The Procedure for Granting a B/2 Tourist Visa to Israel for Citizens of Countries that Need an Entry Visa to Israel in Advance

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The State of Israel as a sovereign state has the right to protect its borders. Israel allows the entry of visitors to the country as tourists according to the rules, regulations and procedures of the Israeli tourist visa laws. The country controls the entry of foreign citizens to Israel with an Israeli tourist visa. The Immigration Authority of the Ministry of Interior is responsible for the implementation of entry into Israel, and Israeli border control personnel may permit or deny the entry of tourists to the  land of Israel.

Israel has signed reciprocal agreements with many countries around the world which release citizens of these countries from the need to obtain a tourist visa to Israel in advance. However, for citizens of countries who have not signed this agreement with Israel, these tourists are required to obtain an Israeli tourist visa before entry to Israel.

In this article Advocate Joshua Pex, Israeli immigration lawyer from Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law office in Israel, describes the procedure for granting the B/2 tourist visa to Israel for visitors from those countries that have not signed the free visa agreement with Israel. These foreign citizens who wish to visit Israel as tourists on a tourist visa must be invited to Israel by way of official invitation from a local Israeli. Please note that only a citizen or permanent resident of Israel can invite foreign citizens from abroad to visit Israel.

Conditions and Requirements for Implementing the Procedure to Grant a Tourist Visa to Israel (B/2 visa for the purpose of visiting Israel as a tourist)

The Israeli who wants to place the invitation for the foreign citizen must submit a request to order a tourist visa in the Ministry of Interior office in his/her area of residence in the following cases:

  • There is no Israeli embassy in the country of the guest who is a foreigner.
  • The application was rejected by the Israeli consular service abroad.
  • The invited foreigner resided in Israel illegally in the past.
  • In the event of humanitarian cases, when the foreigner who has been invited to Israel is disabled, retired and so on.
  • The foreign visitor is a relative of the Israeli who is requesting the tourist visa to Israel.
  • A foreign businessman who is invited to Israel for a short business visit to Israel.

Illegal Residence in Israel after Expiration of the Visa to Israel

Foreign citizens who previously resided in Israel illegally will be limited in receiving an Israeli tourist visa, as follows:

1) A foreign citizen who has been deported from Israel cannot come back for 10 years from the date of deportation from Israel.

2) A foreign citizen who has been denied entry to Israel cannot return to Israel for 10 years from the date of refusal of entrance to Israel.

3) Those who were in Israel illegally for over 30 days and up to one year after their Israeli visa expired may only apply for an entry visa to Israel two years after the departure date.

4) A person who resided in Israel illegally for more than one year may submit the request to enter Israel only five years after the date of departure from the country.

5) A foreign citizen who has been invited to Israel for a judicial process or a National Insurance Claims Committee will be considered regardless of previous illegal residence in Israel.

Please note that despite the stringent conditions above, there are exceptions to the rule, in which cases you will be able to receive an entry visa to Israel as a tourist earlier than the specified time periods. The Director of the Ministry of Interior has the authority to allow entrance to Israel in special cases earlier than stipulated in the rules listed above.

Foreign Citizen Invitation to Israel (for court discussion, to attend a trial, or to appear before the Claims Committee of the Israeli National Insurance)

1) The invitation of a foreigner to Israel with a tourist visa is done through a power of attorney letter, authenticated and certified by the Israeli consulate.

2) The invitation to Israel request for an Israeli tourist visa must include a court order, summons to appear in court or documents which prove that the presence of the invited foreigner is necessary.

3) If the request to enter Israel on a tourist visa is approved, the foreign guest receives permission to enter the country for up to seven days under the condition of placing a bank guarantee for the Ministry of Interior.

4) If the Israeli who submitted the tourist visa to Israel invitation filed similar requests in the past, the Ministry of Interior will check whether those invited foreign citizens left the country in time, before the expiration of the visa. If not, the B/2 tourist visa to Israel request may be refused. Also, in this case, the Ministry of Interior clerks may require a higher bank guarantee.

This service of submitting the Israeli tourist visa request includes a fee paid by the Israeli when placing the invitation.

The Ministry of Interior Procedure for Handling an Application for a Tourist Visa to Israel (for a foreign citizen who was invited to Israel by an Israeli)

The Israeli who wants to invite the foreign citizen must meet the conditions and requirements of the procedure for granting a tourist visa to Israel, which are as follows

1) Personal presence of the Israeli submitting the invitation for the Israeli tourist visa (required).

2) Filling an application for an entry visa to Israel as a tourist.

3) If the person who is invited to Israel as a tourist is a minor, it is required to submit a written permission, signed by both parents (or else legal guardians) in the Israeli consulate abroad or in Israel.

4) If a foreign visitor to Israel comes from a country at risk, he/she must fill out an abbreviated CV form.

5) The Israeli person who places the Israeli tourist visa invitation is obligated to be responsible for the purpose and duration of the visit of his/her foreign citizen visitor.

6) The Israeli person who submits the invitation needs to bring a photocopy of his/her Israeli identity card.

7) The invited foreign visitor needs to submit a photocopy of the passport, including the entrance visas to the countries which he/she visited in the past.

8) The passport of the visitor to Israel must be valid for at least six months from the moment of departure from the country of residence.

9) Documents and certificates which indicate the relationship between the Israeli who requests the invitation and the foreign visitor (birth certificate, marriage certificate, letters, etc.)

10) Any other relevant document requested by the Israel Ministry of Interior clerks in order to approve the B/2 Israeli tourist visa request.

Approving or Refusing the Request for a Tourist Visa to Israel 

The representative from the Israeli Ministry of Interior who handles the tourist visa request will first of all check whether an application meets the conditions, or if some required documentation is missing. If documents are missing, the request will be rejected prior to its consideration. In this case, the Israeli who submitted the tourist visa request will be asked to provide the necessary documents according to the procedure.

If the Israel tourist visa request is submitted in accordance with the requirements of the procedure, but the Department of Visas and Immigration is not convinced that the goal of the visit is really as requested, or else there is a concern that the purpose of a visit is not for a visit as a tourist, or it seems that the foreign visitor wants to settle in Israel, the tourist visa request will be denied.

The notice on refusal to enter Israel as a tourist will be sent to the Israeli person who placed the invitation within 30 days of submitting the Israeli visa request with an explanation of the reasons for denial.

If a request for a tourist visa to Israel is approved, the resolution will be transferred to the Israeli consulate abroad in the country of the foreigner who is invited to Israel as a tourist. The Israeli consul may delay the confirmation of the visa if he/she has doubts. In this case the request will be reviewed again.

It should be noted that even after obtaining an Israeli tourist visa, the officials of the Ministry of Interior who work at the border control crossings to Israel (Ben Gurion Airport, for example) have the authority to prevent entrance to Israel for various reasons. The most common reason is that an official has concerns that the purpose for entrance to Israel is not tourism, but rather work or illegal residence in Israel.

For additional questions regarding immigration to Israel or concerning entry to Israel on a tourist visa, please contact us at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh.

 

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