Guide to Customs Charges and Exemptions for Foreigners Entering Israel
For the benefit of web surfers, we prepared a detailed easy guide about customs charges and exemptions for foreign citizens entering Israel. This guide only applies to items that a person brings with him when he enters Israel. Anyone with a B/1, B/2, B/4, A/1, A/3 or A/4 visa is liable to pay tax.
What is Customs?
Customs- is a tax levied on the import or export of goods. Its main purpose is to protect domestic production against competing imports. It is a source of income for the state.
The tax is calculated as a percent of an object’s worth, called the VAT (Value Added Tax), or as a flat purchase tax called the fixed tax. Sometimes, when both are calculated together, it is called the mixed tax.
Customs lanes when you arrive in Israel
When you arrive in Israel after claiming your luggage, you exit the Arrival Hall through one of the following two lanes:
The Green Lane : You can go through the green lane and not have to pay tax only when you are carrying permitted personal effects of the kinds and quantities listed below. Your entering the green lane is a statement that you have only the permitted types and quantities of items prescribed by law.
Which items are exempt from tax in the Green Lane.
• Personal belongings - such as clothing, footwear, and personal toiletries, of the types and quantities that any person might bring.
• Wines and beverages - up to 1 liter of an alcoholic beverage and 2 liters of wine for a person aged 18 and over.
• Alcoholic perfumes - up to ¼ liter per person.
• Tobacco of any kind - whose weight does not exceed 250 g, up to 200 cigarettes in one packet for persons 18 years and older.
• New items for personal use or as a gift for another person, whose worth does not exceed $200 (US) - for each person entering, age two and older.
The exemption is individual for each person, and one can not combine the amounts of those entering Israel together to get a tax exemption for an object worth more than $200.
The tax duty on an object whose value is more than $200, is for the full value of the object instead of the amount over $200.
• Used objects for personal use that belong to the passengers, such as a camera, camcorder, laptop, TV, personal jewelry, musical instruments, baby stroller, sports equipment, non-motor bike, etc.
• Food - up to three types of food, as long as they don’t exceed 1 kg of each type.
Note : The tax exemption for the personal effects mentioned above which allow you to pass through the green lane is only if you brought the items with you when you arrived in Israel. In other cases, you must go through the red lane
The Red Lane : If you have items which you have to declare and pay taxes for, you have to go through the Red Lane. If you aren’t sure which lane to go to, go to the Red Lane!
Paying taxes - If you are liable to pay the full amount of taxes for example on new items that are not exempt from taxes (a new personal computer, a video camera) or similar non-exempt items, you will be charged the applicable taxes before customs clearance.
Remember! The Israel Tax Authority determines the tax based on an item’s value as it appears in its price lists, which serve as their reference. If the person entering shows a purchase receipt whose value is less than 20% of the value as it appears in the Customs price list, the value of the object will be calculated according to the Customs price list and not as it appears in the item’s purchase invoice.
Deposit Guarantee - If you are interested in taking the item out of Israel when you leave, you can pay a cash or credit card guarantee in lieu of the customs fee. The guarantee is a deposit, and will be refunded when the items are removed from Israel on time. The guarantee will be forfeited and you will be charged only if you do not remove the items at the set time.
Remember! Importing objects and / or amounts against the law, is a criminal offense for which you will pay an administrative penalty or face prosecution, and / or confiscation of goods.
Items forbidden to import
Objects absolutely forbidden to import to Israel include:
• A knife, except for a pocket knife, a knife designated for use with your profession, or for household purposes, or any other legitimate purpose.
• A laser speedometer jammer.
• Firearms that appear like a pen or starting pistol, or that operate on gas, etc.
• A tear gas canister that looks like a firearm.
• Prohibited gambling / lottery games.
• Explosives and flammable substances, and similar dangerous objects.
• Live creatures such as poisonous snakes.
• Tools used in the preparation or consumption of a dangerous substance.
• Break-in or indecent items.
• Forged and counterfeit coins and documents.
• Dangerous toys.
• Objects that may incite violence, terrorism or racism.
• Objects that show identification or sympathy with terrorist groups.
Objects whom an authorized authority must approve for import
There are objects that must meet the criteria set by an authorized authority to be imported, such as:
• Gas grill (barbecue) - if certified by the Standards Institute.
• Mobile phone - with the approval of the Ministry of Communications.
• Motorized scooter - if certified by the Ministry of Transport.
• Meat, milk, and fresh fish - with the approval of the Ministry of Health.
• Fruits, vegetables, and plants - if certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
• Drugs - with the approval of the Ministry of Health.
• Raw materials - with the approval of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Sometimes they will require an individual import authorization / license. To clarify the criteria, you should check with the relevant authorized authority.
Conditions for bringing or sending money in and out of the country
According to the Law of Return, when an immigrant enters Israel the first time, he has to report if he has 100,000 NIS or more.
He must fill in a "Money entry and exit report" form (Customs Form 84). You can get a sample form at our office or download it here.
You can also receive the form at any one of the customs branches and customs units at border crossings.
Note : The Anti-Money Laundering Act stipulates that any large sum of money beyond what is permitted by law that enters the territory of Israel must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Authority. Although the entry of large amounts of cash is not a criminal offense, bringing in capital without reporting it is a criminal offense.
The obligation to report applies to both bringing money in and taking money out of Israel. Anyone who violates the reporting requirement is liable to six months imprisonment or a fine.
When you remove the money from Israel, you must submit the form prior to taking the money out of Israel.
When you bring the money to Israel, you must submit the form within 72 hours from receipt of the money
Below is a list of Customs branches :
Jerusalem Customs branch — 66 Kanfei Nesharim, Jerusalem. 02-6545555.
Center Customs branch — 3A Israel Galili, Rishon Lezion. 03-9421666.
Haifa Customs branch — Port Gate 3, Haifa. 04-8354811.
Ashdod Customs branch — 2 HaBanaim St., Forum Building, Ashdod. 08-8510610.
Ben Gurion Airport Customs branch — Ben Gurion Airport, Lod. 03-9751111.
Eilat Customs branch — Eilat port, Eilat. 08-6383888.
Questions and Answers:
I have a tourist visa. Do I have to pay customs duties
I have an item that is worth over two hundred dollars. What tax rate do I have to pay
An item worth more than two hundred dollars will be charged the full tax value.
How do they determine the value of an object for tax payment
According to the Customs value price list.
I left a guarantee for the items that I brought with me from abroad. When will I get my guarantee back
When you leave Israel, your guarantee will be returned to you after you show the items to the customs officer.