Amit Acco, Partner

The Israeli Government announced earlier today that as of Sunday evening, December 19, France, Spain, UAE, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, and Finland will be added to the list of ‘red’ countries due to the “rapid increase” in cases of the Omicron variant.

Under the current “red” countries regulations, there is a significant difference between Israeli nationals and non-Israeli nationals who visited red countries in the last 14 days before the travel to Israel:

Non-Israeli citizens: are not allowed to enter Israel. No exceptions were provided to this regulation, even to those who have a B-1 Work Visa with Multiple Entry Visas. Any COVID-19 exceptional permit already provided to a foreign national for entry from any of these countries during the ban, will be revoked on Sunday Evening December 19.
Israeli Citizens: barred from traveling to these countries. Israelis who do return from these countries will be forced to enter State-Run COVID-19 Isolation Motel until their first COVID test comes back negative, but they must remain in home quarantine for seven days, even if they are fully vaccinated with a booster.

Daily Updates of Banned Countries and the Difficulty to Plan Travels Ahead

The decision came a few days after coalition party leaders agreed to update the list of banned countries daily (!). This move is expected to reduce flights abroad by making it difficult to plan trips in advance and putting every travel to Israel in the coming weeks at a risk.

Nachman Ash, the Health Ministry’s director-general said during a press briefing on Sunday (December 12, 2021) that:

“Whoever is planning to travel abroad at this time needs to know that, upon their return, they are likely to go into full quarantine because the country will be declared a red country”. This quote relates to Israeli nationals.

KTA Recommendations

  • Foreign national with a B-1 work visa holder that is currently in one of the newly added countries or visited those countries in the last 14 days: to consider pulling the travel for arrival to Israel until Sunday noon, December 19*
  • Dependents with a B-2 visitor visa and multiple entry visa that is currently in one of the newly added countries or visited those countries in the last 14 days, to consider pulling the travel for arrival until Sunday noon, December 19*
  • ALERT: Both Germany and Belgium were also considered by the government to be included in the red county list, but it were not included at this stage. Foreign nationals in these two countries should take this into consideration and COVID-19 Developments
  • * Please note that for the first entry of a work visa holder without a multiple entry visa (first entry), or dependent of a B-1 Expert Work Visa Holder: a special entry permit must be applied prior to travel, and the only practical day for this is tomorrow, Thursday, December 16.

Disclaimer: The COVID-19 information is gathered from various public media sources at the courtesy of KTA to its clients and website visitors. Due to the rapid, sometimes daily changes in policy, we urge any traveler to get updated at the official government website by clicking here before planning or taking any international travel to or from Israel.