Visas for Israel

There are a number of visas available for expats moving to Israel. Those planning to settle in Israel need to be organised and patient, because the process of getting a visa or work permit can be fairly complicated. Expats are advised to apply well ahead of time, as bureaucratic delays are common.

 

Tourist and business visas for Israel

 

Most expats moving to Israel will need a visa to live in the countryIsrael is a popular destination for tourists and backpackers, and its high profile in the hi-tech industry has made it an increasingly important hub for international business. Many visitors do not require a pre-arranged visa to enter Israel; they'll usually be granted permission upon arrival to stay for up to 90 days. But it's worth noting that the Border Police reserve the right to reduce this period or add restrictions, for example regarding travel within the West Bank.

Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America do not need a visa to enter Israel.

Before travelling, foreigners must ensure that their passport is valid for at least six months after the date of travel, and it must have space for an entry stamp. It is also worth checking country-specific visa requirements with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


It may also be possible to extend one’s stay in Israel beyond three months: in order to do so, expats should apply at a branch of the Ministry of Interior in Israel.

It is a common belief that visitors with stamps from Arab countries will be refused entry to Israel on this basis. Although travellers may be subjected to additional questioning from the Border Police, many visitors do enter Israel from Arab countries without difficulty.


Expats wanting to move to Israel for longer periods of time have a number of visa options, including:
 

Student visas for Israel (A/2 visa)


Those wishing to study in Israel should apply for an A/2 visa, which is valid for up to one year before it must be renewed. The visa must be received before entering the country, and may be applied for at the Israeli Embassy in the applicant’s home country. A person on a student visa is allowed multiple entries and exits throughout the year period, but may not work.
 

Residence visas for Israel


Relocating to Israel can be an extremely difficult and complex process, largely due to the highly bureaucratic nature of the country. There are three situations in which foreigners may be eligible to gain residency in Israel:
 

  • If they are of Jewish descent (making Aliyah): A/1 Visa
  • If they are in a relationship with an Israeli citizen: B/1 visa
  • If they have a job offer in Israel and the employer is acting as a sponsor: B/1 visa
     

Making Aliyah in Israel (A/1 visa)

The Law of Return states that all Jewish people have the right to settle in Israel. The process is conducted by the Jewish Agency and should be completed in the applicant’s home country.  

 

Spousal visas for Israel (B/1 visa)

According to Israeli law, those in a genuine and monogamous relationship with an Israeli national may remain and work in Israel on this basis.

Obtaining this visa is not a difficult process as long as the applicant is extremely organised and well prepared. Compiling documentation may be cumbersome, but getting it wrong can lead to severe delays and, potentially, the application being rejected.

Prospective applicants are advised to contact the Ministry of the Interior for a complete and up-to-date list of required documents.

On arrival in Israel, the applicants should receive a regular tourist B/2 visa. Once in Israel, they should contact the local Ministry of the Interior to book an initial appointment to submit their documents. Both the expat and Israeli partner must be present at this meeting.

Expats must be living in Israel in order to apply, and they must apply at the Ministry of the Interior in their city of residence. Waiting times for an appointment can be up to three months.


After the initial meeting (approximately three months later), the expat and their partner will be summoned for separate interviews for the veracity of their relationship to be established.

Successful applicants are advised to purchase a multiple entry visa at the same time, as without this they will not be able to leave the country without invalidating their newly acquired work visa.
 

Work visas for Israel (B/1 visa)

Expats can gain residency in Israel if they receive sponsorship from an employer in the form of a firm job offer.

Obtaining a work visa for Israel can be a long and complicated process. Added to the low salaries and comparatively high cost of living, many would argue that only those with a burning desire to live in Israel would put themselves through this process. There are two different types of Israeli work permits that a foreign worker may receive, although they both fall under the category of B/1 work visa.

The first is an open work permit, which allows a person to work without restrictions and is only granted to those of Jewish descent or an expat who is in a relationship with an Israeli citizen.

A restricted work permit, on the other hand, limits a foreigner to working for a particular employer, who must act as a sponsor.

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

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Our Israel Expert

Abi Nurser's picture
Abi Nurser
Rugby, UK. Tel Aviv, Israel
Abi was born in Rugby, UK.  After completing her degree in English Literature and Spanish at Newcastle University, she... more

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