What To Do If You Are Denied Entry?

Before we list some things to do if you are faced with denied entry, we must reiterate here the value in preparing before embarking on your trip.  Making sure relatives and/or your legal counsel have copies/scans of your passport and making sure you have with you numbers of your representatives in you place of residences (congressman, senators, MPs, etc), and keep with you the numbers of your consulate are all prudent steps before starting your trip.  Also, familiarizing yourself with the Israeli regulations and polices will assist you in making your argument if faced with denial.

Nonetheless, if you are preparing to visit the oPt please keep in mind the following in case you are confronted with a “denied entry” order:

  1. Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful in entering even after being denied entry, some by making an appeal case on the spot and others by returning a few days/weeks afterwards.
  2. Understand who is delivering you the denied entry notice, Ministry of Interior, COGAT, Border Police, etc.  Best to ask for name and organization the person represents.
  3. Protest the denial of entry order to the Israeli official delivering it by declaring your desire to appeal the order and getting an explanation for it. If the person is uncooperative, ask to see their superior and remember to get the name of this person as well. If the denial is happening at the airport, you always have the right to refuse denial of entry and enter into legal proceedings.  If you do choose such a path you should have an attorney that can represent you.  See a list of qualified attorneys below.  Note that if you take the legal track you will be held in a detention center at the airport until a ruling is made on your case. For US citizens, we were informed that the US Embassy/American Citizen Services cannot “fight” on behalf of American citizens but is charged with ensuring their welfare and communication with family and will try to make sure the detention conditions meet basic needs.  We assume the same applies to all foreign consulates.
  4. Immediately try and make contact with someone not with you so they can be made aware of your situation and make calls on your behalf.  Americans can call the US Embassy to register complaints from the Airport: 03-510-3822 or contact the US Consulate for denials of entry from the Bridge: 02-622-7230.
    Other nationalities should contact their embassy in Israel to register an incident as it is happening, or contact your nearest embassy after being deported. Contact information for various consulate in Israel may be found here.
  5. Challenge the denial in Israeli court. JLAC/Hamoked/Al-Haq can help. JLAC’s telephone is 02-298-7981 and will provide pro-bono advice.
  6. Report your incident to the Campaign for the Right to Enter through our downloadable form or, if you are a US citizen, at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination website, or complete it on-line. Advise if we can we publish your case or if we can make it public as an anonymous shared story?
  7.  Advise if you would like the Campaign to raise your case with relevant representatives of your government and/or Israeli authorities?  Likewise, advise if the Campaign has your permission to raise your case with the media which many times provides the needed pressure on Israeli authorities to reverse a denied entry decision? Let us know if you would like to be put in direct touch with the media.

A list of qualified attorneys.