Tour Group Visas to Israel
Are you an agent looking to bring tour groups into Israel? In this article Advocate Michael Decker, a lawyer specializing in immigration and entry to Israel with Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm in Israel, will share the most important facts you need to know for your tour group visa application. This will address the most important tips and rules to know before you apply for an agent license or tour group visa to Israel.
Registration as an Agent
The Ministry of Interior is in charge of tour group visa applications to Israel. If you are planning to bring in a tour group from any country that does not have a visa exemption agreement with Israel, you are required to apply for an Israeli tour group visa. A tour group is defined by Israel as any group of more than ten persons. You can read more about a tourist visa to Israel for individuals who are citizens of countries that must obtain a visitor visa in advance in this article on our website.
If you did not previously submit a tour group visa application, you are required to register as an agent or company with the Ministry of Interior. You need to fill out the appropriate application form. You will also need a recommendation from the Senior Deputy Director General for Tourist Service. Submit both by fax: 02-6469513 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should the application be accepted, a bank guarantee to the amount of 50,000 NIS is required to be submitted at the Ben Gurion Airport. The guarantee is meant to ensure all tourists within the group depart Israel before their visa expires. Once the guarantee is deposited, your application is approved and entered into the system. After approval of the new agent, payment vouchers are sent to them. By the end of an agent’s first year of activity, the guarantee is returned, provided the number of tourists that outstayed the duration of their visa did not exceed the minimal acceptable number.
Before submitting the visa application, you must be aware of the overall background of tourists within the group. Check their family status, occupation, financial status, and the like. Specifically, note previous attempts to enter or stay and work in Israel. Such attempts may also factor into a possible refusal of the visa application for that particular tourist or the entire group. Every “tourist” who drops out of your group to work and live in Israel comes out of your pocket. These details should be included in a letter and a tourist list accompanying the visa application. The application should also include any plans to briefly leave Israel (for Jordan or Egypt) before re-entry.
How Long in Advance Should Applications Be Submitted?
The application must be submitted at least 10 days before arrival in Israel. Processing takes 10 work days from the moment the application is accepted and additional details are required and submitted. Visa applications are also submitted by fax: 02-6469513 or by email: email@example.com. If the application is accepted, the agent receives an entry permit and submits his original payment voucher.
Tourist Drop-Outs: Possible Issues and How to Resolve Them
You’ll have trouble if more than 10% of a tourist group “drops out” and stays in Israel after their visas expire. The Ministry of Interior will also be unhappy if less than 10% drop out on two separate occasions within a twelve-month period. If that happens, it is possible that part or the whole amount of your bank guarantee will be confiscated by way of compensation. If more than 50% of a single group stays in Israel, or if more than 10% of consecutive groups stay in Israel, the agent’s license will be suspended until the matter is resolved, the tourists who “dropped out” and overstayed leave Israel, and the agent’s appeal is processed.
Refusal of entry to Israel at the border crossing for individuals in the group
In some cases even after the tour company has secured and obtained all the necessary visas for the group members an individual member of the group, or several group members may run into problems upon entry to Israel. The border control officers, who are authorized to allow or deny entry at the border crossings, such as the Ben Gurion International airport, may suspect that members of the group will overstay their tourist visa to Israel, or else will work illegally in Israel. If members of the group are taken to further questioning by border control officials, we advise to contact an Israeli immigration lawyer immediately.
You can read more about reasons for denial of entrance to Israel and what can be done in this situation in this article on our website.
Contact Us – tour group visa Israel – Legal help
If you need more information regarding tour group visa applications in Israel, Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm will be happy to assist you. The law firm also handles complications related to visa application denials or agent/company license suspensions.