I'm an US citizen by nationalization and Colombian citizen by birth. I currently live in California. I'm planing to travel in November SFO-TLV-IST-SFO. I want to use my Colombian passport to travel to Israel and Turkey, since there are no visa requirements, and currently US citizens are not allowed to travel or get a visa to Turkey.

So I'm concerned that I will have issues when returning back to the US since there will be no stamps on my US passport. I heard a new regulation started that officers are supposed to check the stamps of the countries you visited. Please I need some guidance. Thank you.

  • 1
    Make your title more specific Oct 21 '17 at 5:53
  • Where did you hear about the supposed new regulation?
    – phoog
    Oct 21 '17 at 6:55
  • If I recall correctly, once a US border agent establishes one is a US citizen, they must grant them entry. Oct 21 '17 at 7:01
  • 1
    You may want to use your US passport to enter Israel. Columbians can enter without visa, but it's less common than Americans, which could lead to more security questioning.
    – ugoren
    Oct 21 '17 at 8:19

There is no such regulation (checking stamps), and even if, it wouldn’t be possible to execute. Many people enter the US on a Global Entry card, or through a land border with the passport card, and never use their US passport (I don’t even carry it normally when going to Europe). Also, many countries stamp passports only randomly or not at all.

There is a lot of incorrect information about stamps in passports around, like the sequences would matter, or the completeness. None of this matters much; the only thing relevant is that some countries check for their own entry stamp when you leave, and a small number of countries disallow you if you have specific other stamps (of their favorite enemies).


For starters it's very likely that the US/Turkey visa situation will be resolved in the next few days. Further, US citizens are still allowed enter Turkey by obtaining a visa on arrival IF they are arriving in Turkey from a country other than the US, which you will be.

But to answer the specific question you've asked, you will not have any issues if you do not have a stamp in your passport for the countries you've visited. For example, Israel does not stamp passports at all so you definitely will not have a stamp from there (although you will have a small card with the equivalent details, I've never been asked to provide it by US immigration despite many trips between Israel and the US.

  • 1
    Per this answer, you have to stay in the non-US country for at least 24 hours first. Which the OP may well be doing, because it don't make much sense to fly SFO-TEL-IST if you're not visiting Israel, but it's a useful distinction. Oct 20 '17 at 23:41

I heard a new regulation started that officers are supposed to check the stamps of the countries you visited

I have never heard of such US regulations, and have never had my stamps checked (which would take a while even if they tried). So there are no concerns.

currently US citizen are not allow to travel or get visa to Turkey

According to this article, the situation is a bit different. First, travel for US citizens who already possess a valid visa doesn't seem to be affected. Second, it seems like US citizens just can't get Turkish visas in US, it is not like we are not allowed to get those visas at all.

Not to mention, AFAIK, the US Government has no legal power to prohibit US citizens from traveling to a specific country; even in Cuba embargo they only prohibit us to spend money there.

  • Two words: North Korea.
    – phoog
    Oct 21 '17 at 6:57
  • Travel is not prohibited, only the use of US passport - but this prohibition doesn't apply to North Korea itself, which can admit you on a US passport. Similar to how Israel can admit Malaysia citizens even though their passport says "not valid to travel for Israel".
    – George Y.
    Oct 21 '17 at 16:43
  • @GeorgeY. About travel to Cuba, many things changed during the Obama administration, but it used to be explicitly forbidden: travel.stackexchange.com/a/3133/1154
    – yms
    Nov 4 '17 at 17:59
  • @yms AFAIK the legality of this prohibition (and one for North Korea) has never been tested by the courts. I know a number of US citizens who visited Cuba, spent money there and even admitted this to CBP upon returning. None of them got charged with anything.
    – George Y.
    Nov 4 '17 at 23:10
  • @GeorgeY There is at least one high-profile case of the opposite: alongthemalecon.blogspot.ca/2012/04/…
    – yms
    Nov 5 '17 at 13:15

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