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I provide consulting services for a big company in Saudi Arabia and I have to do an unexpected visit (2 weeks visit). The Saudi company is sponsoring the business visa, but in my passport I have a stamp from the Wadi Araba Jordanian border crossing. This stamp means I entered Jordan coming from Israel.

I know to avoid any trouble I should change passports, but the problem is in my country you can make the paperwork to change passports only by appointment, and the next available appointment is in 2 months! I need to be there in 3 weeks, otherwise I will lose a big contract.

Even if I have an invitation letter from the Saudi company, could the Saudi embassy in my country deny the visa? Or assuming I get the visa, once I arrive in Saudi Arabia, could the border agent reject me and turn me back?

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Most sources (1 2 3 wikipedia) say that you may be denied entry. There's no definite statement - some say it's not strictly enforced, and report some successes. But it doesn't look like something you want to rely on.

These sources are several years old, and there was recently an informal warm-up in Saudi-Israeli relations. One result is that Air India can now fly to/from Israel over Saudi Arabia. One could assume that they'd also allow entry for previous visitors of Israel, but I found no indication that it's actually so.

I failed to find an official Saudi source.

You should contact the embassy before you travel.

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In theory, this could be a problem. In practice, your odds are pretty good, and I personally would probably risk it.

In my experience, Saudi passport inspections particularly when flying in are pretty cursory. They've got a hundred passengers to look at and if your visa is in order, that's all they seem to care about. A stamp from Jordan at the "wrong" crossing won't even be visible in the same way that an Israeli stamp with Hebrew is (which is why Israel usually stamps a separate piece of paper!). Also, if your big company is the big company in Saudi, it wouldn't hurt to bring an official invitation letter and the phone number of somebody who can tell at Immigration if they do spot it and get difficult -- wasta is a powerful force in the Kingdom.

But no, this is not an ironclad guarantee, the only way to be 100% sure is to get a new passport.

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    The issue isn't primarily at the border, it's obtaining the visa. Based on my personal experience, the consulate staff who process visa applications are far from "cursory". There are many reports of people being refused a visa/entry due to Jordanians stamps from the Israel border, or even for having a Jordanian exit stamp with no entry stamp (which implies entry from Israel) – Doc May 16 '18 at 12:46
  • @Doc Good catch, I mistakenly assumed the OP already had the visa. However, if they're only applying for it, that means the cost of potential rejection is much lower than being turned back at the border. – jpatokal May 16 '18 at 13:35
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    The problem is that one rejected, even a new passport probably isn't going to get you in. Plus you lose the visa application fee, which for Saudi visas isn't cheap ($1000+ for most countries) – Doc May 16 '18 at 19:43
  • @Doc Do you have sources, even anecdotal, for this? I've only ever heard of Syria & Iran applying this sort of vengeful scrutiny, not Saudi; hell, last time I was there, I worked with an Israeli colleague legally invited to the country... – jpatokal May 16 '18 at 20:53
  • There are numerous reports on the Internet, but I have no idea of their validity. I did a lot of research into this when I was planning to cross this border, and in the end I flew to avoid the issue based on what I had read. – Doc May 17 '18 at 18:41

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