Volunteer Visa to Israel
Are you considering volunteering in Israel?
Are you part of an Israeli organization interested in inviting foreign citizens who desire to volunteer in Israel?
According to Israeli immigration law, every foreign volunteer must have a volunteer visa to Israel. This visa is called a B/4 Visa in the Israeli Ministry of Interior procedure.
Based on the idea that volunteering in Israel is intended to contribute to Israeli society (security, health, etc.), certain Israeli organizations are allowed to invite volunteers to assist them with their projects. These organizations are usually health and welfare organizations, religious institutions, settlements (kibbutz or moshav), philanthropic institutions, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) which seek assistance by ideologically motivated volunteers who don’t receive a salary except for living expenses, accommodation, and enrichment courses.
Prior to submitting an application for a this type of visa in Israel (B/4 visa to Israel), it is essential to be familiar with the main points of the appropriate Israeli Ministry of Interior procedure in order to operate efficiently, legally, and without frustration while dealing with the Ministry of Interior office workers who have the authority to approve or deny the application for the Israeli volunteer visa at the end of the process.
The procedure for granting or extending a volunteer visa in Israel relates to routine cases and special cases. In this article we will discuss the main points in the volunteer visa to Israel procedure. The complete procedure can be found on the Immigration Authority at the Ministry of Interior website.
The Volunteer Visa to Israel Procedure
The Israeli volunteer visa procedure includes a list of approved organizations like Sarel, Bnei Akiva, Sherut La’am, etc., but any other organization which can be approved by the Israeli Ministry of Interior is allowed to invite volunteers to Israel. The application for a volunteer visa to Israel is submitted by the inviting organization and must be done before the volunteer arrives to Israel.
Entrance into Israel after a Volunteer Visa Is Granted
The volunteer to Israel is allowed to enter Israel only after the application for the volunteer visa is approved. Israel has an agreement with pre-arranged tourist visa exempt countries, so volunteers from those countries can receive their B/4 volunteer visa (if it is already granted) in Israel after entering with a tourist visa, but they must report to a Ministry of Interior bureau within 30 days of their entrance to Israel. Volunteers from other countries will receive the visa at the Israeli consulate in their home country.
Israeli Volunteer Visa Time Limit
Usually, a volunteer visa in Israel is granted for a period of six months at the most. Volunteers in the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs, social services institutions, or religious institutions can receive volunteer visas to Israel for one year, with the option to extend the volunteer visa for up to two years. Israeli volunteers eligible for aliyah to Israel can receive a volunteer visa for up to three years, one year at a time. After the volunteer visa to Israel has expired, the volunteer cannot receive another volunteer visa for at least one year. A volunteer with an approved three-month visa can apply for an extension of the visa for an additional nine months, but the Ministry of Interior bureau manager has the authority to extend it for up to 15 months in aggregate. A volunteer visa holder’s spouse and children can receive a tourist visa for the volunteering period.
The Responsibility of the Inviting Organization of the Volunteer
After a volunteer visa is granted, the Ministry of Interior bureau connects between the volunteer and the inviting organization, which has a defined responsibility for the volunteer. The inviting organization is responsible for the volunteer leaving Israel at the end of their volunteering period and according to the approved volunteer visa. The inviting organization is also responsible for making sure the volunteer has medical insurance during their volunteer period. A volunteer who wishes to switch from one organization to another must obtain a waiver letter from the previous organization.
Examination of the Volunteer Visa Application by the Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Interior thoroughly examines the Israeli volunteer visa application before granting the volunteer visa, including the applicant’s past in several aspects (illegal stay in Israel, criminal background, security issues, etc.). The bureau collects information and is associated with all the relevant sources (police, security forces, government information systems). The information submitted by the applicant is also verified and checked. All the information and any findings regarding the applicant are taken into consideration. This procedure is also performed when requesting to extend the volunteer visa to Israel.
It is important to know that the state of Israel will likely refuse a volunteer visa applicant with a history of illegal stay in Israel. Our suggestion is to never stay in Israel after the expiration date of the visa and to make sure to file a request for an extension at the right time. Staying in Israel without a valid visa or violating visa conditions may lead to denial of entry to Israel for up to 10 years.
A volunteer visa to Israel should not be used as a license to employ foreign workers, and the Israeli Ministry of Interior bureau enforces this issue.
A volunteer can get a one-time additional entry permit (inter visa) to Israel during the volunteer visa period.
Documents Needed When Applying for an Israeli Volunteer Visa
- Application for entry to Israel form where the inviting organization will specify the purpose and place of volunteering in Israel and will indicate whether the volunteer visited Israel in the past.
- For a volunteer visa to Israel extension, the volunteer has to file an application for visa extension form and attach an explanation letter.
- The volunteer’s passport, valid for at least six months beyond the volunteering period.
- A letter of commitment in which the inviting organization pledges responsibility for the volunteer exiting from Israel at the end of their volunteer period and according to the approved volunteer visa.
- A medical certificate regarding the volunteer’s good health condition.
- A letter of commitment in which the inviting organization pledges responsibility for the volunteer’s medical insurance.
- An authenticated and translated original approval from the relevant authorities in the volunteer’s country regarding the absence of criminal issues.
- The Ministry of Interior volunteer visa fee.
For professional assistance in obtaining an Israeli volunteer visa, please contact us.