By Yoav Noy. Partner |

As an impact of the pandemic on the in-bound immigration to Israel, the Israeli Immigration Authority decided recently that until further notice the “Entry clearance” (click here for a sample entry clearance), will be needed for any non-Israeli person arriving in Israel for any purpose (either visitor, business person or worker, including individuals arriving in Israel a short business trip up to 4 days stay without quarantine

For a long period, it was unclear if the individual’s travelers that require a pre-entry visa (visitors from non-waiver countries like India and China) and foreign national workers arriving for more than 45 days.

Following av research made by KTA with top Israeli officials, it is now understood that the entry clearance replaces the need for visa processing at the consulate.

This means that foreign nationals will be able to enter Israel without a visa processed at the consulate in their passports issued. This change allows skipping the need to apply at the consulate before entry, after processing the visa at the Ministry of Interior in Israel.

In such a manner the entry to Israel will be allowed with an entry clearance only, which is mandatory for any foreign national during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Israeli authorities have not clarified how long this practice (of skipping consulate processing) will remain in effect, and therefore foreign nationals and their employers should be prepared for a change on a short notice basis.

Nevertheless, it may be the case that the individual will find some difficulty when departing his/her home country without an entry visa stamp in the passport, as some Airlines may also insist passengers who needs an entry visa to Israel, to present a valid entry visa to board the flight (including connecting flights).

Israeli Consulates are operating and still issue visas, and therefore it is still possible for the applicant to apply at the consulate if his employer instructs so, or where he/she prefers to have the visa stamped in the passport before travel.

The current options are:

Option A: entry for work without a visa stamp (no consular process) with entry permit only. In this case, the applicant will have to confirm with the departure/transit authorities and the airlines that the entry clearance is sufficient for traveling or;

Option B: Applying for the visas at the consulate, as had been the practice until now in addition to having an entry clearance

Nationals that require security clearance are still required to undergo consular processing and the above does not apply to them.

Kan-Tor & Acco is the leading Israeli immigration Law firm.