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Exemption from the Licensing Examination to Practice Dentistry in Israel

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

Exemption from licensing examination to practice dentistry in Israel

An exemption from taking the licensing examination to practice dentistry in Israel was approved by the Knesset as an amendment to the regulations of dentistry in 2016. The new regulations allow dentists to receive a practicing license without passing a long and exhausting practical and theoretical examination. The law was amended in response to the shortage of dentists in Israel, due to Israel’s highly demanding licensing examinations. A large number of doctors from European countries, especially France, failed to pass the examination. The failure was mainly due to a lack of preparatory courses in languages ​​other than Hebrew. Thus, the Knesset made the decision to allow demonstrated prior experience to suffice in place of the examination.

In order to receive the exemption, the applicant must prove that he has practiced dentistry for five full years during the last seven-year period (the period prior to submitting an application for exemption). In addition, the applicant must prove that the practice was in a qualified medical institution. This article by Advocate Michael Decker, a lawyer specializing in labor law and immigration to Israel in our law firm in Israel, explains the new regulations and their meaning.

Who Can Get an Exemption from the Israeli Licensing Exam?

Exemption from licensing examination to practice dentistry in Israel

The point of the amendment is to exempt experienced and professional foreign dentists from taking the examination. Those exempt cannot simply possess dental certification from a foreign country or have previously practiced dentistry abroad. The applicant must also show that he has been practicing dentistry for five full years in the last seven-year period in an accredited institution before being exempt from taking the Israeli licensing exam. Every part of these specifications is important for the exemption.

Obstacles to Obtaining the Exemption 

The exemption is issued by the director general of the Israeli Ministry of Health, and he ensures the applicant is certified to receive the exemption. The director general has broad discretion to grant or deny the exemption based on marginal circumstances. It is possible that someone who has been practicing dentistry for five years over the past nine-year period, with a break in the middle, will not be considered to have had five years of experience in the last seven years. The legitimacy of the institution in which the dentist practiced may be questioned. Practicing dentistry for four years and ten months may not be counted for the purpose of a full five-year experience.

What Documents Should Be Presented to Receive an Exemption from a License Exam?

The individual must provide documents proving the institution in which the applicant had practiced is legitimate and duly licensed. A legitimate institution in this case is a hospital with a permit to engage in clinical dentistry or a dental clinic. In addition, the individual must bring documents confirming that the applicant practiced in said institution(s) for at least five years. Such documents include a certificate of employment, pay slips, and registration of the employment in a work book, if that is customary in the country in which the dental practice took place.

Discretion Regarding the Decision by the Director of the Israeli Ministry of Health

As usual in Israeli legislation, the director who issues the exemption from a license exam has extensive discretion. He may request additional certifications that the applicant had prior experience in dentistry in a legitimate institution (for example, income tax reports). The director can consider a period of practice that is near to five years as equivalent to a full five-year period or as insufficient. He can request additional documents proving the applicant’s claims, at his discretion. The director can even contact the head of the institution in which the applicant practiced dentistry to receive more information.

The director may approve or deny the possibility of completing the required employment experience under the auspices of a licensed physician in Israel. In case there is no possibility of internship in Israel, the completion of the required work experience will be in the country of origin, which of course is very inconvenient.

Who Might Not Receive an Exemption from the Licensing Exam Despite Having the Necessary Qualifications? 

A doctor who has already taken a theoretical or practical exam and failed may not be exempt from the examination despite having the necessary qualifications. Even if he has all the relevant qualifications and experience, the failure in the examination means he cannot receive an exemption. Thus, the request for an exemption is in first priority in this case.

What Are the Options for Those Who Are Close to Meeting the Requirements but Are Not Exempted?

If the decision to deny your request for an exemption from the licensing examination to practice dentistry in Israel is based on an error by the director general or if the decision was unreasonable, given the circumstances of the case, judicial remedies are available. Decisions made by clerks in the Israeli Ministry of Health can be appealed internally and are subject to judicial oversight.

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If you were denied the exemption despite meeting the requirements and believe the decision to deny your exemption was materially wrong, we will happily assist you with information and legal assistance.

Please contact us for information regarding Exemption from licensing examination to practice dentistry in Israel and for legal assistance to immigrate and work in Israel.

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