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I was looking at some German passport (see the bottom of the picture below) and it says:

Countries for which this passport is valid: for all countries.

This makes me wonder: Are some passports only valid in some countries?


enter image description here

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    Service passports (and so diplomatic passports) may have limited validity (dates and countries). Possibly temporary (emergency) passports may have also limitation (due to limited checks, they may be just valid to travel back). (and I'm hoping someone will find official documents for that in different countries) Oct 11, 2023 at 13:46
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    In the communist times, several Eastern European countries issued passports valid only for Yugoslavia (and several other countries), because many people defected to the West via Yugoslavia, which had almost open borders with the West. However, it didn't really work, because neither Yugoslavian neither Western (Italian, Austrian) officials cared and let people cross the borders even with "limited" passports. Oct 11, 2023 at 14:41
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    Look for US passports starting from the late 1930's. One from the 1970's can be seen here: Connie Sweeris's U.S. Passport - The National Museum of American Diplomacy Oct 11, 2023 at 16:09
  • @MarkJohnson thanks, you are welcome to post it as an answer Oct 11, 2023 at 18:34
  • @Johnnyjanko Poland (1970/80's) issued a light blue passport for the socialist countries (which they could kept at home) for which their ID could also be used. A dark blue passport was issued for the rest of the world. It would be (re-)issued for each trip for a fee that was about 1-2 months earnings and had to be returned after each trip. Extra visas from the western countries was required. So simply crossing the border (without the required visa) could lead to a refusal. A red passport was issued to polish citizens living abroad. Oct 13, 2023 at 3:26

4 Answers 4

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Yes. Passports from a number of Muslim countries are marked as valid for travel to all countries except Israel. Here are a few (not an exhaustive list):

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    The question is: Does it work? Will Israeli authorities refuse entry or automatically decline a visa application from anyone submitting such passport? Oct 12, 2023 at 7:29
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    @Johnnyjanko No. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Malaysian_citizens "Although Malaysian passports bear the inscription "This passport is valid for all countries except Israel" and the Malaysian government officially allows travel to Israel for Christian pilgrims only, the travel restrictions imposed by the Malaysian government have no bearing on the Israeli government, which issues visas to Malaysian citizens according to Israeli regulations." Oct 12, 2023 at 8:17
  • @FranckDernoncourt Thanks, that's exactly what I expected... Oct 12, 2023 at 8:18
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    @Johnnyjanko and OTOH, the passport stating that it is valid for country X does not force country X to recognize that passport (for example, if they do not recognize the authority issuing the passport as an independent state).
    – SJuan76
    Oct 12, 2023 at 12:24
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Yes, many passports are only valid in some countries. For example, my Italian passport issued at the Consulate General in New York City states that it is only valid for countries recognized the Italian government. I don't believe this is enforced, otherwise we would hear stories about people being charged for visiting northern Cyprus. Italian passport page 4 that states "This passport is valid for all Countries whose Governments are recognized by the Italian Government"

My US passport also states "Use of this passport ... for travel to countries where a US passport is not valid is a felony". Valid countries are not listed, but the US State Department website states that "U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State." US passport pate 5, titled "IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR PASSPORT" and lists various crimes related to passports

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Libya is another example of a Muslim country where passports are marked as valid for travel to all countries except Israel:

enter image description here

(image source and thanks Issa7654 for the info)

Note that:

  1. Bangladesh dropped 'except Israel' from passport, but the travel ban still in place.

  2. The Israeli government doesn't necessarily deny entry if a passport is marked as not valid for Israel. E.g., from wikipedia.org:

    Although Malaysian passports bear the inscription "This passport is valid for all countries except Israel" and the Malaysian government officially allows travel to Israel for Christian pilgrims only, the travel restrictions imposed by the Malaysian government have no bearing on the Israeli government, which issues visas to Malaysian citizens according to Israeli regulations.


Another example from wikipedia.org:

Previously, Malaysian passports were not valid for travel to various communist countries, and South Africa due to its apartheid system. Following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and improving ties with the remaining communist countries, as well as the end of apartheid in 1994, the countries were removed from the list.

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  • Of course, Libya can't exactly prevent Israel from ignoring their statements and recognizing the passport as valid.
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 13, 2023 at 4:00
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From what I understand, if you have a South Korean passport, traveling to North Korea isn't really an option. South Koreans need special permission to enter the North. Something about the two governments still technically being at war makes border crossings a no-go with just a standard South Korean passport.

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