Guide for Driving with a Foreign License in Israel and Converting a Foreign Driver’s License to an Israeli One
For the benefit of visitors to this site, we prepared a clear, detailed guide on the conditions required for driving with a foreign license in Israel, converting a foreign driver’s license to an Israeli one, and how to get an Israeli license.
The following requirements relate to converting a driver’s license for a motorcycle up to 500 cc, and private vehicles and trucks that weigh up to 15 tons.
Who has to convert a foreign driving license to an Israeli one?
Every driver driving in Israeli territories must have a valid Israeli driver’s license. The law stipulates that a foreigner who wants to continue driving in Israel after the time he is permitted to drive with a foreign driver’s license, has to convert his foreign driver’s license to an Israeli one.
Remember: If you are driving with your foreign driver’s license at a time when you are forbidden to drive in Israel, the law defines you as one driving without a driver’s license who may be prosecuted in court and who may even face time in prison or be disqualified from getting a driver’s license for a minimum of three months.
Similarly, in the event that your vehicle was involved in an accident, the insurance company has the legal right to demand to see a valid driver’s license. If you show a foreign driver’s license that should have been converted to an Israeli one, the insurance company will refuse to pay compensation to the victims, and will claim that you were not driving with a valid license and the insurance policy does not cover the event, and you will lose the insurance coverage.
Period of validity for an Israeli driver’s license that was converted from a foreign driver’s license
For a tourist – His license is temporary and valid for only six months, or until the date when his resident visa expires (whichever occurs first). He can renew it again at the end of that period.
An immigrant and returning resident – The driver’s license is permanent and valid for ten years. (Converting a driver’s license at an older age will sometimes be valid for less time.)
Who is obligated to convert a foreign driver’s license to an Israeli driver’s license?
A new immigrant, tourist, temporary resident - and returning resident are allowed to drive in the country with a valid foreign license for up to one year from the date of their entry to Israel. However, this is conditional on him reaching the requisite age in Israel for a driver’s license (17) and that his license is appropriate for the vehicle he is driving. From the point of view of the law, his driver’s license will be accepted like a valid Israeli driver’s license, according to the regulations stipulated in law.
After he is in Israel a year, he may not drive in Israel even with a valid foreign driver’s license, but he may convert his foreign license to an Israeli license according to the regulations stipulated in law. (One who has made many entries and exits from the country, will be judged on the merits of his case in accordance with the transportation ordinance).
The conditions required for driving in Israel with a foreign driver’s license
A new immigrant and returning Israeli citizen - is entitled to drive in Israel with a foreign license for one year from his date of entry into Israel, on condition that he lived abroad at least one year “continuously” before his last entry to Israel. His stay abroad must be right before he came to Israel.
Important! In the event that within the year of the time you are required to live abroad you had to be in Israel for any reason whatsoever, you cannot drive again when you return because you weren’t living abroad for a consecutive year.
A tourist and a temporary resident - is entitled to drive in Israel with his foreign license for a year after his “last entry” to Israel.
“The last entry” (which the law stipulates for a tourist) means his entry to Israel after being three months continuously abroad.
One who went abroad for more than three consecutive months during the period of a year beginning with his first entry date, can restart the year’s count for using his foreign license. But if he went abroad for a period of less than three consecutive months within the year, his trip abroad will not begin anew the year’s count for using his foreign license.
The Conditions for Converting a Foreign Driver’s License
An Israeli immigrant - can convert his foreign license within three years of his entry to Israel on condition that his foreign license was issued before he came to Israel.
A returning Israeli citizen - resident can convert his foreign license within a year of his entry to Israel on condition that his foreign license was issued at least six months before he came to Israel.
A tourist and a temporary resident - can convert his foreign license within a year of the date of his “last entry”, on condition that he has a valid resident visa.
The above license conversion conditions are contingent on the age terms required for an Israeli driver’s license (17, for a private car). One who has a foreign driver’s license and is younger than this age, can convert his license only when he reaches the minimum age, and for a vehicle that conforms to his license level.
Important! One whose Israeli driver’s license was exchanged for a foreign license, will not have to fulfill the requirements imposed on a new driver.
Important note: If you want to drive in Israel but you do not fulfill the conditions listed above for converting your driver’s license, you will have to go through the same licensing procedures like any Israeli who is getting his driver’s license for the first time in his life who will have to take (expensive) driving lessons and a written test and a driving test.
What is the mivchan shlita?
One who wants to convert his foreign driving license must do a driving test (“mivchan shlita”) in addition to bringing the necessary documents.
Mivchan shlita - A short driving test lasting a quarter of an hour in which the driver is tested on how he drives his car and proper road behavior according to the conditions and laws in Israel. (The test time is a short 15 minutes and the fee for the test is 68 NIS.)
One can take the test up to two times. If one failed twice, he must do both the theoretical test and the regular driving test (the fee is 141 NIS) like everyone else applying for a driver’s license although he is exempt from taking the minimum number of lessons required from new drivers.
It is recommended to take one or two driving lessons before the driving test with an experienced driving teacher to refresh one’s driving skills (especially if one hasn’t driven in a long time) and to correct any problematic driving habits which one may have acquired over the years which might cause him to fail the driving test.
Important! If an Israeli returning resident had a valid foreign driver’s license (a minimum of) two years before his entry to Israel, and similarly if he had an Israeli driver’s license in the past which expired during the period he was abroad, he can ask to be exempt from a driving test (mivchan shlita). He has to furnish proof of the time he lived abroad and the date he entered Israel (passport or entries and exits extract from the Ministry of the Interior).
To print the procedure to convert one’s driver’s license, click here.
Important: In every application, one must bring an identity card or passport with a visa valid for at least three months, and a valid computerized driving license with a picture.
1. To get a temporary identity card (not relevant to an immigrant and a returning resident), one must go to the Misrad HaRishui [Department of Motor Vehicles = DMV] — Conversion Department. For the list of Driver’s License Bureaus in Israel and their hours of reception, click here.
2. After receiving a temporary ID number you have to fill out the Green Form (form 18). To receive the green form and do a computer scan on its back side, go to scanning stations licensed by the Transportation Ministry close to where you live. For the list of licensed scanning stations and their reception hours, click here.
3. After receiving the green form, you have to get signatures from the following:
* Bring the form to your family doctor and have him fill out the medical questionnaire and sign it to confirm that there is no medical reason preventing the applicant from driving.
* Go to a optometrist for an eye check up and get his confirmation in writing that one’s eyes are fit for driving according to the requirements of the Ministry of Transportation. (The optometrist must be certified by the Health Ministry.) For a list of licensed optometrists and their hours of reception, click here. (Licensed optometrists are usually available at licensed scanning stations.)
4. Once you have the forms signed by the family doctor and the optometrist, return to the Misrad HaRishui Conversion Department. For a list of Misrad HaRishui offices in Israel and their hours of reception, click here.
Bring the following documents:
* Foreign passport with a residence permit that is valid for at least three months
* An identity card if you are an immigrant or a returning citizen.
* If you are an immigrant, you must present your immigrant identity card.
* For a returning resident, a valid foreign license that was issued at least six months before entering Israel. For an immigrant, a valid foreign license that was issued before his immigration and arrival in Israel.
A copy of the valid driver’s license (if the foreign driver’s license is not in English but in another foreign language, it must be translated into Hebrew).
* A filled out Green Form (Driver’s License Application form 18) with medical and vision test certifications.
* A stamped passport to prove the length of your last stay abroad (not necessary for a tourist or a temporary resident), or a page of your entries and exits to the country from the Ministry of the Interior.
Upon receiving approval for the conversion in the Misrad HaRishui’s Conversion Dept., you will receive an immediate date to do a driver’s test.
You passed the driver’s test? Congratulations!
Now, go with the application form to the Misrad HaRishui and get a driver's permit (a temporary driver's license). You will be able to drive after paying the fee.
The Driver’s License is valid :
For a tourist — A driver’s license is temporary and valid for only six months, or until the date when his visa expires, whichever occurs first. It can be renewed once again at its expiry date by going back to the Misrad Ha-Rishui with a valid passport and visa.
For immigrants and returning residents — the driver’s license is permanent and valid for ten years.
The authority that has the power to disqualify a license
The courts. The Misrad ha-Rishui. Israel police.
Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety - Misrad HaRishui.
National information center — to get a human response.
To call by telephone: You can call from all networks to: * 5678.
Citizens living abroad can call: + 972-3-9695678.
Questions and Answers:
Can I drive with a foreign driving license after living a year in Israel
No, you must convert your license to an Israeli driver's license.
How long is my driver's license that I converted to an Israeli license valid
Six months, or until your current visa expires, whichever is first. This doesn’t apply to an immigrant and returning resident driver’s license which is valid for ten years.
What does a mivchan shlita (driver’s test) cost
What is the mivchan shlita (driver’s test)
A short practical driving test, about a quarter of an hour, in which the driver’s control of his vehicle, and his behavior in Israeli road conditions, is examined to see if it is in accordance with the law.
A tourist went abroad during the year; can he restart counting the year he may use his foreign license when he returns
If you are gone for at least three months, you can start counting your year again.
How long can I drive in Israel with my foreign driver's license
You can drive in Israel using your foreign license only for a year after coming to Israel.
Until when can I convert my current foreign driver's license
A tourist and returning resident, for up to a year. An immigrant, for up to three years from when he immigrated.
I failed my driver’s test. Can I do it again
You can take up to two driver’s tests. After two failures, you will also have to pass a theory test like all Israeli citizens.
I went over the time I was permitted to convert my foreign license. What should I do now
You will have to take 28 compulsory classes, a driving test and a theoretical test like all Israeli citizens.
A tourist who wants to convert his driver's license, must have a current visa for how long
A tourist visa that is valid for three months is enough.