B-1 Work Visa

B-1 Work Visa | Hi-Tech | Other Categories

In accordance with the laws of the State of Israel, every employee who is not Israeli is required to obtain a work permit prior to commencement of employment in Israel.

The need for an employment permit and a B-1 work visa applies to various types of workers from day one of their employment.

The profession as well as the length of employment offered to the expert, will determine the application process. Each track has unique characteristics, different required documents, and varied time lines.

Our law firm will analyze this information and identify the optimal visa type in terms of procedure, duration and characteristics.

Israeli Visa Options:

One Year B-1 Work Visa: Specialists Work in Academic Fields

In 2015, The Ministry of Interior issued the procedure for foreign experts who engage in professions requiring higher education (e.g. Engineers for Research and Development Teams, Auditors, Senior Executives, and other Senior Supervisors). As a prerequisite for applying in this category, the expert must present proof of the degree obtained issued by the academic institution.

The process for obtaining a B-1 work permit involves four steps:

  1. Submission of the Work Permit application to the Ministry of Interior which includes a description of the project, the need for the expertise and conditions of employment. The application must comply with the regulations and meet the strict requirements of the Ministry of Interior.
  2. Applying for a B-1 Work Visa at the local branch of the Ministry of Interior to be cabled for processing to the Israeli Consulate in the country of origin of the expert.
  3. The issuance of a temporary B-1 Work Visa by the Israeli Consulate in the country of origin of the expert, before entering Israel.
  4. Upon entry into Israel, the applicant will be issued a B-1 Work Visa for the entire period of the work permit. This step will take place at the time the expert goes through border control at Ben Gurion Airport, or after entry, at the relevant branch of the Ministry of Interior.

General Information

The prevailing wage for an expert is double the average wage in Israel. In some cases, the Ministry of Interior may require a higher salary, in individual professions where the average wage is higher than the average wage in the overall economy.

Work permits of this kind are typically valid for a period of up to one year from the date of approval of the application. The employer may apply for an extension of the permit for an additional period, along with the required documents. In general, the maximum stay in this status is up to five years and three months from the start of the employment.

A work permit of this type is valid for a single entry only, and therefore the employer should see to the issuance of a work permit that is valid for multiple entries that will allow the expert to enter and depart Israel during the period of the work visa, without having to re-process the visa at the Consulate.

Duration of the process: 2-3 months.

Important: Working in Israel for any period without a permit and B-1 visa in the foreign expert’s passport, is a criminal offense. The employer and managers can be subjected to criminal penalties and fines, and the expert deported, without being able to return for 10 years.

 

One Year B-1 Work Visa: Specialists Work in Non-Academic Fields

The Ministry of Interior issued in 2015 a procedure for foreign experts who are working in a field that on the one hand requires expertise, but on the other does not require an academic education & qualification (for example, a welder, mechanical installer, equipment installer, and any other job that does not require a certificate of education as a precondition for an academic institution of higher education).

The process of obtaining a work permit type B-1 includes four separate bureaucratic steps:

1. The submission of a detailed application for a Work Permit to the Ministry of Interior describing the project, the need for expertise, conditions of employment, and more. The application must comply with regulations and meet the strict requirement of the Ministry of Interior, and to include, inter alia, the approval by an Israeli lawyer confirming the compatibility of the labor contract to Israeli law.

2. Applying for a B-1 work visa at the local branch of the Ministry of Interior to be cabled for processing at the Israeli consulate in the Country of origin of the expert.

3. The issuance of a temporary B-1 Work visa by the Israeli consulate in the Country of origin of the expert, prior to entering Israel.

4. After the applicant’s entry into to Israel, the applicant will be issued a B-1 work visa for the entire period of the work permit. This step will take place at the time the expert goes through border control at Ben Gurion Airport, or after entry, at the relevant branch Ministry of Interior.

The minimum wage for an expert is double the average national wage. The Ministry of Interior may issue a conditional approval, by which the employer will have to oblige to open a local Israeli bank account for the employee for the transfer of his/her salaries and/or to deposit of large amount of money to guarantee the individual departure from Israel.

This type of work permit is valid for a period of up to one year from the date of approval of the application. The employer may submit an application to extend the permit for one additional year only, along with the required documents. Generally, the maximum stay of residence and work in Israel is up to five years and three months since the first day of employment in Israel.

A work permit of this kind is valid for a single entry only, and therefore the employer should see to the issuance of a work permit that is valid for multiple entries (i.e. “A Multiple Entry Visa”) that will allow the expert to leave and enter the country for any period of the temporary work visa, without having to repeat the procedure at the consulate.

Duration of the process: 2-3 months.

Important: Working in Israel for any period of time without a permit and B-1 visa in the foreign expert’s passport, is a criminal offense. Whereby the employer and managers will be expected to criminal penalties and fines, and the expert is expected to be deported, without being able to return for a period of 10 years.

Up to 3 month B-1 Work Visa (STEP)

The Ministry of Interior published in 2015 the procedure for foreign experts for a temporary work period of up to three months.

Under this category, as a prerequisite for submitting an application, the expert is required to present a certificate of education at an academic institution of higher education or relevant vocational training. The procedure has recently been updated in 2018, however, no significant changes have been made concerning this visa category.

Israeli Hi-Tech companies are eligible to apply for short term permits under an expedited process/ For information on Hi-Tech visa options, please click here

The process of obtaining a B-1 work permit in the STEP category includes four separate bureaucratic steps:

  1. Submission of a detailed application for a Work Permit to the Work Permit Unit describing the project, the need for the expertise, conditions of employment, etc. The application must comply with the regulations and meet the strict requirements of the PIBA.
  2. Applying for a B-1 work visa at the local branch of the Ministry of Interior to be transferred for processing at the Israeli Consulate in the expert’s country of origin.
  3. The issuance of a temporary B-1 Work visa by the Israeli Consulate in the country of origin prior to entry to Israel.
  4. After the applicant’s entry into Israel, the applicant will be issued a B-1 work visa for the entire period of the work permit. This step will take place at the time the expert goes through border control at Ben Gurion Airport, or after entry, at the relevant branch of the Ministry of Interior.

The prevailing wage in this category is the minimum wage in Israel.

Such work permits are typically valid for a period of three months from the date of issuance by the Work Permit Unit, and the employer is not entitled to apply for an extension of the permit.

The initial work visa is valid only for a single entry, and therefore in the event that the expert may need to depart and re-enter Israel, the employer will have to apply for a return visa, also known as a “Multiple Entry Visa”.

As a general rule, foreign experts arriving in Israel for short periods of up to 90 days would not be allowed to apply for a visa for their immediate family members. However, if it is apparent that the foreign expert is coming to Israel to pursue a profession that requires high academic education, the authorities may consider permitting the issuance of visas for immediate family members.

Duration of process: 2-3 months.

Please note: Working in Israel for any period of time without a permit and B-1 visa in the foreign expert’s passport, is a criminal offense. If a foreign expert is found working without a valid permit and visa, the employer and managers can be given criminal penalties and fines, and the expert can be deported and barred for entry to Israel for 10 years.

 

Up to 45 days B-1 Work Visa (SEA)

In 2015 the Population and Immigration Authority published new procedure- “B-1 Short Employment Authorization” (Hereinafter: “SEA”), for expedited processing of requests for employment in Israel of a foreign expert, for up to 45 days in a calendar year..
This SEA procedure regulates the expeditious procedure for the legal employment of a foreign expert, with a valid passport, of a country whose exempt citizens authorize a B / 2 visit invited to Israel for the purpose of performing a temporary assignment in the area of special expertise for periods not exceeding 45 days per year.
This SEA procedure replaced a previous procedure that enabled work for up to 30 days in Israel.
This option resolves a common issue for companies which provide technical services such as installation of machines & repairs. It allows for immediate installation of systems and the experts are able to travel to Israel to tackle sudden issues that arise, as opposed to the process of obtaining a visa for longer periods of time, which takes about 3-4 months of processing.
Our law firm is required to provide to the Ministry of Interior a limited number of documents and declarations, together with the employee’s documentation proving the expert’s competence and suitability to perform the job. As a result, it is possible to file the request relatively quickly, and to obtain the work permit within 6-8 business days.
Upon receipt of the work permit, the foreign expert can enter Israel and begin to work immediately. This is without the requirement of issuing a visa at the Israeli Consulate in the individual’s home country, as required in most other types of work visas. Within two days of arrival in Israel, the foreign expert is required to provide his passport to our office for the purpose of completing the procedure of obtaining a work visa at the Ministry of Interior. Not completing this step would render the expert’s work in Israel illegal.
It is possible to divide the 45 days to a number of periods within the calendar year, although prior to each new entry a new application must be submitted in advance and approved.
The application is intended solely for nationals who are exempt from having to obtain a tourist visa (e.g. Europe, United States, Japan, Australia, etc.) to visit Israel/ This means that experts from countries that are required to obtain a pre-entry visa for the purpose of visiting (e.g. India, China, Venezuela, etc.) cannot apply for a visa under this category however they may be eligible for other visa categories.
This visa cannot be extended.In case the work permit expires on December 31 of a calender year, the company, who wishes to employee the foreign expert, may submit new SEA application on January 1 whilst the foreign expert is out of Israel. . There are relevant government fees that are set according to requested duration of employment.

Duration of process: 6-8 business days.

Please note: Working in Israel for any period of time without a permit and B-1 visa in the foreign expert’s passport, is a criminal offense. If a foreign expert is found working without a valid permit and visa, the employer and managers can be given criminal penalties and fines, and the expert can be deported and barred for entry to Israel for 10 years.

Hi Tech Work Visas:

One Year Hi-Tech Work Visa (HIT 365)

The Ministry of Interior published regulations relating to the employment of foreign experts in high-tech and cyber companies:

 

  • The process can only be applied to foreign nationals of a visa waiver program.
  • Online submission of working permit application.
  • The work permit will be valid for up to 1 year (extension will be allowed up to 5 years and 3 month).
  • Processing time stating 6 working days.
  • The company needs to be eligible as a High Tech company. The approval is subject the Innovation Authority discretion.
  • Entry to Israel of the applicant will be allowed immediately after approval of the work permit, without the need to undergo consular processing.
  • B-1 Work visa will be required to be processed in the employee’s passport, at the Ministry of Interior in Israel, within 2 work days of entry into Israel.
  • Previous stays in Israel of the applicant will be reviewed by the Ministry of Interior upon visa processing, to determine full compliance with immigration law and regulations during past visits (over stays, illegal work etc.)
  • The regulations requires less documentation to be provided by both employer and employee.
  • The prevailing wage requirement remains to be at least double the average salary in Israel, currently NIS 19,604 per month.

 

Employment Authorization for Spouse (EAS B-1 work visa for Spouse)
  • The new process applies only to spouses of HIT visa applicant, that is expecting to work in Israel for more than 90 days.
  • The High Tech Company may submit a request for EAS visa: Employment Authorisation for Spouse, for a parallel duration as the HIT employee.
  • The EAS visa, type B-1 “General work visa” will allow the spouse to work for any employer in Israel, without a requirement for a prevailing wage.
  • Visa process will be made at the Ministry of Interior.
  • Visa Process will require both applicant and spouse to physically be present at the Ministry of Interior.
Classification of Company Eligibility
The categorization of the companies is done by the Central Bureau of Statistics upon the company’s initial registration with the Company Registrar in Israel. This is confidential State information, and is not published anywhere. A special form will be needed to be signed to allow the Innovation authority requesting the company classification from the Central Bureau of Statistics.According to the Innovation Authorities Regulations, the following will be reviewed by them in order to determine if the company qualifies as a “Hi Tech” company for the purposes of the HIT visa regulations:A. Is the Sponsoring Company registered in Israel?
If yes:

B. In the 3 years prior to application submission: did the company receive from the Innovation Authorities any of the following:

1. Monetary funding, or
2. Tax exemptions, or
3. Approval as an R&D company for public listing in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

If any one of the above was received from the Innovation Authority, the company will be regarded as eligible as a “High Tech” Company.

If none of the above are met:

C. The Innovation Authority will examine the company’s field of industry and operation, and the company will be eligible if they are involved in any one of the following fields:1. Manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, or
2. Manufacturing of computers and its components or electrical or Optical components, or
3. Computer programming, computes consultation, Computer related services, or
4. Research and Development (not including social sciences), or
5. Manufacturing of aircrafts or space ships and their components, or IT processing and data storage.If the company meets one of the above criteria, the company will be regarded as eligible being regarded as “High Tech” Company.

If none of the above is met:

D. Does the R&D costs of the company exceed 7% of the overall sales turnover in the previous calendar year or at least 15% of its employees are R&D employees.

If this criteria is met, the company will be eligible for classification as a “Hi-Tech” Company.

KTA will assist its clients and any potential clients in pre-assessing the company eligibility for the HIT process.

Up to Days Hi-Tech Work Visa (HIT 90)

The Ministry of Interior published regulations relating to the employment of foreign experts in high-tech and cyber companies for up to 90 days per year.

 

  • The process can only be applied to foreign nationals of a visa waiver program.
  • Online submission of working permit application.
  • The work permit will be valid for up to 90 days per year.
  • Processing time stating 6 working days.
  • The company needs to be eligible as a High Tech company. The approval is subject the Innovation Authority discretion.
  • Entry to Israel of the applicant will be allowed immediately after approval of the work permit, without the need to undergo consular processing.
  • B-1 Work visa will be required to be processed in the employee’s passport, at the Ministry of Interior in Israel, within 2 work days of entry into Israel.
  • Previous stays in Israel of the applicant will be reviewed by the Ministry of Interior upon visa processing, to determine full compliance with immigration law and regulations during past visits (over stays, illegal work etc.)
  • The regulations requires less documentation to be provided by both employer and employee.
  • The prevailing wage requirement remains to be at least double the average salary in Israel.
Dependents not allowed under this category. 
Classification of Company Eligibility
 

The categorization of the companies is done by the Central Bureau of Statistics upon the company’s initial registration with the Company Registrar in Israel. This is confidential State information, and is not published anywhere. A special form will be needed to be signed to allow the Innovation authority requesting the company classification from the Central Bureau of Statistics.According to the Innovation Authorities Regulations, the following will be reviewed by them in order to determine if the company qualifies as a “Hi Tech” company for the purposes of the HIT visa regulations:A. Is the Sponsoring Company registered in Israel?

If yes:

B. In the 3 years prior to application submission: did the company receive from the Innovation Authorities any of the following:

1. Monetary funding, or
2. Tax exemptions, or
3. Approval as an R&D company for public listing in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

If any one of the above was received from the Innovation Authority, the company will be regarded as eligible as a “High Tech” Company.

If none of the above are met:

C. The Innovation Authority will examine the company’s field of industry and operation, and the company will be eligible if they are involved in any one of the following fields:1. Manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, or
2. Manufacturing of computers and its components or electrical or Optical components, or
3. Computer programming, computes consultation, Computer related services, or
4. Research and Development (not including social sciences), or
5. Manufacturing of aircrafts or space ships and their components, or IT processing and data storage.If the company meets one of the above criteria, the company will be regarded as eligible being regarded as “High Tech” Company.

If none of the above is met:

D. Does the R&D costs of the company exceed 7% of the overall sales turnover in the previous calendar year or at least 15% of its employees are R&D employees.

If this criteria is met, the company will be eligible for classification as a “Hi-Tech” Company.

KTA will assist its clients and any potential clients in pre-assessing the company eligibility for the HIT process.

Special Categories Visas

Unique Technologies and Mechanization

The Ministry of Interior has issued in 2017 the Procedure for Employment of Foreign Workers in Unique Technologies and Mechanization which do not exist in Israel. This does not include expert employees paid at expert rates.

This procedure is designated for mega projects in the field of infrastructure such as ports, trains and power plants, in cases where the work can only be performed by foreign workers possessing unique knowledge and expertise in the field.

Under this procedure, a company can receive group permits for hundreds of foreign experts, and pay their salaries according to collective agreement in this field. This is as opposed to a regular work permit for one individual expert, in which case the salary must be the double the average salary in Israel (currently 20,856 NIS). In addition, the permit will be obtained for the entire duration of the project, unlike experts that receive permits for 1 year which need to be extended annually, based on the MOI's discretion.

According to the procedure, a company that is interested in employing foreign workers in a project involving unique technologies and mechanization and which can only be performed by foreign parties, is required to submit a written application, at least 6 month before the project's commencement day.

If the project is carried out by virtue of a National Infrastructure Plan (NAV) or by a government decision, it must be mentioned in the application.

This application is very challenging and will need to include a detailed project description, the relevant contracts between the Israeli and foreign company for the work in Israel and confirmation of the expected employment of a local Israeli workforce. The applications will also need to emphasize the expertise, qualifications, skills and knowledge of the applicants.

The processing time is six months, as the application will be reviewed by a special inter-committee for Special Projects that include 3 Ministries: Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Construction and Housing.

The company is obligated to provide the following:

  • Written employment contract
  • Health insurance
  • Proper housing
  • The salary should be paid to a local bank account
  • Deposit NIS 15,000 of bank guarantee for each employee.
  • Provide the name of an Israeli citizen with proven experience and skills in the field of human resources management that will be approved by the work permit unit and that will be monitoring the company activity.
Journalist B-1 Work Visa

To be allowed to work legally, Foreign Journalists can enter Israel as tourist and apply for a Temporary Journalist Card from the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), and later apply for a B-1 work visa from the Ministry of Interior.

Process description:
  1. The foreign national journalist should first arrive to Israel and receive visitor permit (B-2 visa) for 3 months.
  2. Following the entry into Israel, his/her Press News Agency should submit an application to the GPO requesting to obtain a temporary journalist card. The application will have to be signed by both the applicant and the News Agency.
  3. In addition to the temporary journalist card, the foreign national journalist should also receive a recommendation letter issued by the GPO, intended to the Ministry of Interior, for the issuance of a B-1 work visa.
  4. The Journalist will need to apply at the Ministry of Interior for a B-1 work visa as a journalist, based on the GPO recommendation letter. Processing time is estimated to be up to 10 work days from submission date.
    5. Duration of process: 2-3 weeks from entry.
Special remarks:
  • Dependents are allowed in this category.
  • Minimal government fees apply.
  • No prevailing wage requirement.
  • No housing requirement.
  • No limit in terms of possible extensions.
B-1 for Scientist

The Ministry of Interior has issued in 2015 the procedure for foreign lectures or researchers (afterwards: “B-1 Scientist”) who hold master’s degree, and wish to work in a recognized institution of Higher Education by CHE in Israel (afterwards: “University”). In this category, the foreign Scientist is required as a prerequisite for submitting an application, to present a recommendation letter from the Israeli University in question.

The process of obtaining a work permit type Scientist B-1 includes four separate bureaucratic steps:

  1. The submission of an application for a Work Permit to the Ministry of Interior describing the necessary of the foreign lecturer or researcher at the University. The proccing time for approval is 10 days.
  2. Applying for a B-1 work visa at the local branch of the Ministry of Interior to be cabled for processing at the Israeli consulate in the Country of origin of the Scientist.
  3. The issuance of a temporary B-1 Work visa by the Israeli consulate in the Country of origin of the Scientist, prior to entering Israel.
  4. Following the applicant’s entry into to Israel, the Scientist will be issued a B-1 work visa for the entire period of the work permit. This step will take place at the time the Scientist goes through border control at Ben Gurion Airport, or after entry, at the relevant branch Ministry of Interior.
  5. Duration of process: 7-10 work day from entry.

Special remarks:

  • Dependents are allowed in this category,
  • Minimal government fees apply,
  • No prevailing wage requirement
  • Medical Insurance is required.
  • The visa can be extended for up to 63 months.
B-1 Post Doctoral Research Visa Process

he Post Doctoral B-1 Research Visa processing is more or less the same as that of the regular B-1 Work visa, however there are some differences regarding the B-1 Research Visa requirements, which are as follows:

  • The Post Doctoral process is shorter- The Permit Unit approves applications within 10 days from the date of their submission.
  • The assignee must hold a Ph.D. degree.
  • The assignee is required to provide an approval from the Council for Higher Education (CHE) that the university is indeed an institution of higher education.
  • The assignee is required to provide a recommendation from the university.
  • The university is required to sign an affidavit and declare that the assignee will work only for that specific university.
  • The university is required to provide the assignee with the needed resources for his research. Please note that in the regular process, the Israeli employer has an obligation to pay the employee a minimum of 17,500 NIS.
  • The university is required to provide the assignee with medical insurance.
  • The assignee is required to provide a Health Declaration.
  • The visa can be extended for up to 4 years. Please note that in the regular procedure, the visa can be extended for up to 63 months.
Reaserchers Under Qualified EU Reaserch Program

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Partner of Expats in Israel: Work Ability

Spouse/ Partner of B-1 Expert Visa

Dependants of B-1 Foreign Expert Visa holder may reside in Israel on a B-2 Visitor Visa. Spouse/ partners are not allowed to work on this visa and must obtain their own B-1 Foreign Expert visa based on their own eligibility and sponsored by their prospective employer

Spouse/ Partner of Hi-Tech (HIT) Visa holder

Spouse/ partner of Hi-Tech (HIT) Visa holder can access employment via the Employment Authorization for Spouse (EAS) Visa. The EAS visa, type Hi-Tech B-1 will allow the spouse to work for any employer without a requirement for a prevailing wage. This cover self-employment, in certain conditions.

Children (under the age of 18) of a Hi-Tech (HIT) visa holder are not allowed to work.

The one-year Hi-Tech (HIT) visa is granted to foreign experts of visa-waiver nationality who will work for qualified high-tech companies in Israel.

 

Dependants of Hi-Tech (HIT) visa and B-1 Foreign Expert visa holders include:

1.      the spouse

2.      non-married partner (subject to the discretion of the Ministry of Interior)

3.      same-sex spouse (subject to the discretion of the Ministry of Interior)

4.      children under the age of 18.

Important: Working in Israel for any period of time without a permit and B-1 visa in the foreign expert’s passport, is a criminal offense. The employer and managers will be subjected to criminal penalties and fines, and the expert deported, without being able to return for a period of 10 years.

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