Hamas announces new visa procedures for Gaza visitors

Tourists, would-be foreign residents now required to seek approval from Hamas-run Interior Ministry before entering the Strip.

Hamas policeman checks passport at Rafah border 311 (R) (photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
Hamas policeman checks passport at Rafah border 311 (R)
(photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
The Hamas government on Monday announced that foreigners wishing to visit or live in the Gaza Strip would have to apply for a visa.
The new measure, which goes into effect on Tuesday, is aimed at facilitating and securing the entry and departure of foreign visitors, according to a statement issued by the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry in Gaza City.
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This is the first time ever that foreigners wishing to enter the Gaza Strip are requested to apply for a visa.
Until now, foreigners entering the Gaza Strip used to fill out forms at Hamas security outposts on the borders with Israel and Egypt.
The new restriction will affect thousands of foreign nationals who work for various international organizations in the Gaza Strip.
All foreigners wishing to visit the Gaza Strip must send a request to the Interior Ministry in Gaza City one week in advance, the statement said. If the application is approved, the foreigner would be issued a one-month visa to enter the Gaza Strip.
Those who wish to stay in the Gaza Strip for more than one week would be required to register with the Interior Ministry’s foreign affairs department.
As for foreign journalists wishing to enter the Gaza Strip, Hamas said that it would announce new arrangements for them at a later stage.