Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How Funny!... in a strange kind of way

America will finally have an ambassador in Libya. But I think it's kind of funny in an ironic kind of way. Why? Because the guy is currently the American deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Israel and Libya doesn't let anyone in the country that either holds an Israeli passport or even has an Israeli stamp in their passport.

My sister has been wanting to visit the Holy Land but never could because she was afraid the stamps in her passport would affect her ever visiting me here. We thought she should wait until her passport was nearly ready to expire and then when she returned she could get a fresh passport with no Israeli stamps in it.

So what does this mean? Have the laws been changed?


  1. although I do not know the law in Libya, from what I know from British friends that travelled to israel, you can request that your passport is not stamped, I think they would stamp a separate sheet of paper which can be easily removed, I was told its common for people visiting israel to request that their passports are not stamped, I think your sister has no problem there.

  2. Yup,
    you can get request for your passports not be stamped. Go through Jordan.

  3. Also confirm. Have colleague in my company who did so.

    On another hand, diplomat have facilities on these kind of issues.

  4. I think diplomatic staff travel by treaty, not by passport. When I was in the military, I never went through any kind of entry procedures at all. I didn't even have a passport to stamp, just a military ID card. The diplomatic staff probably just show their state department ID. That's just a guess, but I'd be surprised if diplomats go through customs and immigration. Diplomatic missions are governed by the Vienna Conventions.

    Glad to see we (US) finally have assigned an Ambassador, anyway! There will probably be a new one in 2009 though, I'm guessing. Libya will be an important posting, and the next President will want his/her own Ambassador.

  5. Some countries will not allow entries to people with evidence of visits to Israel or used or unused Israeli visas in their passports. To help foreigners circumvent these restrictions, Israel used to not require visitors to have their passports stamped upon entry or advanced visas, making it difficult to tell if a traveller has been to Israel. However since September 2006 they will rarely agree not to stamp passports.[8] In addition many of these nations are aware of the exit stamps placed in passports by Egypt and Jordan at their land borders with Israel and may block entry based on the presence of these stamps. For example, a traveller may be denied entry to certain countries because of the presence of an Egyptian exit stamp indicating the person left Egypt through the Taba Border Crossing, at the Israeli border.
    Some nations will void old passports and reissue new passports to their nationals based on the presence of evidence of a visit to Israel, recognising the passport's function is compromised. The United Kingdom may allow a passport holder to have two valid passports to circumvent the restrictions concerning Israel if the applicant can satisfactorily explain why a second passport is needed when applying. The United States Department of State no longer issues passports restricted for use solely for travel to Israel. Existing Israel-only passports were canceled on April 25, 1992. Current regulations allow that a second U.S. passport may be requested when necessitated by visa processing delays or the possibility of a country denying a visa or entry because of evidence of travel to "certain other countries."

    link here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passport


    Actually diplomats have what is called a 'diplomatic passport' in Libya it is bright red :)

    "Diplomatic Passports are issued to diplomats and diplomatic representatives of a home country, and other state employees according to the rules of a particular country. Having a Diplomatic passport does not necessarily accord the bearer diplomatic immunity. Some countries' visa requirements may have different requirements for Diplomatic and non-Diplomatic passports."

    Link here too for special passports in the US including diplomatic ones

    And here are the various colours for various passports.

    Embassy compiled some statistics about travel documents currently used by Canadians and Americans citizens, landed immigrants and refugees to cross borders.

    US Diplomats have special privileges and are allowed two passports and also according to the above links can have another fresh passport at the discretion of the US government :)

    Therefore the US Ambassador is welcome to Libya !

  6. No Problem sis Khadija,

    During Regan years and the embargo on Libya, American citizens were not allowed to visit Libya. If they did visit, they would face prosecution. The Libyan embassy in Malta would stamp the American passport on a separate sheet of paper which could be removed. I saw that separate “Entry Visa” stamp on many American passports for those working in Libya back then. My educated guess tells me that the New Ambassador doesn't need a stamp at all. New Mission=New Passport.

  7. PC,
    diplomats do have to go through customs. However, they are given special treatment. I know as my dad is a former diplomat.

  8. My wife's father was a diplomat for the Saudi Embassy. You are indeed issued a Diplomatic Passport as well as various local and national identity cards that mark you as a diplomat.

    My wife has a diplomatic visa as well as the card from the US State Department that informs any and all that it is against International Law/Treaties to harm, detain or question a diplomat in any way.

    License plates also usually denote a diplomat, although many do not use them. Here in the US the license plate will have either a D (Diplomat enjoying full diplomatic immunity) or S (meaning a staffer with limited diplomatic rights), followed by a country code of two letters. The only one I know off hand is "LN" for Saudi.

    As to the travel in Israel thing. Been there, done that. The border guards will generally stamp your Israeli visa on a seperate piece of paper that you can keep in your passport.

    I did that many times in my travels to Israel and Palestine and simply discarded it when I left so I had no problems entering countries like Syria and others that ban people with Israeli visas.

    But, a hint, it just isnt the passport they look at. If you try to enter one of these places and the customs people find Israel monies or other items clearly Israeli you will often be out of luck as well.

    In this case it is good to know at least one Arabic phrase "Ana mish Yahood".


Guidelines for submitting comments

You can rant, you can rave, you can question. I ask only that you are thoughtful about what you write.

Comments are reviewed by me before publication. I don’t edit comments, but I do reserve the right to delete comments that violate my guidelines.

These are the kinds of comments that I think are not appropriate for publication:

- Defamatory or libelous remarks
- Abusive, harassing, or threatening language
- Obscene, vulgar, or profane language
- Racially, ethnically or religiously offensive words
- Illegal or encourages criminal acts
- Known to be inaccurate or contains a false attribution
- Infringes copyrights, trademarks, publicity or any other rights of others
- Impersonates anyone (actual or fictitious)
- Off-topic or spam
- Solicits funds, goods or services, or advertises

Please submit comments in English.

Thank you

My Link List