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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding B-2 Visitor Visa

1. What are the categories of visitor visas available for foreign nationals in Israel?
Israeli law provides for one general type of visitor visa for foreign nationals: the B-2 visa. This visa covers business travel.


2. What are the permitted activities during the business trip?
The term "business trip" is not specifically defined in Israeli law. Nonetheless, it is clear that if the purpose of the proposed travel to Israel entails productive work of any kind, a work permit must be obtained. This is regardless of the expected duration of the individual's stay in Israel.


3. How do I know if my proposed visit in Israel is defined as a work or business trip?
Because "business trip" is not specifically defined in Israeli law, the proposed activities of some foreign nationals may fall into a "gray area". Examples include: (1) individuals seeking to participate in R&D groups; (2) install hardware; or (3) provide field service support. In such cases, we recommend that the company first consult with Kan-Tor & Acco with regard to appropriate visa options.


4. Do I need to be issued a B-2 visa prior to my travel to Israel?
As a rule, nationals of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan, and other countries on Israel's visa waiver list are admitted to Israel without an entry visa. An employee seeking to travel to Israel on business, who is a national of a country not on Israel's visa waiver list, must obtain an entry visa from the Israeli consulate with jurisdiction over his/her place of residence.


5. What is the basic procedure used to obtain a temporary pre-entry visa?
For business travelers, the B-2 procedure generally includes 3 separate bureaucratic steps: (1) submission of a visa application with the MOI in Israel; (2) issuance of the B-2 visa at the relevant Israeli consular post abroad, prior to entry into Israel; and (3) extension of the B-2 visa at the MOI after arrival in Israel, if necessary.


6. What conditions or restrictions apply to business visitors?
No employment of any kind is permitted during this period.


7. What is the validity of a temporary visitor visa?
As a rule, nationals of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and other countries on Israel's visa waiver list are admitted to Israel without an entry visa for a period of up to 90 days. Extensions of this initial 90 day period may be approved by the MOI for a maximum stay of six months. Where the visitor is from a non-waiver country, entry visa will be provided for a period of up to 30 days. Extensions of this initial 30 day period may be approved by the MOI for a maximum stay of six months.


8. How long does it typically take for a B-2 visitor visa to be issued?
Total processing times for B-1 work petitions typically range from 2 to 4 weeks.


9. Is special consideration for visas given to persons of certain nationalities?
Generally, no. That being said, nationals of countries listed by the Israeli government as "Hostile States" are subject to special security clearance procedures which extend the length of the process.


10. I am in the process of processing the 3 month visitor visa at the consulate. My passport will expire 6 months from today. Do I need to extend my passport?
To allow a full 3 month visa, your passport must be valid for at least 9 months from the date of initiation of the process. Therefore, if the passport is valid for less than 9 months, it is mandatory to extend or to issue a new passport.


11. I've been issued a B-2 visitor visa by the consulate. The visa is valid for 1 month, what does that mean?
This means that you can travel to Israel within a 1 month period from the day the visa was issued at the Israeli consulate. Upon entry into Israel, you will obtain new visa. The new visa duration will be decided by the border control officer (normally for up to 30 days). During this period, KTA will submit the relevant application to the MOI to extend your visa for the full duration of your expected business trip in Israel. Work of any kind is not allowed during this period.


12. One of the expected business visitors holds both U.S. and Indian passports (as he is a dual national). Indian nationality requires a pre-entry visa to Israel but U.S. nationality does not. Is there a requirement for the visitor to apply for a pre-entry visa?
If the visitor will travel to Israel with his waiver list country's passport (countries that aren't required to obtain a pre-entry visa, such as the U.S.), he/she will not need to apply for a pre-entry visa prior to the travel. Please see the full waiver list countries on the KTA web site.


13. What type of visa is required for dependents of foreign nationals in Israel?
Any foreign national must obtain a visa in order to enter Israel. Nationals of countries included within the pre-entry visa waiver list (U.S., most European countries, Japan, Korea, etc.) are not required to obtain a pre-entry visa for the purpose of a visit or business in Israel. Those nationals, generally, will be issued a B-2 visitor visa for a 3 month period at the airport. Nevertheless, it is recommended that dependents of foreign nationals will obtain a B-2 visitor visa for the full duration of the expat's visa in Israel, as well as a multiple entry visa. For visa waiver nationals, the process involves only the MOI and usually is processed by our office together with the application for a multiple entry visa for the expat him/herself.

Traveling out of the country every 3 months (due to the expiration of the visa) can arouse suspicion at the border control which can have unpleasant results (investigations, denial of entry, etc.), in addition to the inconvenience and high cost of such travel.


14. If someone has traveled to certain parts of the Middle East and has a stamp in his passport, will this restrict his traveling to Israel?    

Having stamp of an Arab/Muslim country does not prevent entry to IL as long as the assignee is allowed to travel to IL under his nationality. However, the border control has full discretion to ask the reason for visiting specific countries, inquire further on that regard and based on its finding decide if to limit entry into the country.


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