Guide for Tourists Importing or Purchasing Vehicle
For the benefit of web surfers, we prepared a detailed easy guide on how to import a car from abroad or purchase it in Israel. A tourist is exempt from paying taxes on a private vehicle up to 3500 kilogram if the number of passengers besides the driver does not exceed 8, a motorcycle or a tow truck whose weight doesn’t exceed 3500 kilogram (according to tow truck permits). He will need the following conditions and documents.
|A tourist can import a vehicle under these conditions:|
• A tourist is exempt from paying taxes for three months beginning from his date of entry into Israel, provided the vehicle is for his personal and / or family use (but not for business).
• He may not allow anyone else to use the vehicle (even a tourist) until his period of eligibility ends, whether or not he receives remuneration for such use.
• The import and vehicle documents must be listed only on the tourist’s name, i.e. on the name of the student tourist instead of on his wife’s name. Nevertheless, the spouse of the tourist may drive the vehicle without him.
• Another person may drive the tourist’s vehicle, provided that the tourist or his/her spouse is in the car with him.• There is no limit to the age of the imported vehicle, as long as it is not registered in Israel.
|The period that one may retain a vehicle in Israel and the amount of the guarantee one has to pay depends on the kind of tourist as follows:|
• For a B / 2 visa tourist :
|Importing a vehicle from abroad — One who imports a vehicle doesn’t have to pay taxes or deposit a "financial guarantee" to secure the payment of taxes for a period of up to six months or until the date on which his entry visa expires (whichever comes first). In some cases, depending on the customs official’s decision (usually to a request to extend the period), the customs officer may demand a bank guarantee to ensure that the import taxes be paid.
Purchasing a vehicle in Israel — One who purchases a vehicle must deposit a bank guarantee equal to the applicable taxes to ensure the payment of taxes for a period of six months, or until such time as his entry visa expires (whichever comes first).
In certain cases, at the discretion of the customs officers, the tourist may be required to pay a bank guarantee equal to "all the taxes" applicable to the vehicle, to ensure payment of import duties.
• A tourist with A / 3 cleric visa who is importing or purchasing a vehicle abroad - The religious institution where they are serving must provide a financial guarantee to ensure that taxes will be paid on it. In the event the vehicle was not removed at the “end of his period of service in the institution" or the applicable taxes were not paid on it, the guarantee will be expropriated.
• A tourist that is a foreign journalist or photographer (that bears a press badge from the Government Press Office) who is importing or purchasing a vehicle abroad - His employer (if he is an Israeli employer) must provide a financial guarantee and a commitment to pay the applicable taxes on it. In the event the vehicle was not removed at the end of the “employment period" or the applicable taxes were not paid on it, the guarantee will be expropriated.
• A tourist who has an entry visa, a B / 1 work visa, or a B / 4 volunteer visa - will have to provide a "bank guarantee" of the amount of 100% of the taxes applicable to the vehicle to guarantee the payment of taxes. In the event the vehicle was not removed or the applicable taxes were not paid on it, the guarantee will be expropriated.
|What Is A Bank Guarantee?|
|Additional conditions regarding entitlement to import and / or purchase a vehicle in Israel:|
|• If you want to leave the country within your period of eligibility without your vehicle and will return to Israel before the end of your vehicle’s tax exemption period, you can leave your car in Israel provided you notify the customs collector in your area in writing about the whereabouts of the vehicle while you are abroad.
• At the end of the period of eligibility, you are not permitted to transfer ownership of a vehicle from tourist to tourist, but must remove it from Israel immediately or pay the full amount of due taxes.
• If you removed the vehicle from Israel during the period of eligibility and returned to Israel with the vehicle within the period of eligibility, your eligibility is not canceled.
However, if you removed the vehicle from Israel during the period of eligibility and returned to Israel after the period of eligibility, you will again be entitled to a tax exemption only if you spent at least three consecutive months abroad with the vehicle from the end of the previous period of eligibility.
• If you utilized the period of eligibility, you can not utilize another period of eligibility (even on a different car), unless you left Israel for at least three consecutive months.
• If the vehicle was lost, stolen, burned during your days of entitlement, you have to pay all the applicable taxes, so you should take care to insure the vehicle’s full value, including all applicable taxes.
• A vehicle imported from abroad which is for the use of a person who is a permanent resident abroad, shall be exempt from Israeli license plates up to a year from the day that the vehicle entered Israel.
If the tourist left for a full year before the end of the vehicle’s year’s stay in Israel, he will retain his permanent resident abroad status, and will be exempted from getting an Israeli license plate again for another year.
|Other Conditions Under Which You May Register A Vehicle In Israel After The Permitted Period:|
It is essential to submit the request to register the vehicle a month before the permitted period comes to an end.
|* You paid the full sum of applicable taxes when you registered the vehicle in Israel
* when you registered the vehicle in Israel
* It was less than 48 months after the vehicle was manufactured or 24 months in the case of a motorcycle.
* You affixed Israeli license plates to it and
* You received a import permit and complied with the standards of the Department of Standardization in the Ministry of Transportation.
|The documents required for importing or purchasing a vehicle, or extending the period it can remain in Israel. Click here to print.|
|• A valid passport and visa.
• A valid foreign driver's license in the name of the tourist or his spouse which is valid in Israel for the imported vehicle.If you are required to convert your foreign license to an Israeli one, you will have to show your Israeli driver’s license. To convert a foreign license, see the Guide to Converting a Driver’s License.
• A valid foreign vehicle license in the name of the tourist or his spouse.
• A money or bank guarantee if required.
• Certification of quality maintenance and a vehicle license from the Drivers’ Licensing Office if requested.
• A valid motor insurance certificate.
• License plates for the imported vehicle (from the country of origin).
• A tourist student — confirmation of his studies from the educational institution.
• A tourist cleric — confirmation of his position from the religious institution and a commitment that all conditions will be kept.
• A tourist reporter — confirmation of his position by his employer and a commitment that all conditions will be kept and the presentation of a valid certificate from the Government Press Office.
• Detailed explanation in the case of a request to extend the period.
• Fill out a Personal vehicle importer statement form (Form 21). You can get a sample form in our office or download it here.
For information in Israel, go to the Customs office nearest where you live.
When abroad, you can write to these Customs offices:
If you are in the U.S. — the Haifa Custom office.
If you are in Europe — the Ashdod Customs office.
If you are in other countries — the Central Customs office.
You can also send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.