Moving to Israel?
How to Get Your Visa for Israel
Before departing for Israel, you must obtain the right visa after having selected it from the appropriate visa category. The basic distinctions differentiate between visitors and people with a long-term visa, as well as between expatriates and Jewish immigrants.
Aliyah: Visas for Jewish Migrants Settling in Israel
You have the right to apply for an immigrant visa if you either have a Jewish mother or are an official convert to Judaism, which means that you are covered by the Law of Return (aliyah). The aliyah legislation harks back to the early days of Zionist settlement in Palestine and its plan to end the Jewish Diaspora. The first wave of aliyah immigration took place in the late 19thcentury when Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe fled persecution in their home countries.
Today, the Israeli government is pursuing an active immigration policy to support Israel’s position as the only majority Jewish state worldwide. If the Law of Return applies to you and you are interested in settling in Israel, you should contact the Global Service Center at the Jewish Agency for advice. They can help you with the application process for a temporary resident visa for new migrants at the nearest Israeli Embassy or Consulate.
Obtaining a Visitor Visa for Israel
As a regular traveler, for example on a short-term business trip or a fact-finding excursion for your future foreign assignment, you can stay in Israel on a visitor visa for up to three months. A visa extension may be possible, but you have to apply for it at one of the regional Ministry of Interior offices within the country.
However, Israel has visa exemption agreements with many countries, meaning that nationals of these states don’t need a visitor visa for a brief stay in the country. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a helpful list on their website.
If you still require a visitor visa, you need to present the following documents at your nearest Israeli Embassy or Consulate:
- your valid passport (original and copy)
- your completed visa application
- proof of sufficient financial funds
- a return ticket
- two passport photographs (5x5 cm)
- payment of the visa application fee
Applying for a Work Visa
If you are an expatriate on an intra-company transfer or with a job offer in Israel, you require both a work permit and a work visa in order to take up employment. To obtain these documents, follow those four steps:
- First, you must submit an application for a work permit with the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry. Since your employer acts as your sponsor, the company will often take care of the paperwork for you. The HR staff has to prove that there is no Israeli national suitable for the job, and they must provide information on the position, the proposed salary, your professional qualifications and background. The ministry will then issue a work permit recommendation for the Ministry of Interior (MOI).
- With the work permit, you can apply for a visa recommendation from the Office of the Population Registrar at the MOI. During this step, it’s important that you begin to arrange health insurance for the duration of your stay. This can often be done through your employer, although you may require a (additional) private healthcare plan.
- After getting the recommendation from the ministry, you can start the visa application at the nearest Israeli mission. Don’t forget to provide a certificate of good conduct, a medical exam (if required), two passport photographs, and a completed application form. You must also agree to have your picture and your fingerprints taken.
- With this work visa, you are allowed to enter Israel. However, the visa itself is usually valid for 30 days only. Make sure to go to the local MOI office and extend it on a yearly basis. A work visa usually enables you to live in Israel for up to five years. Your dependent family members normally get a secondary visa for the duration of your stay, but such visas do not include a work permit.
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