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Israeli Innovation Visa – New Opportunity to Establish a Start-Up Company

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

What Is the Israeli Innovation Visa?

The Israeli innovation visa is offered as part of a new pilot program which deals with the entry visa and residence permit applications of foreign entrepreneurs who wish to develop innovative ideas in Israel. This program was developed by Israel’s Ministry of Economy in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Immigration and Population Authority, and the National Authority of Innovation.

The Purpose of the Israeli Innovation Visa Program

Israeli Innovation Visa - New Opportunity to Establish a Start-Up Company

The Israeli innovation visa was designed to attract foreign entrepreneurs to contribute to strengthening Israel’s high-tech industry. The goal is to establish Israel’s position in the global arena by making it an international center for innovation. The purpose of the program is to support foreign investors and entrepreneurs who are interested in developing their ideas in Israel in accordance with the rules set by the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy.

Who Is Eligible for an Innovation Visa to Israel?

Foreign entrepreneurs who apply for an entry visa and/or residence permit to Israel and are interested in the advancement of technological initiatives in Israel can submit a request to be recognized as a Foreign Technological Entrepreneur to the Office of the Israeli Chief Scientist.

IMPORTANT: Only those who qualify and are approved to be recognized as Foreign Technological Entrepreneurs will become suitable candidates for the Israeli innovation visa granted by the Immigration and Population Authority alone.

What Does the Program Have to Offer?

The program offers foreign entrepreneurs in the technological field a new type of visa called the B/2 innovation visa. The visa offers the individual a period of stay in Israel for up to two years. During this time the entrepreneur will begin a new innovation project in Israel under the professional support and logistics of the Israeli Authority of Innovation.

The entrepreneur must only work on his project during his stay period while in the first stage of the innovation visa to Israel. If the new project is successful and becomes a product, the foreign entrepreneur can apply for an Israeli expert visa (type B/1 work visa) which will grant him a work and stay permit in Israel. During this time he can develop the project further or even bring it all the way to marketing and sales.

The Process for Issuing the Israeli Innovation Visa

Israeli Innovation Visa

After an applicant’s request to be recognized as a Foreign Technological Entrepreneur is approved, the Ministry of Economy will notify the Immigration and Population Authority at the Israeli Ministry of Interior Department of Immigration that will then consider the applicant for a B/2 type innovation visa residence permit. Approved entrepreneurs from countries whose citizens must obtain an entry visa in advance will receive the permit from Israeli representatives abroad. Entrepreneurs from countries whose citizens are exempt from this requirement will be allowed to enter Israel on a thirty-day B/2 type visitor’s permit and must obtain their innovation visa permit from the Office of the Regional Authority before the thirty-day period expires.

The suggested route of the Authority of Innovation will be given to only 12 applicants, to whom visas are granted only if they meet all of the requirements. Applications may be submitted from February 26 until March 26, 2017.

The Authority of Innovation’s requirements for granting the Israeli innovation visa are:

  1. The foreign entrepreneur (one person) is not an Israeli citizen or has an Israeli residency.
  2. A technological idea (start-up) seeks logistic and professional support in order to turn it into a product.
  3. Background and experience of a minimum of two years in the new innovative suggested idea.
  4. A business plan in which the entrepreneur details the idea and his needs for development.

Israeli Innovation Visa Validity Period and Granting Extensions

The Israeli innovation visa will be valid for a period of time which will be recommended by the Office of the Chief Scientist and will not exceed twenty-seven cumulative months. This limited period applies from the date the permit is granted. It is possible for the entrepreneur to get an extension. An extension request must be submitted to the Office of the Regional Authority three months prior to the expiration of the permit.

Is an Israeli Innovation Visa a Work Permit?

The Israeli Innovation Visa is not a work permit but rather a permit to visit Israel and develop the idea approved by the Office of the Chief Scientist. However, after two years on an Israeli innovation visa, an entrepreneur might desire to continue to develop the approved technological venture while employed or by starting a new business in Israel as a shareholder. In order to do this, the entrepreneur must be recognized by the corporation as an expert in the business initiative. If this request is approved, he must submit a request to receive a B/1 expert residence permit at least three months prior to the expiration of the innovation visa. The work permit is granted by the Immigration and Population Authority and is subject to recommendation of the Office of the Chief Scientist.

Does the Israeli Innovation Visa Apply to Family Members?

If an entrepreneur wishes to come to Israel with family members, applications must be submitted for them in accordance with tourist reservation procedures. This applies only to immediate family members including a spouse and children up to the age of 18.

Cancellation of the Israeli Innovation Visa

The Population and Immigration Authority and the Israeli Consul reserve the right to cancel a permit, subject to a hearing, for any of the following reasons:

  1. Noncompliance to laws, regulations, and/or procedures.
  2. Withholding necessary information.
  3. A public authority’s recommendation to cancel the permit is found justified.

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We would be happy to assist entrepreneurs who are interested in arranging for an innovation visa to Israel at any stage of their proceedings with the Population and Immigration Authority.

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