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Guide for Tourists Importing or Purchasing Vehicle

A tourist who wants to import a personal vehicle from abroad or purchase a motor vehicle in Israel is exempt from paying taxes.

A motor vehicle — is a motorcycle or car whose weight does not exceed 3.5 ton.

Personal import — this means a private person who imports goods for his personal use and not for commerce or resale.

A tourist can import a vehicle under these conditions :

A tourist can benefit from the tax exemption 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).

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.

There is a difference between the types of tourists regarding how long the vehicle may remain in Israel, and the guarantee fee that the tourist has to provide :

For a regular B / 2 visa tourist :

Importing a vehicle from abroad — One who imports a vehicle must 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).

The customs officer has the authority to demand "bank guarantee" deposit equal to the applicable taxes.

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).

The guarantee is to ensure the payment of taxes and will be returned only after the vehicle is removed from Israel at the requisite time. The guarantee will be collected only if you are unable to meet your obligation to remove the vehicle from Israel at the requisite time.

At the end of 6 months from the date of the vehicle’s release (its import or purchase in Israel), you must remove the vehicle from Israel, or request an extension to keep him in Israel for a period of up to six additional months, subject to your entry visa’s validity.

If the extension is approved, you will be required to leave a bank guarantee equal to the amount of taxes until the end of the extension period.

For a tourist with a A / 2 Visa student visa :

He is required to provide a bank guarantee equaling 30% of the taxes due on the vehicle to ensure payment of taxes if the vehicle was not removed at the “end of the period of studies" or the applicable taxes were not paid on it.

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.

For tourists with A / 3 cleric visa :

The religious institution where they are serving must provide a financial guarantee, and the commitment to pay the taxes due on it if the vehicle was not removed at the “end of the period of service in the institution" or the applicable taxes were not paid on it.

For a tourist that is a journalist :

His employer (if he is an Israeli employer) must provide a financial guarantee and a commitment to pay the applicable taxes if the vehicle was not removed at the end of the “employment period" or the applicable taxes were not paid on it.

What is a bank guarantee?

You put a cash deposit in the bank in trust for those who request it, and in return, the bank issues you a document confirming that you deposited money as a guarantee for those who requested it, and the bank sends Customs their authorization that the guarantee deposit is being held in trust for them.

Additional conditions regarding entitlement to import and / or purchase a vehicle

•  If you want to leave the country within your period of eligibility 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.

•  A tourist who utilized the period of eligibility can not utilize another period of eligibility (even on a different car), unless he was outside of Israel for at least three consecutive months.

•  If the vehicle was lost, stolen, burned during his days of entitlement, he has to pay all the due taxes, so he should take care to insure the vehicle’s full value, including all applicable taxes.

•  The vehicle must be designated for personal use only, and one may not transfer  to someone else’s use before the end of the eligibility period, whether with or without remuneration.

•  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, his will retain his permanent resident abroad status, and will be exempted from getting an Israeli license plate again for another year.

•  After the period of the benefit, you have to remove the vehicle from Israel.

If you want to pay the due taxes, it is possible under the following conditions:

When it was registered in Israel, it was less than 48 months after the vehicle was manufactured, Israeli license plates were installed, and one received an import permit from the Department of Standardization in the Ministry of Transportation.

What documents are required for importing or purchasing a vehicle, and to extend the period it can remain in Israel? Click here to print.

If you want to import or purchase a vehicle in Israel without paying taxes, or extend the period you can leave the vehicle in Israel beyond the permitted time, you should contact the Customs Dept. and show them the following documents:

•  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 lived in Israel more than a year, you have to show your Israeli driver’s license. To convert a foreign license, see the Guide to Converting a Driver’s License.

•  A bank guarantee if required.

•  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.

Contact information

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:
How long can I utilize my rights for customs benefits
Answer:
Up to three months from the date of entry into Israel.
Can someone else drive a tourist’s car
Answer:
Someone else is allowed to drive the tourist’s car, provided the tourist and his wife are with him in the car.
Does a student tourist have to leave a guarantee
Answer:
One has to leave a financial guarantee and in addition may be required to leave a bank guarantee.
If I want to leave Israel within the period of my eligibility, and will return to Israel before the end of the vehicle’s exemption period, can I leave the car in Israel
Answer:
You must notify in writing to the customs officer in your area on the whereabouts of your vehicle while you are abroad.
At the end of the eligibility period, may one tourist transfer the ownership of his vehicle to another tourist
Answer:
No, you have to remove it immediately from Israel or pay full taxes.
I removed the vehicle from Israel during my eligibility period and returned to Israel with the vehicle within my eligibility period. Will I lose my eligibility
Answer:
No.
I removed the vehicle from Israel during my eligibility period and returned to Israel after my eligibility period ended. Can I again bring a car exempt from taxes
Answer:
Yes, you are again entitled to a tax exemption provided that the vehicle was abroad with you for at least three consecutive months from the end of your previous eligibility period.
My vehicle was lost, stolen, set on fire during my eligibility period. Do I have to pay any of the applicable taxes
Answer:
Yes, so you should take care to insure the full value of the vehicle, including all the applicable taxes.
Does the vehicle have to be for personal use only
Answer:
Yes, you may not let the vehicle be used by someone else before the end of the eligibility period, whether with or without remuneration.
Is my vehicle exempt from Israeli license plates
Answer:
One is exempt from getting Israeli license plates for one year from the day the vehicle entered Israel.
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