Legal Status for Medical Reasons in Israel
Who is eligible for legal status in Israel for medical reasons? What status do you receive in the event of a medical emergency and how is such an emergency defined? Is a person who comes to Israel for medical treatment allowed to work during their stay?
Our law firm specializes in representing clients before the Ministry of Interior, asylum applications, obtaining visas, visas to Israel, and legal status in Israel. This article details how legal status for medical reasons can be obtained in Israel and what the conditions of a medical visa are.
What is the Definition of Legal Status for Medical Reasons?
There are two separate definitions that this article addresses. On the one hand, there is the official definition of legal status due to a “medical emergency.” Having this status prevents the deportation of a resident in Israel, including illegal residents.
On the other hand, there are foreign citizens who come to Israel for medical treatment. There is no special visa for these citizens, who enter Israel with a B/2 tourist visa. However, they too sometimes have special needs.
What “Medical Emergency” Prevents the Deportation of an Asylum Seeker?
According to the Patients’ Rights Law, a “medical emergency” is defined as “circumstances in which a person is in immediate danger to his life or there is an immediate danger that a person will be caused an irreversible severe disability if he is not given urgent medical treatment.” If a foreign citizen residing in Israel, including an illegal resident, is under a medical emergency, and has medical documents in his possession that indicate this, he cannot be deported. During the period of urgent medical treatment, the patient will receive a temporary type B/2 residence permit.
From the moment when the life of the resident is no longer in danger, or when his application is denied, he will be asked to leave Israel within 14 days. However, sometimes (even not under an emergency), the resident will be given 30 or even 90 days, depending on the circumstances, to complete his medical treatments, receive any needed medication, and prepare to leave the country.
However, a legal status that prevents you from being deported due to a medical emergency is not equivalent to a legal status for humanitarian reasons or for asylum seekers. Moreover, it is not possible to apply for a legal status for both medical and other reasons.
What is Not Considered to Be a Medical Emergency?
A chronic illness that does not put the applicant in immediate danger of death is not considered to be a medical emergency. For example, AIDS or cancer patients may be deported to their third world country of origin even if they are unable to continue treating their disease in said country.
Economic emergencies do not prevent deportation, either, nor do situations in which a patient has difficulty in finding a treatment for his illness or is unable to pay for the treatment he needs in his country of origin.
What About Patients Who Come to Israel for Medical Treatment?
Anyone who comes to Israel to receive medical treatment receives a B/2 tourist visa. If the medical treatment is extended beyond the validity of the visa, it is possible to apply for an extension with the Ministry of Interior.
Our firm specializes, among other things, in immigration to Israel, and offers assistance to non-Hebrew/non-English-speaking visitors in contacting the Ministry of Interior.
Can a Visitor Staying in Israel for Medical Reasons Work in the Country?
Holders of a B/2 tourist visa cannot legally work in Israel, even if this means they are unable to pay for long-term medical treatment.
How Can Visitors Staying in Israel for Medical Reasons Protect Themselves from Deportation?
Occasionally, visitors who come to Israel on short notice or multiple times a year raise the suspicion of border control officers. As is well known, border control employees are not required to prove that a visitor is planning to work in Israel illegally. The mere “reasonable” suspicion that this is so may result in deportation from the country and an automatic refusal of entry for about 10 years.
However, border control officers are considerate of visiting patients. Like any other visitor, visiting patients must be prepared in advance with a stay schedule and a return ticket, as well as a calm and convincing explanation as to why they are here.
Contact Experts in Immigration to Israel
The Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm specializes in entry to Israel, visas, and legal status in Israel. If you are under a medical emergency that justifies staying in Israel, if you need help extending your visa, or if your entry has been denied, we will be happy to help. Schedule an appointment with an immigration lawyer in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, or by phone / email as listed below.