosecuted for high treason. Lebanese citizens are not permitted to visit Israel, nor are Israelis allowed to cross the border to the north.

Exceptions to the web of restrictions are for Maronite clergy, who are permitted to travel as part of their function within the Church.

You cannot enter Lebanon with a passport bearing an Israeli stamp even expired.

You cannot enter Lebanon with a passport showing that you entered Israel from Jordan or Egypt or showing that you left Israel to Leabnon via Jordan or Egypt. You have to have two passports.

If you visit Israel using your Canadian passport, you'll be fine, many Lebanese living in Canada have done that. But if you come back to Lebanon don't brag about it, be quiet :)

About your friend, yes he won't be allowed to come to Lebanon, unless he's a member of the Jews Rabbis and he has a permission from Hezbollah :) There were a lot of Jews in Lebanon before 1975, now you still can find few, but they hide their identity.


Answering Steve

Being charged for treason only applies if Blackbird57 actually is one (or at least, if Lebanon considers him one)?

This is hard to answer, but from my own experience, anyone who has been in Israel, anyone who contacted Israelis by any means, is a candidate for being charged for high treason (or spying or whatever). Anyone who raise suspicions might have troubles. By law you are absolutely forbidden to make any sort of contact with Israel.

But let me tell you something, if you are a celebrity, if you are a politician, if you have power and money, you may be untouchable, we know many politicians who are now free though they have worked with the Israelis :)

If he doesn't have dual citizenship then it would also be useful to know whether it's an offense in Lebanon for a Canadian citizen who has entered Israel to later enter Lebanon.

Yes, Lebanon's visa requirements forbid entry to anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport. But he can ask the Israeli not to stamp his passport as it was mentioned in the comments below my answer.

However if you are a celebrity, well it's a different story :) Many celebrities do concerts in Israel before coming to Lebanon and they are welcomed. The only celebrity that was not welcomed as far as I know is Lara Fabien because she sang for Israel in there national day or something and she showed great support for the Israeli nation.

Many American professional basketball players have played in Israel before playing in Lebanon, we even gave the Lebanese nationality to one of them so he can play in our national team. That decision was not welcomed at all, but well... politics :)

share|improve this answer
    
do you make a difference between visa and pasport? –  Dirty-flow May 22 at 9:15
1  
There might be different policies for people of lebanese descent, according to their religion (or ethnicity). I would guess that it would be easier for a christian or a druze lebanese to enter Israel than a Shia muslim lebanese. –  Ilya Melamed May 22 at 9:40
    
@Dirty-flow I made a mistake, was typing on phone in a hurry at university, answer updated –  Fischer May 22 at 10:14
1  
@IlyaMelamed while that might be true to some degree, you still have to be very careful –  Fischer May 22 at 10:15
    
@IlyaMelamed my passport doesn't mention religion/ethnicity, just citizenship and place of birth. In any case I don't see how Israeli authorities can verify that –  Blackbird57 May 22 at 14:12

This is a more general answer, as I don't have any knowledge of what is the protocol for Lebanon born citizens of non enemy countries is.

Palestinian born citizens of other countries, and even people whose parents are Palestinian citizens (but they are not) will have trouble entering Israel. As depicted in this story, as well as on the site of the U.S counsel general in Jerusalem:

Palestinian-Americans Must Enter Through the Allenby Border Crossing. The Government of Israel does not currently permit U.S. citizens with Palestinian nationality (or even, in some cases, the claim to it) to enter Israel via Ben Gurion International Airport. Many travelers have been sent back to the U.S. upon arrival. Others have been allowed to enter Israel but told they cannot depart Israel via Ben Gurion without special permission, which is rarely granted. Some families have been separated as a result, and other travelers have forfeited expensive airline tickets. If you believe that you may be affected by this rule, confirm with the Israeli Embassy in Washington before departure that you will be able to enter and depart through Ben Gurion. You may prefer to alter your travel plans to enter via the Allenby-King Hussein border crossing.

While this touches on the issue of Palestinian-Americans, similar issues may be encountered by Palestinians who are citizens of other countries as well.

In any case, you should check your status with the local Israeli embassy if you have any reason to believe you may have troubles entering Israel.

share|improve this answer
3  
Incidentally, this goes both ways. A friend of mine in Israel, more Jewish than a matzo ball, experienced considerable difficulty getting a US visa because he was born in Baghdad under the name "Mohammed". –  jpatokal May 21 at 22:28
    
@jpatokal, it's a known issue. 10 years ago they made the process slightly simpler, but it's still harder than for people that weren't born in an Arab country, even people like me who were born in the USSR. –  Ilya Melamed May 21 at 22:35
    
@IlyaMelamed thanks, this is the kind of issue I had in mind. –  Blackbird57 May 22 at 14:06
    
@IlyaMelamed The story comes from a well-known anti-Israel website. The claims in the article are very rare and probably are a result of the tourist-in-question's attitude (allegedly she told border guards "I have more of a right to be here than you") –  Imray Jun 9 at 14:25
    
@Imray, while you are right and the source is not supportive of Israel, it still depicts a true event, the US counsel collaborates this, and I've read in several other sources collaborating this policy. The bottom line is that Palestinian who are citizens of different states will have trouble entering Israel, and they should prepare and plan their trip accordingly. –  Ilya Melamed Jun 11 at 16:06

The general answer is that all countries have the right to refuse entry to anyone who isn't their citizen, for any reason. The more interesting and applicable answer is that, in practice, Israel is very unlikely to deny you entry just because of where you were born. Since Canadian citizens don't need a visa to enter Israel, you'll get off the plane and go through Immigration. When you do, the immigration officer might ask you why you want to visit Israel, what you intend to do, and where you intend to go, but that shouldn't be a problem.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.