Traveling to or from Israel? Here’s what you need to know

Shante Abdo

I am an Israeli citizen/permanent resident. Can I leave the country freely?

Israeli citizens are allowed to leave Israel without limitations, with one exception: they are forbidden to visit a list of countries under a travel ban in light of their high morbidity. Currently the group includes Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa, and the list is updated every two weeks. Those who wish to visit these nations are required to apply for a permission from the special governmental committee devoted to this purpose (here). If they don’t, they can receive a fine. Layovers of less than 12 hours are allowed, provided that the passenger does not leave the airport.

I am not an Israeli citizen/permanent resident. Can I leave the country?

All those who found themselves in Israel can leave the country. However, those who are not citizens or permanent residents might face challenges in re-entering Israel (see below).

My children are not vaccinated or recovered. Can they leave the country?

Yes. Once again, the question is what they will be required to do when they re-enter (see quarantine requirements below).

Do I need to get a corona test before I fly?

Israel only requires people who do not have a vaccination or recovery certificate issued by the Health Ministry to get tested before flying (here). The test has to be taken within 72 hours from departure, at the expense of the traveler. The results have to be in English and carry the passport number of the travelers.

However, it is important to check also the requirements of the airline, of the country of destination and the country of transit (if applicable), as they often demand some form of testing regardless of what Israeli regulations ask. Failing to comply with these requirements will likely prevent you from boarding the plane, as usually airlines check the relevant documentation at check in.

Passengers are going to be asked to show a vaccination/recovery certificate or a negative PCR test at the entrance of the airport.

Where can I get tested before flying out?

Outbound travelers are required to pay for their own tests. The cheapest option is the Check2Fly Lab at Ben Gurion, which offers results within 14 hours for NIS 45 and within four hours for NIS 134 (here)

Recently, the company AID Genomics launched a service for NIS 99 tests with results in 24 hours. The tests are offered at several Bikkur Rofeh clinics – a network of private emergency medical centers – across the country.

Also some pharmacies from the chain pharmacy Be offer the service at the price of NIS 139 (for more information).
In addition, the Health Ministry’s website carries a list of hospitals that offer the service (here) and it states that the test cannot cost more than NIS 297. However, in some cases taking the test at a hospital can be even more expensive.

Do I need to fill a form before exiting Israel?

No. Since June 1, passengers who leave Israel are not required to fill out an exit statement as they used to.

I am an Israeli citizen/resident. Can I travel to Israel?

Yes, Israeli citizens and residents are allowed to travel to Israel without asking for a special authorization from the Israeli authorities – even if they are not vaccinated or recovered (or if they are but the documentation is not issued by the Health Ministry). However, they are demanded to comply with several regulations before flying and after landing (see below).

I am not an Israeli citizen/resident. Can I travel to Israel?

At the moment, foreign nationals are only allowed to enter Israel with a permission from the Population and Immigration Authority or the Foreign Ministry. These authorizations are granted only in specific circumstances and through specific procedures. Those who do not have the authorization from the Israeli authorities will likely not be allowed to board the plane. Once granted, the authorization is only valid for two weeks.

Those who live or have visited countries under travel ban – Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa – are not allowed to enter.

Will foreign nationals be able to travel to Israel on July 1?

Not any more. Starting from July 1, vaccinated individual travelers from countries considered “low risk” according to criteria set by the Health Ministry were supposed to be able to enter Israel without the need of a preliminary approval by the country’s authorities. However, in light of the increase in morbidity, the date has been postponed to August 1.

The exact criteria and regulations that will need to be met for this purpose have not been announced yet. According to what has been officially announced so far – by the Interior Ministry – only vaccinated individuals and children 0-6 whose parents are vaccinated will be able to enter Israel.

Who are the foreign nationals who can apply for an approval to enter Israel at the local Israeli consulate or at the Office of the Population Authority?

Those who live or have visited countries under travel ban in the previous two weeks – Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa – are not going to be given permission to enter – unless they hold a A1, A5 or B1 visa, or they are foreign workers vaccinated in Israel.

For people from other countries:

Only vaccinated or recovered:
Vaccinated or recovered foreign nationals who have a first degree relative in the country with their spouse and children; Researchers or lecturers who are invited by an Israeli academic institution.

Regardless of coronavirus immunity status:

Parents of a bride or a groom prior to their wedding; first degree relative of a lone soldier or a National Civil Service volunteer; spouses of an Israeli citizen and their minor children provided that the marriage is registered in Israel and there is proof of a genuine relationship; foreign nationals who are set to marry an Israeli after a marriage application has been submitted to the relevant authority in Israel; children of an Israeli citizen living in Israel and a foreign national; first degree mourners to attend a funeral (for less than 24 hours); and foreign students who began their studies in Israel

Special application process:

– Yeshiva students, participants in programs offered by Masa, Naale and Birthright, and tourists who are members of groups authorized by the Tourism Ministry receive permission to enter the country through the institutions they are affiliated with.
– In special circumstances, an Israeli company can invite a vaccinated foreign businessman (here). Israeli organizations can invite athletes and artists subject to the recommendation of the Culture and Sport Ministry.

– Experts deemed essential by an Israeli ministry can also be authorized – their employer is required to fill the application.

– Those who need to come to Israel for lifesaving medical procedures need a letter from a hospital’s director or deputy director.

– Foreign workers and caregivers will be allowed in according to the normal procedures.

Who are first degree relatives?

Parents, spouses, children and siblings are first degree relatives, grandparents and grandchildren, uncles, aunts and cousins are not.

I have a first degree relative in Israel and I’m vaccinated/recovered. How can I apply to receive an authorization to enter Israel?

The instructions for foreign nationals with a first degree relative in Israel – and their spouse and children – to apply and receive permission to enter Israel are published on the Population and Immigration Authority’s website (here). The process is supposed to take seven days.
The application can be submitted to the relevant Israeli consulate where the foreign citizens who wish to travel (here) or the local office of the Population Authority in Israel (here is a list of the relevant branches). Some offices require to go there for an appointment in person, other to send an email.

According to the Population and Immigration Authority, the documents required are:

– Copy of passport(s);

– Copy of relative’s Israeli ID

– Proof of relationship with the Israeli citizen/resident (for example a birth certificate for parents/children)

– Vaccination/recovery certificates

– Health insurance covering COVID

– A quarantine statement (here)

According to the website, the documents proving the family relationship are required to carry an apostle. However, it is important to take note of the fact that many of the offices processing the applications do not require the apostle any more.

However, based on several first-hand experiences they might have additional requirements such as:

– Copy of plane tickets

– Translation or certified translation of vaccination/recovery certificate, or proof of family relations in English or Hebrew (for those who come from non-English speaking countries)

– An additional form (here).

– That the application is not submitted earlier than two weeks prior to the entry date

For this reason, it might be advisable to contact the office where one wishes to apply to check about their specific requirements.

I’m traveling to Israel and I’m vaccinated/recovered. Do I need to get tested before flying?

Yes. Israel requires anyone who has been abroad for more than 72 hours and is traveling to the country to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours before departure regardless of their vaccination or recovery status. An exception to this rule can be granted on humanitarian basis by the special governmental Exceptions Committee (LINK The results of the test need to be in English and carry the traveler’s passport number. The airline personnel will check the results before passengers are allowed to board.

I’m an Israeli citizen traveling to Israel. What documents do I need to present at the airport?

The negative PCR test and an entry statement, filled out no earlier than 24 hours before departure (here).

I’m a foreign citizen. What documents do I need to present at the airport?

The negative PCR test, the entry permit certified by the Population and Immigration Authority and an entry statement filled out no earlier than 24 hours before departure (here). It might also be useful to carry a copy of health insurance covering COVID.

I have heard that all passengers need to be tested upon arrival. Is this true?

Yes, all travelers arriving to Israel, regardless of their citizenship or their vaccination/recovery status are required to undergo a test at Ben-Gurion Airport’s testing complex, at their own expense. Since June 15, the complex is operated by FEMI. The test costs NIS 80 for those who pay in advance and NIS 100 for those who pay on the spot at the airport. You can pay for the test here. A NIS 3,500 fine will be given to those who do not comply with the requirement.

I have a vaccination/recovery certificate from the Health Ministry. I do not need to enter quarantine, do I?

Incoming travelers who hold a vaccination/recovery certificate from the Health Ministry are generally not required to quarantine, unless they visited one of the countries under travel ban – Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa. Those who have, do need to enter isolation, even if they are vaccinated or recovered. Layover of less than 12 hours do not count as long as travelers did not leave the airport.

In addition, starting from June 23, vaccinated or recovered individuals could be ordered to quarantine by health authorities if they traveled on the same plane with an identified virus carrier.

My spouse and I are vaccinated/recovered. Do my children need to enter quarantine?

Yes, unless they are vaccinated or recovered themselves. Every individual who is not vaccinated or recovered is required to quarantine after coming back from abroad, regardless of age. A NIS 5,000 fine can be given to those who do not comply with the requirement, including children over 12 who break the quarantine and parents of children under 12 who breach the quarantine.

I am vaccinated/I recovered abroad. Do I need to quarantine?

Those who do not hold a vaccination/recovery certificate from the Health Ministry are required to enter isolation upon their arrival, even if they were vaccinated or recovered abroad. However, they can undergo a serological test to prove the presence of antibodies in their body.

The test needs to be performed at a laboratory recognized by the Health Ministry.

After receiving the results, travelers have to apply to the Health Ministry to be released from quarantine and wait for an SMS or an email that confirms that they are released.

I am not vaccinated/recovered and I have to quarantine. How long is that?

The isolation duration is counted from the time of arrival in Israel and lasts 13 full days + the hours remaining until 12 a.m. on the 14th day (regardless of the start time of the isolation). The isolation can be shortened to ten days if a second PCR test is taken on the 9th day after arriving in Israel, provided that both tests are negative.

Is quarantine for children shorter?

No, children who need to quarantine are required to isolate for as long as adults.

I’m traveling to Israel, do I need to wear a mask when I travel?

Yes. Israel requires you to wear a mask on the plane and at the airport.

If I enter Israel through its land borders, do the requirements change?

No, the requirements and forms are the same also for those entering Israel from its land borders.

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