By Amit Acco, Senior Partner

As predicted by KTA last week, the Ministry of Economics, Health, and Interior issued a regulation that allows business visitors to enter Israel during the COVID -19 pandemic.

Israel’s borders have been closed to tourists and business visitors since March of this year due to the pandemic. Only a limited number of foreign experts have been allowed entry during this period for employment purposes to ensure business continuity.

Specifically, these foreign experts were needed for building and transport, and operation and maintenance of heavy machinery as a part of large scale projects in the energy sector (electricity production and offshore gas and oil works).

The Business VIP regulation

The new regulation allows Israeli companies to invite business VIPs from green countries. The entry will be limited to 7 days for business meetings.

The new regulation does not yet provide an option for a business VIP who has been in a RED country in the last 14 days. The regulation provides that a stay of up to12 hours in an airline terminal of a country considered ‘Red’, without leaving the premises of the terminal, is not considered a “stay” in a Red country for purposes of this application.

Authorized activities within the business meeting:

1. Transfer of knowledge

2. Support for business continuity

3. Business development and maintaining foreign investments in Israel

4. Sales and Marketing. Company and Business VIP obligations

Company and Business VIP obligations

Under the process, the company needs to provide detailed information such as the necessity for travel, place of expected stay in Israel, activities of the VIP in Israel, the need for a physical visit-in-country(rather than on

line meetings), etc.

 

The business VIP will need to complete an online application, stating that  The visit to Israel is for business purposes only (no work will be allowed, such as “hand on the job”, “hands-on tools” etc.) The visit will be for a maximum of 7 days, and that during the entire stay in Israel he/she will fully abide by the health guidelines as provided by the Israeli Ministry of Health, such as wearing a face mask in the public space and keeping social distancing.

Upon entry, the business VIP will have to present to the border control authorities a medical insurance policy that covers COVID-19 treatment.

Timeline and process The new regulation does not set an official timeline for the process, but KTA recommends applying at least 7 days before expected travel.u