I am both Italian and Israeli citizen. I planned initially to go from Italy to Latvia by myself, then come back to Italy, pick up my Israeli passport and fly to Israel for a visit, this time with my wife. Due to some unplanned circumstances I had to stay in Latvia (where I went with my Italian passport) , and thought to go to Israel with another flight departing from Latvia, which I readily booked.

I then realized that to go to Israel I need my Israeli passport, which I don't have at the moment.

My question is: is it still possible to enter Israel using my Italian passport, and then exit Israel using my Israeli passport, which my wife will bring with her when she comes from Italy? There is of course the official legislation, but maybe given my special circumstances, I can at least enter Israel with a foreign passport.

Thank you for your attention, this is an urgent problem.

  • 3
    Have you considered asking your wife (or somebody else) to mail your Israeli passport to you in Latvia? The cost of express shipping might be worth the benefit of avoiding the whole issue. Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 13:20
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    The flight to Israel is on the day after tomorrow, there's too much risk it will not arrive in time. Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 14:22

3 Answers 3


Getting to Israeli border control

As an Italian citizen you're allowed to enter Israel visa-free, therefore the airline won't mind letting you on the plane. However if asked (by the airline) about your stay, don't mention anything about working or living in Israel, as in this case they would like to see proof of you being allowed to do so, which you won't have. Simply state that you're going for vacation and will come back to the EU afterwards.

Sometimes you might also be questioned by Israeli government officials before you board your plane - in this case you should of course lay out the facts as-is and explain that you've forgotten your Israeli passport. Expect to get some extra questions, but you should be fine overall.

Entering Israel

Once you arrive at the border post, head for the "Israeli citizens" line and immediately mention that you forgot your passport. It is illegal to enter Israel on foreign documents, so they'll need to look you up in the citizens database before letting you enter the country. I'd expect an hour delay at most while this process is ongoing, but you should be fine in the end - Israel isn't known for turning away their own citizens.


I took the flight and went to Israel without my Israeli passport. When I got to the passport control, I started to explain my situation but was told that I did not have to explain anything. "I am letting you in, but to leave you will need your Israeli passport", the official said and that was it.

  • They still checked your Italian passport or looked you up in the citizens database right? Otherwise anyone can just show up and say they forgot their Israel passport. 😂
    – kiradotee
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 19:32
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    "They still checked your Italian passport" - yes, of course. Commented May 4, 2020 at 16:39

There's getting on the airplane...

They won't let you on the airplane... Unless your papers are in order for you to enter Israel.

As far as the airline is concerned, you're an Italian. Now it looks like, as a citizen of the EU, Israel does not require un italiano to have a visa. So you should be all right.

The consequence for the airline is that they must pay a hefty fine, and then, fly you back to a country where you can't be refused, i.e. The EU. They don't know that you can get into Israel on the strength of your citizenship, and they won't take your word on it. However the airline is not responsible if your papers are in order yet you blow the entry interview.

...Then there's getting into the country

I am assuming that as an Italian, you would not blow your entry interview, and so would be admissible per se. However your ultimate trump card is that you are, in fact, an Israeli citizen. You need to mention that, and that you erred and left your Israel passport in Italy, and make them know you know that was a mistake. That'll save you a lecture. I would expect their response to be "we don't care, because you're admissable as an Italian, but next time have the right passport".

If your admission had to hang entirely on your Israeli citizenship (meaning they wanted to refuse you as an Italian), then you should expect a delay at immigration, whilst they do whatever they do to verify your citizenship. I would imagine the Israeli security services will be right on top of such things.

Technically they can't refuse you entry and deport you, but they can detain you while they investigate.


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