All foreign nationals who intend to enter Israel are required a valid passport and visa for purposes such as leisure, vacation, business, investment, permanent residency, diplomatic or religious missions, mass media, studies, etc. Applications and queries should be forwarded to the Israeli Embassy or Consulate located at the applicant’s country of residence. The passport needs to have a minimum validity period of six (6) months.

Israel Immigration

The Department of Immigration, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for ensuring that all immigrants and visitors secure all the necessary travel documents, residence permits and other requirements upon arrival and during their stay in Israel. Immigration officers together with the Department of Tourism will ensure that visitors only stay within the stay duration limits as indicated in their passports. There are statutes and regulations that should be followed by all foreign nationals while in Israel.

Immigration Laws

The Basic and Constitution Law are the main legislations followed by Israel regarding its national borders and the entry of foreign nationals. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Interior have the authority to grant residency to any foreign individual who wishes to permanently stay in Israel. They also have the right to deport or detain any individual who threatens the peace and best interests of the country. Authorized immigration personnel have the right to refuse entry to any individual who seem to threaten the interests of Israel regardless of a valid passport or visa.

The Government of Israel strives for national unity, the safeguard of personal and national security, and the integration of foreign investments to help its economic sectors. Employee and workers’ laws are regulated to support and provide benefits to local and foreign laborers and personnel. Some of the goals of the government include:

•    Achieving peace with neighbors while maintaining national and personal security
•    Strengthening, developing and broadening settlement in Israel
•    Increasing immigrants from all walks of life into the country
•    Promoting the values of Israel as a Jewish democratic state
•    Improving foreign relations, especially with countries in surrounding areas

The law concerning Israel citizenship and entry (temporary provision) passed by the Knesset originally ceased family reunification methods for Israeli and Palestinian couples and prohibited new mixed partners from applying the right of any Palestinian married to an Israeli to live inside Israel. This is The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) 5763 is an  Israeli law first passed on 31 July 2003 and has since been extended until 31 July 2008. The law places age restrictions for the automatic granting of Israeli citizenship and residency permits to spouses of Israeli citizens, such that spouses who are inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are ineligible.

Modifications were made to allow Palestinian men below 35 years old and Palestinian women below 25 years old to start the application procedures and ease up on a number of restrictions.

Visa Immigration Service

Individuals who intend to visit an Arab country besides Jordan or Egypt after visiting Israel should ensure that their passport does not contain an Israeli stamp or visa. Those allowed to stay in Israel for a period of three (3) months or more are required to have an extension stamped in their passports. Previous Israeli nationals possessing a foreign passport must provide sufficient evidence that they have given up their Israeli identity. They may obtain a new Israeli passport as required to renew the original one if they cannot produce sufficient evidence.

All visa holders will be required a stamp upon arrival in Israel. A number of countries are not required a visa, except for nationals of Estonia and Germany if they are born earlier than January 1, 1928. Nationals exempt from getting a visa include Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Croatia, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Hong Kong (SAR), The Bahamas, South Africa, Brazil, Barbados, Malawi, New Zealand, Ecuador, Jamaica Monaco, Mexico, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Surinam, Philippines, Uruguay, Chile, Haiti, Central African Republic, San Marino, Switzerland, El Salvador, Iceland, Fiji, Bolivia, Mauritius, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Federal States of Micronesia, Paraguay, Lesotho, and Swaziland.

Most immigration matters are usually managed by Aliya emissaries of the Jewish Agency. Upon recommendations by a Jewish Agency representative after conclusion of due parts in the process, an immigration visa will be issued by the Israeli mission. At present, Israel has agreements to abolish the visa requirements for 65 nations. Israeli missions located at different foreign countries will require submission of a completed visa application form, photo and travel documents from foreign nationals who wish to travel to Israel but are not citizens of any of the 65 countries.

Generally, all foreign nationals are required passports with a minimum of six (6) months validity since the date of visa issuance before being permitted to enter Israel. For visa validity less than six months, renewal is available at a fixed fee. However, American citizens possessing a valid US passport no longer need to acquire a visa to enter Israel. Upon entering the country, they will be issued a tourist visa valid for thirty (30) days. Legal US residents who possess a valid American re-entry permit or travel documents for refugees are still required a visa.

Visa Types

Tourist Visa

This is issued to any foreign national who wishes to enter Israel for personal reasons like family visit, sightseeing, tour, leisure, vacation, etc. Americans are not required to apply since they automatically receive one with a validity of thirty (30) days upon arriving, provided that they have a valid US passport, tickets and documents proving return or onward travel.

What you will need to obtain is a stamp on the passport to allow leave to enter Israel. You would need this as you travel within Israel. Ezpect lengthy questioning when arriving at immigration and electronic equipment are thoroughly examined. Vaccination certificates are also not required.

Non-US citizens need to submit the following to apply for a visa:

•    A valid passport having at least six (6) months validity remaining
•    One (1) visa application form, completed and signed
•    Two (2) passport-size photos
•    Evidence of sufficient funds to support stay in Israel
•    Evidence of re-entry to the US such as work visa, Green Card or I-550 stamp
•    Onward or return tickets or other confirmed items

Business Visa

This is issued to foreign nationals who wish to enter Israel for business purposes such as negotiations, transactions, commercial, mass media, investment, etc. Single or multiple entry may be granted depending on the nature of the visit. Foreigners will be required the following:

•    A valid passport having at least six (6) months validity remaining
•    Evidence of sufficient funds to support stay in Israel
•    Letter or confirmation documents from sponsor and Israel-based company
•    Onward or return tickets or other confirmed items

Diplomatic or Official Travel Visa

This is issued to foreign nationals who are members or personnel of an agency or organization duly recognized by the Israeli government. Usually, visas are good for unlimited access depending on the nature of the visit and recommendations of the parties involved. Requirements for a Diplomatic or Official Travel Visa include:

•    A passport having at least six (6) months validity remaining
•    Evidence of sufficient funds to support stay in Israel
•    Onward or return tickets or other confirmed items
•    Type of visa required for stamping or conversion

Work or Study Visa

This is issued to foreigners who wish to enter Israel for work or school-related activities such as employment, reassignment to an Israel-based office of the same company, promotion, studies, research, seminars, etc. A number of entries and the duration of stay will depend on the nature of visit as well as the recommendations of companies and institutions involved. Foreign workers and students will have to contact the nearest Israeli Consulate or Embassy.

Transit Visa

This is issued to visitors who wish to stop over Israel en route to their final destination. Transit visas usually have a validity period of five (5) days, but can be extended up to ten (10) days upon request and arrival in Israel. Landing Cards are issued to cruise ship passengers stopping by the country. This allows them to stay in Israel as long as the ship is in port. No further visa applications are required.

Collective Visa

This is usually issued by Israeli consular or diplomatic missions abroad for groups composed of anywhere between 5 to 50 persons.

Foreign travelers are advised to report to their respective embassies or consulates upon arrival in Israel. Registration will help embassies provide needed services such as location of individuals during emergency cases, administrative functions related to documentation, safety information about the place and replacing lost passports.

Types of Permits

Work Permit

A work permit is required from foreign nationals who are currently employed or have one or more investments in Israel. The country is currently encouraging foreigners to start businesses in the area so securing one is relatively convenient.

Residence Permit

This type of permit is usually issued to foreigners who have been assigned to work or who have begun investments in Israel. Their families may also be provided after due application as long as the citizenship and immigration laws of the country are carefully considered and followed.