I heard that it's always a good idea -regardless of your destination- to get a visa to the country you traveling to prior to your travel even if it was the case that you can get a visa upon arrival as you might get refused entry.

But I get the visa before traveling is there a chance that I could be refused entry ?

It is for the Israeli authorities to determine the right of entry into Israel, if you have any particular concerns about visas or entry into Israel, you should contact the Israeli Embassy in London.

Foreign travel advice Israel

So if the embassy said yes, airport officials wouldn't be able to say no?

  • Regarding your first paragraph, I would be curious to know where you "heard" this from. I am not familiar with visa-on-arrival systems, but in cases where you qualify for visa-free entry to a country (not the same thing), it is typically not possible to obtain a visa. – fkraiem Aug 25 '15 at 13:55
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    @fkraiem I assume he means, for example, like when I went to Iran last month. You need a visa. You can get a visa on arrival (fill out form, pay money), but sometimes get refused, so it's arguably better to try and sort it out in advance if possible. – Mark Mayo Aug 25 '15 at 14:00
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    @fkraiem exactly what Mark said, I hate to get sent back, if I am getting refused then I prefer to know that beforehand while I am home in the UK – Ulkoma Aug 25 '15 at 14:04
  • Wouldn't this apply to any country, not just Israel? – Scimonster Aug 25 '15 at 20:44
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    @Scimonster yep, although with slightly different rules. Israel has some quite specific 'enemies' and guidelines on who might enter given their tense political situation, while a relatively more open country like NZ is less likely to refuse on political grounds. Regardless, the airport authorities/officials in NZ can still say no, they just would potentially have different reasons for saying so. – Mark Mayo Aug 26 '15 at 2:42

Like any country, a visa is just an endorsement allowing you a specific period of time in a country based on your citizenship (and other potential factors).

However, once you're at the border, the border agents / authorities can and will still make a further assessment. They might evaluate:

  • your ability to support yourself while in the country
  • your intent in the country (you might be on a tourist visa, but they suspect you're coming to work/do business)
  • your possessions (eg if found with something illegal)
  • your history (some countries won't let you in if your passport shows you've been to countries that they're not fans of)

as a result, yes, even if you have a legitimate visa, it's still possible (generally unlikely, but possible) for you to be rejected at the border.

For another question we have which is related to this, see Being denied entry to Israel due to political activism?

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    To put it bluntly, a visa is not a right to enter a country. It is a document that allows you the permission to go to the border to request entry. The final decision is still left to the border police/authority. – Burhan Khalid Aug 26 '15 at 3:30
  • @BurhanKhalid yep, a succinct summary :) – Mark Mayo Aug 26 '15 at 3:33

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