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Guide to Israeli Visas

What is a visa?
 
Many citizens from foreign countries want to enter Israel and stay there for different reasons and various periods. The Law of Entry to Israel stipulates that anyone who isn’t an Israeli citizen can only enter the country with an entry visa.
There are different types of entry visas through which one can enter and stay in Israel and each one involves certain rights: staying, working, voting, benefits from Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute) and others.
The longer the period of the visa, and the more rights it confers, the less people are eligible for it and they need to fulfill more conditions to receive it.
Here is a guide of the main visas for those who want to enter Israel, ranging from the most common and easiest visas until citizenship, and the documents required to receive them. The types of Israeli visas:

 
Tourist visas (which all begin with the letter B)
 
B / 1 — This is a work visa. For the list of documents you have to bring to receive this visa, click here.
 
This visa is a tourist visa (for those eligible for the Law of Return) with a temporary work permit. 
This type of visa is also granted to foreign workers (who are not eligible for the Law of Return) who want to work in Israel. This visa is usually given to foreign workers working in the fields of construction, agriculture, industry, restaurants, nursing, and other professionals, in accordance with quotas and conditions set by the government every year. 
One who wants to employ a foreign worker in Israel must submit an appropriate application and forms for him and makes sure he fulfills the requisite conditions before he enters Israel. 
An Israeli employer also has to submit an application to the Population and Immigration Authority’s Humanitarian Committee - Permits Division to employ a foreign worker.
When the employer receives the authorization from the Ministry of the Interior, the consulate closest to the place where the employee lives will issue the work visa upon receiving the necessary documents. If there is no Israeli consulate in the foreign worker’s country of origin, the employer cannot submit an application for him.
One cannot arrive in Israel with a regular tourist visa (B/2) and afterwards apply for a work permit.
A visa given to allow one to work in a specific industry can not be used to work in another industry. 
The visa is generally given for a full year and can be extended for up to 5 years. In special cases, one may extend the visa for more than 5 years.
The employee can only arrive in Israel after his visa came into force. The employee has to leave the country immediately after his visa expires.

B / 2 — Tourist visa. For the list of documents required to get this visa, click here.
 
This kind of visa is given to tourists who are visiting Israel for tourism, business meetings or studying in a Hebrew ulpan. They may not work in Israel. This visa is given to most tourists entering Israel.
The visa is generally given for up three months and can be extended in the Population Authority office for a cumulative period for various reasons, such as: family ties, a medical reason, a legal procedure.
There are tourists from various countries who can simply arrive at the airport (or another border crossing) in Israel and obtain a visa when entering Israel. However, tourists from other countries have to apply for a visa in advance at the Israeli embassy in their home country.  
Countries whose nationals are exempt from applying for a visa before arriving in Israel are listed in the Entry to Israel Order (for example: United States, Great Britain, France, Ukraine, Belgium, Russia and many others).

Please note : that in some cases, the border control authorities have the authority to prevent the entry to Israel even of citizens of countries who are exempt from a visa. Therefore, if there is any possibility that one will be refused entry (for example, in the case where the applicant previously stayed in Israel illegally), you should consult with an attorney before booking your flight. This may help an alien avoid the unpleasant situation of being imprisoned immediately upon arrival in Israel and then expelled.
 
B / 3 — Visa for dubious characters
 
A visa permit allowing a visit for one whose entry status and reasons for visiting are clouded in doubt.
The B/3 visa and visit permit is only valid for up to one month. Whoever received a B / 3 visa and visit permit should go to the Immigration and Population Bureau to clarify his status before the period of his visa runs out.
 
B / 4 — Visa for a volunteer. For the list of documents required to get this visa, click here. 
 
A visa granted to those wishing to volunteer in Israel (as opposed to paid work). An Israeli organization is entitled to file an application for this visa for a non-resident who is interested in volunteering for them.

 
Temporary Residency Visas (which all begin with the letter A)
 
A / 1 — For the list of documents required to get this visa, click here. 
 
(A potential immigrant) This visa is given to those eligible for an immigrant visa or immigrant certificate according to the Law of Return, and who want to stay in Israel to investigate the possibility and conditions of settling in Israel as an immigrant but who have not yet decided if they want stay in Israel permanently. The family members (wife, minor children) receive the identical status.
The visa is usually given for three years and can be extended at the Population Authority office for a cumulative period of up to five years.
Holders of these visas are allowed to work in Israel, and can get full benefits from Bituach Leumi like every Israeli resident after a waiting period. They can also register themselves in the Population Registry and get a temporary ID card. This visa does not obligate one to serve in the army.
 
A / 2 —  Student visa. For the list of documents required to get this visa, click here.
 
This visa is granted to those who wish to come to Israel to study (at an accredited institution in Israel) including elementary and high schools, academic institutions, yeshivot and youth institutions of the Jewish Agency. 
The visa is generally given for three years (and allows many entries to the country) and can be extended in the Population Authority office for an additional period.
A / 2 Visa holders are not allowed to work in Israel. Under certain conditions, A / 2 visa holder may work part-time. 
Holders of this visa are entitled to receive all the Bituach Leumi benefits after waiting the prescribed number of days. (To find out how many days he will have to wait, see our Guide to Bituach Leumi for Foreign Citizens.)
 
A / 3 — Religious cleric visa. For the list of documents required to get this visa, click here. 
 
a special permit for religious clerics who come to fill a position in a religious institution in Israel at the invitation of a recognized religious institution in Israel. After Israel has given the visa, the religious institution in Israel will be responsible to ensure his departure from Israel after he has concluded his duties. (A cleric coming to Israel who requires a visa and has come for the purpose of visiting, will receive a regular B / 2 visa.)
A religious cleric visa must first be given to the foreigner while he is still in his country. He cannot change his status to A / 3 when he is already in Israel.
A representative of the institution who wants to invite the cleric must come to government office and submit forms. A reply will be sent to the institution and the cleric through an Israeli representative abroad.
 
A / 4 — Companion visa. For the list of documents required to get this visa, click here. 
 
This visa is conferred on close relatives (only the spouse or a minor child) of clergy visa holders (A / 3) and student visa holders (A / 2).
 A / 4 visa holders are not permitted to work in Israel, but a companion to one who is eligible for the Law of Return will be allowed to work in Israel, subject to the special approval of the Ministry of Interior that will be noted in their visa.
 
A / 5 — For the list of documents required to get this visa, click here.
 
This is a general license for temporary residence, which is even given to foreigners (who are not eligible for the Law of Return) who are in the process of obtaining citizenship or permanent residency in Israel, mainly as a result of marriage to an Israeli citizen, or on humanitarian grounds. 
The visa is generally given for three years and can be extended for unlimited additional periods of up to two years at a time.
A / 5 visa recipients are entitled to get a temporary identity card.
A / 5 visa holders are allowed to work in Israel and receive all the Bituach Leumi benefits after the waiting period like any Israeli resident. They are not drafted to the army, and they get customs benefits.
A / 5 visa holders are not eligible to participate in the Knesset elections, but can participate in municipality elections where they are registered as a resident.

Please note : One who is living in Israel with one of the temporary resident permits described below (besides A/2-A/5-A/1), and wants to visit abroad and return to Israel, must get a returning entry visa (“Intervisa") from the Ministry of the Interior. If one didn’t equip himself with this return entry visa, his visa expires as soon as he leaves Israel.
 

Permanent visa for permanent residency
 
A permanent resident is a person whose permanent address is in the State of Israel and he is registered in the State of Israel’s Population Registry. A permanent resident is obligated in all the duties imposed by the State, including army service in IDF, and he is entitled to all the rights which the States gives (such as health insurance, freedom of occupation, and the right to vote in municipal elections).
A permanent resident has an Israeli identity card, he is entitled to all services from the state entities, and is obligated to pay taxes like every Israeli citizen.
Who is entitled to receive permanent residency status in Israel? A spouse of an Israeli citizen, a spouse of a permanent Israeli resident, one who received this status for special humanitarian reasons, and one who is eligible for Israeli citizenship but doesn’t want it.
 
A permanent resident differs from a citizen in that :
1. He is not permitted to vote in the Knesset elections.
2.  His Israeli residency may be cancelled if he settles in another country for more than seven years, or he received resident or citizen status in a different country.
3.  He is not entitled to an Israeli passport (but can get a travel pass). This limits his free entry to a number of countries, unless he submits a special application to the embassy of that country where he wants to travel.
4.  Children of permanent residents who were born in Israel will not automatically assume the status of their parents, in contrast to citizens.
 

Citizenship (Aliya) - For the Guide for an Immigrant, click here.
 
Citizenship is the highest status of Israeli residence. This status grants maximum rights and duties to the person who holds  it, and expresses the closest relationship between a person and the state. A foreigner who received Israeli citizenship is the same as someone who is an Israeli citizen by birth, and he is entitled to all the rights of every citizen, including voting in the Knesset and having an Israeli passport, as well as all the duties that apply to all Israeli citizens (e.g. military service).
Immigrants under the Law of Return (Jews and their families), as well as spouses married to Israeli citizens and their children, are entitled to Israeli citizenship.
An immigrant may have two different nationalities (double citizenship). An immigrant receives an absorption basket of benefits from various government ministries and is entitled to Bituach Leumi immediately without a waiting period.


How to receive a visa in Israeli offices
 
Good news for foreign citizens! 
A new branch opened in Jerusalem to issue visas (part of the time you don’t have to make an appointment and can just come). Har Choma branch in south Jerusalem
at: 25 Eliyahu Korn, Har Choma, Jerusalem
Opening hours: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday between 8:00-10:00 only.
All the forms that have to be filled out can be received from our office by email or fax.
An individual or a family up to 4 persons, after getting all the documents necessary to get a visa, has to set up an appointment with the Population and Immigration Authority close to their home in one of the following three ways:

* At their Internet website: for the link,click here.
* By telephone: *3450.
*  visit the branch closest to your home.
 
Please note: If there are two branches in the same city, you must indicate the branch you prefer.
 The time it takes to handle your application for an appointment at the website or by telephone is up to three days.
The Ministry of the interior will return your call from an unlisted number and you will not be able to call it back. Therefore, make sure you answer immediately when they call.
It may happen that because there is an overflow of people seeking appointments, that they will give you an appointment at a later date.

A family of 5 or more doesn’t have to set up an appointment in advance, but can go straight to the local Population and Immigration Authority branch and leave the necessary documents there. After two weeks, the branch will notify them when to come for their visas.
When a baby is born to the family, they don’t have to make an appointment in advance. The parents can take the newborn’s passport and birth certificate and go straight to the Ministry of the Interior.
A first degree relative can submit the documents for the family. For the first meeting, the one receiving an A-2 or A-3 visa must appear with family members.
One can obtain several of the visas listed below in the Israelite consulate located in your country before you arrive in Israel.


Contact information :
 
Population and Immigration Authority — Interior Ministry.
National information center —  to speak with a person.
Telephone inquiries: You can call from all mobile phone networks using this number: *3450
Phone line: 122223450
Citizens living abroad can call this phone number: +972-2-6294666
To send a fax: 02-6294755
To send an email: Info@piba.gov.il
Mail: Center for National Information Service, Population and Immigration Authority, 42 Agrippa St., Jerusalem, 94301.
 
Public relations :
Telephone inquiries: 02-6294701. Sunday through Thursday from 13:00 to 15:00.
To send a fax: 02-6294750.
Mail: for public relations. Population and Immigration Authority, 6 Mesilat Yesharim St., Jerusalem, 94584.
Questions and Answers:
When applying for a visa for myself or my wife, do my children under 18 need a separate visa application form
Answer:
No, but they must be included in the application made by the head of the family.
I would like to renew the visa only for my children. Do I have to fill out an application for each child separately
Answer:
If there are four or more persons you must fill out a family form.
My wife and I were given an appointment together to get our visa. Does my wife have to come with me
Answer:
Only the first time a couple is getting a visa do they have to come together.
The husband is an Israeli citizen and the wife is a foreign national (and not a student). What visa is best for her to stay legally in Israel
Answer:
Visa A / 1 or Visa A / 5.
Does one have to schedule an appointment for a visa at the Ministry of the Interior when a baby is born
Answer:
No.
How many members does a family have to have to dispense with an appointment for a visa
Answer:
Four or more persons.
One parent has Israeli citizenship and their infant was born in the country or abroad. Do the parents have to obtain a visa for the infant
Answer:
No, because the baby is an Israeli citizen by virtue of his place of birth. However, if he was born abroad, the parents have the option to cancel the baby's citizenship.
One of my parents has Israeli citizenship (without an Israeli passport). Can I receive a student visa
Answer:
No, because you are considered an Israeli citizen. However, it is possible to fill out a form to cancel your citizenship before you come to Israel.
I do not have a marriage certificate, only a kesubah. Can I get a visa to stay in Israel
Answer:
No, you must present an original marriage certificate.
I have a scanning and / or a copy of my marriage certificate. Can I get a visa to stay in Israel
Answer:
No, you must present an original marriage certificate.
Does the Interior Ministry recognize marriage certificates from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate
Answer:
Yes.
To get an "Entries and Exits" form, does one have to make an appointment with the Ministry of the Interior
Answer:
No.
Do both spouses have to come to get an "Entries and Exits" form
Answer:
Yes.
One of my parents is an Israeli citizen. Am I therefore considered an Israeli citizen
Answer:
Yes.
For how many generations does Israeli citizenship pass down
Answer:
Until four generations.
I do not have an original marriage certificate, only a kesubah. What should I do
Answer:
You must show a marriage certificate abroad or have one issued by the Israel Rabbinical Court in your area. See the Guide to Receive Israeli Marriage Confirmation.
My daughter is 18 + and not a student. What visa do you advise her to get
Answer:
It is best that she get a A / 1 or A / 5 visa.
Until what age are children considered as accompanying their parents, and eligible for a A/4 visa.
Answer:
Up to age 18.
I am married but didn’t get a marriage certificate. Can I get a student visa without it?
Answer:
Yes. For your wife and children to be issued an A / 4 visa, you need an original marriage certificate.
Does a person with a A / 1 or A / 5 visa have to do military service
Answer:
No.
I have a yeshiva student visa (B/2), and I want to be able to work. What should I do
Answer:
In addition to the required documents, you need permission from your school/yeshiva confirming that they allow you to work within the framework of your studies.
My wife wants a work visa in addition to her companion visa. What documents should she bring in addition to those required to obtain a standard visa
Answer:
1. Confirmation from a rabbi that she is Jewish. 2. An application from a workplace that wants to employ her.
I am a student who wants to cancel my current visa. How do I do it
Answer:
Go to the Ministry of Interior nearest to you, and show confirmation from the school where you studied that you finished studying there.
When renewing the visa for our new baby without an appointment, can I also take care of our visas
Answer:
No, the parents have to make a separate appointment.
During what hours can one get an Entries and Exits form from the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem
Answer:
Second Floor, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday from 8:00-12:00; Monday also from 14:30-17:00; Wednesday only between the hours of 13:30-17:00.
What are the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem’s reception hours to get a visa?
Answer:
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, from 8:00-12:00 (first floor).
What is the Ministry of Interior’s address to get a visa
Answer:
1 Shlomtzion Street, Jerusalem.
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