FAQ About B-1 Visa to Israel

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ B-1 Work Visa

What are the categories of temporary work visas available for foreign nationals in Israel?

Israeli law provides for one general type of work permit for foreign nationals: the B-1 visa.

Which government ministries are involved in the temporary work permit process?

The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Economics. 

What are the basic procedures used to obtain a work visa for 3 month or longer duration?

The B-1 visa procedure is comprised of the following procedural steps:
1. Submission of a temporary work visa petition to the Work Permit Unit (WPU) of the Minitry of Interior (MOI). This office carries out initial processing. Following consideration of the application, the national office will either approve or deny the visa petition. "Approval" in this case takes the form of a written Work Permit.
2. Submission of a subsequent visa application to the MOI (via its Office of the Population Registrar). In adjudicating visa applications, the MOI has full discretion to refuse to issue a work visa application. The most common grounds for refusal include (1) possession by the visa application of a criminal record in Israel and/or abroad; (2) previous illegal residence or unauthorized employment by the visa applicant in Israel; or (3) the making of a material misrepresentation by the visa applicant.
3. Transmission of visa issuing instructions by the Population Registrar to the Israeli consular post with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. The Israeli consul then issues a single-entry B-1 visa valid for up to 30 days.
4. Upon entry to Israel, the foreign worker should apply to the MOI for an extended validity, multiple-entry B-1 visa stamp.

What conditions or restrictions apply to a worker on temporary work permit?

The foreign employee may work only for the sponsoring employer, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the approved petition. The terms and conditions of employment such as salary, accommodation, and health insurance must comply with relevant labor laws and regulations. Work visas can be extended up to 5 years and 3 months from the date of the first issuance. It is irrelevant whether or not the individual worked in Israel during the last 5 years.

What is the validity of a temporary work visa?

Depending on the type of process, B-1 work visas (B-1) are normally valid for up to one year. Extensions of up to one year each may be requested, but total stay in B-1 status ordinarily may not exceed five years and three months.

How long does it typically take for a temporary work visa to be issued?

Total processing times for B-1 work petitions typically range from 12 to 14 weeks.

What is the degree of difficulty for obtaining approval of a work visa application?

Current governmental policy limits the number of work permits to be issued for foreign employees. As a result, applications should be submitted professionally and promptly in accordance with current regulations and criteria, as applicable, in an effort to avoid delay and refusal.

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.

Of which other potential problems should foreign temporary workers be aware?

The employment of a foreign professional without a valid work visa can subject the employer to significant monetary sanctions. Additionally, the managers of repeat corporate offenders are subject to criminal liability. An individual found working without a valid work permit is subject to deportation.

May members of a temporary worker's household be authorized to work? (e.g. spouse, children, parents)

Dependents of a B-1 visa holder are not allowed to work in Israel unless a separate B-1 process is issued for that individual. Dependents of B-1 Hi-Tech visa holders may apply for a dependent work visa.

I am working for a U.S. company and I am expected to be based In Israel soon. I am a finance manager for the Cap Group which is a very large mutual fund based in the U.S. My expected work in Israel has no connection to the Israeli market. I am expected to sit in my office on a computer and buy and sell stock in the U.S. I am not expected to work with any Israelis and I am not expected to do anything with Israeli companies. Will I need a Work visa?

The mere fact that you are expected to work in Israel – will require you to obtain a work visa prior to your entry to Israel. The fact that you will remain under U.S. payroll and that your managerial structure will remain in the U.S. does not preclude you from the need to obtain a work visa in Israel.

I am in the process of processing the visa at the consulate. My passport will expire one year from today. Do I need to extend my passport?

To allow a full year visa, your passport must be valid for at least 1 year and 6 months from the day of initiation of the process. Therefore, if the passport is valid for less than 1 year and 6 months, it is mandatory to extend or to issue a new passport. It is recommended to complete this process in your country of residence.

I've been issued a B-1 work visa at the consulate. The visa is valid for 2 months. What does that mean?

This means that you can travel to Israel within a 2 month period form the day the visa was issued at the Israeli consulate. Upon entry into Israel, you will obtain a new visa. The duration of the new visa will be decided by the border control officer. During this period, KTA will submit a relevant application to the MOI to extend the visa for the full duration of the work permit.

Our multinational company would like to relocate a foreign expat from Turkey to Israel. The employee's current salary in the U.S. is approximately 10,000 NIS per month. Can we continue pay the employee the same salary in Israel?

No, according to Israeli law and regulations, there is a prevailing wage requirement of double the Israeli average salary (approximately 21,800 NIS per month in 2020), in addition to other benefits the employee is entitled to by law.

One of the expats (Robert) in our project in Israel should be replaced soon by another expat. Robert's B-1 visa will expire 6 months from today. What is the required process for providing the new expat with Robert's remaining 6 month B-1 visa?

Because the work permit and the working visa are issued for a specific foreign employee, a new application will have to be submitted to MOI, followed by consular processing.

Can a foreign company sponsor an application for a work permit in Israel without an Israeli sponsor?

Ministry of Interior regulations does not require that an Israeli-based company will be sponsor applications for work permits in Israel, although this is recommended if possible. 

In many cases (for example in multinational projects), where there is no Israeli company that is involved (and capable of sponsoring the application), an application for a work permit can be submitted by a foreign company.

Such applications are normally more complicated than normal and require an extra burden of proof regarding the foreign company.

Our company would like to employ a foreign national in Israel. The individual is a Jewish person that is interested in making "Aliyah". Can he start working in Israel immediately upon arrival to Israel?

If the candidate is Jewish or otherwise eligible under the law of return, he can apply to become an Israeli citizen as an "Oleh Hadash"- new immigrant. Upon successful application, the candidate will be able to reside and work in Israel permanently.

The process can either be submitted prior to entry to Israel, through the Jewish Agency - at the Israeli consulate or from Israel.

This application, if accepted, will allow immediate work approval of the candidate in Israel.

Our company would like to employ a U.S. national in Israel. The candidate is a Jewish person that is NOT interested in making "Aliyah". Can he start to work in Israel immediately upon arrival to Israel?

The company can apply for the Jewish candidate to work in Israel as a foreign expat, for the maximum period of 5 years and 3 month.

The process for obtaining an Israeli B-1 work visa takes approximately 3 months (shorter for Israeli Hi-Tech companies).

Before the candidate has obtained a B-1 visa in his passport, he cannot work in Israel.

During the first stage of the process, the candidate may arrive in Israel as a tourist B-2 visa (no work allowed), however, during the second stage of the process, the candidate will have to depart from Israel and obtain the B-1 visa stamp at the Israeli consulate at his/her home country. 

My working visa has recently been extended for an additional year, however, I've found out that I have "lost" 2 months due to the fact that the extension begins 2 months prior to the previous visa expiry date. Can this be fixed?

The process for extension generally takes up to 3 months. In some cases, the MOI approves the application faster.

Since the approval notice is issued for one year from the date of the application approval, 1-2 months may be "lost" as a result.

Nevertheless, we strongly recommend initiating the extension process at least 3 months in advance, and not wait to the last minute.

The risk of delay in the process beyond the original visa validity is severe, due to the fact that the employee and his dependents will have to depart from Israel until the receipt of the approval for extension, followed by consular processing outside of Israel.

I have been working in Israel for several months and traveled back to Germany, my home country. My work visa in Israel will expire within 3 months and an extension will be required (as I am planning to return to work in Israel soon). Is there a requirement for me to be in Israel during the extension process? And, if so, for how long?

The new visa will have to be stamped in the passport at the MOI in Israel prior to the expiry date of the current visa.

Therefore, the employee must be in Israel for at least 2 weeks prior to the expiry of the current visa to allow us to process the visa in the passport.

In case the employee will not be able to come to Israel as mentioned above, the visa process will have to be done at the Israeli consulate abroad.

In which stage within the work permit process must medical insurance be obtained?

Following the approval of the application for a work permit and while the application for a B-1 work visa is submitted at the local MOI, a medical obligation assurance must be signed by the Israeli company. The obligation is to obtain a medical insurance for the expat.

According to Israeli law, medical insurance for a foreign employee must be valid from the foreign employee's date of entry into Israel. The working visa is void unless such insurance has been obtained.

My multiple entry visa will expire 1 month prior to my work visa. What are the consequences?

Any departure from Israel after the expiration of your multiple entry visa will cancel your working visa. In case you will not depart from Israel within this period, you can continue to work in Israel until your working visa is expired.

My visa will expire in 1.5 months. I have just been informed that approval for extension of my work permit has been received. When can the extension of my visa be completed?

After the Work Permit approval, the local branch of the MOI will not normally begin the process of extending the visa more than 1 month prior to the expiration of the current visa.

Generally, this is done only within the last month of the visa before its expiration date.

In case the foreign national is required to depart from Israel and expected to return only after the expiration date of the current visa, a special application should be submitted to the Ministry of Interior.  

I've obtained a work visa at the Israeli consulate valid for 30 days. I'm expected to arrive in Israel only 1 day prior to the date the visa will be expired. Is it sufficient for extension purposes?

Normally yes, following your arrival to Israel you will receive upon entering a valid work visa for the duration of your assignment (up to 1 year). 

A work permit application in Israel will be submitted for several employees of our company, are they allowed to stay in Israel during the process?

The applicants can travel to Israel for business trips (working is not permitted) from the date of initiation of the work permit process until starting consular processing, following approval by Work Permit Unit (approximately 45 days - or shorter period at the Hi-Tech B-1 Process).

Following the approval of the application, the applicants must depart from Israel for at least 7 days prior to the submission of an application for a work visa at the MOI.

The applicants will have to remain abroad until the work visa is issued in their passport at the Israeli consulate abroad (generally 14-21 days staying outside of Israel).

It is recommended to minimize business trips while the process is pending, to avoid suspicion of dual intention by border control.

In case the applicant's nationality is not included in the nationality waiver visa list, a relevant application for the issuance of a B-2 visitor visa at the Israeli consulate abroad must be submitted in advance.

For how long are the Israel work permit and entry visa valid once they are issued?

As soon as the visa is issued in the employee passport, it will be valid for 30 days only, meaning that the employee will have to travel to Israel within 30 days of the day in which the visa was actually issued in his/her passport. Otherwise, the visa will be voided, and reprocessing at the consulate will be required.

How long after a cable is sent to the consulate by the MOI, is the employee's work visa processed?

Generally, the visa will be valid for processing at the consulate up to 3 months following receipt of the cable at the consulate.

In case the process is delayed for more than 3 months, a visa re-process is required. 

Is it possible to extend a B-1 work visa beyond the limit of 5 years and 3 months?

In exceptional cases, a special application to extend the visa beyond 5 years and 3 months can be submitted. The application will be reviewed by the MOI and the Ministry of Economics.

Following the approval of this special application, the work visa extension will be issued by the MOI in the employee’s passport.

The processing time is 6 months. 

My work visa expired. When do I have to leave?

Immidietly upon visa expiration. 

Is there a minimum time period of employment abroad required prior to applying for a B-1 work visa?

Work in Israel, for any duration, requires a B-1 work visa. 

Do I need a Roundtrip ticket to get in to Israel?

There is no requirement under Israeli law to have a 2-way ticket upon entry.

However, the absence of a return ticket may alert the border control for a possible long stay, which may cause a denial of entry.

However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The executive offices are at the Geneva Airport in Switzerland. IATA maintains the Timatic database containing cross border passenger documentation requirements.

It is used by airlines to determine whether a passenger can be carried, as well as by airlines and travel agents to provide this information to travelers at the time of booking.

This database is the successor to the Official Airlines Guide (OAG) which was a 3 volume list of rules and regulations that IATA member airlines must follow. In that OAG, and now in the database, there is an Appendix that lists all visa regulations for entry into most countries and all IATA member airlines to follow for international travellers.

We assume that in the Israeli section of that appendix, it lists the countries whose nationals are allowed that 90 day visa exempt entry into Israel. In a footnote it also states to the airlines that the visa exempt entry can only be given if "the visa free passenger has an out-of-country (onward travel) ticket from Israel". It does NOT say a return ticket is required...it only wants an out-of-country ticket.

From that requirement, the international airlines as members of IATA derive their requirement that you either must have:

1. A valid Israeli visa OR
2. An out-of-country ticket if you qualify for a visa exempt entry.

We recommend that you will check this with the airline prior to purchasing the ticket.

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

Having a 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.   

The “company must arrange for medical insurance” – does that mean that the company must pay for it or simply set him up with a plan that he pays for?

The company needs to pay for medical insurance and deduct part of it, as stated by the regulation.

Should the prevailing wage include the company costs of rent, pension contribution, and medical insurance?

Medical Insurance, housing, pension and over time payments are to be paid on top of the gross salary the minimum monthly salary. 

Nevertheless, an employer can include regular monthly bonus (not depending on actual performance and non- changeable thought the assignment) and  per diem cash payments on top of the gross salary for the purpose prevailing wage calculations, however, these payments must be apparent on the pay slip as a payment. 

In some unique situations, there is an option to include part of the housing cost (rented flat/house – not hotel) in the total calculation of the prevailing wage. This can only happen when the level of housing or rented car goes beyond the adequate requirement. This must be per the employee request, and indicated clearly as allowance that goes beyond the adequate housing requirement) is apparent on the pay slip as a pure taxable payment to the employee. Same for leased cars.

In such a situation, we strongly suggest reviewing the pay slip structure with an account (CPA) and immigration lawyer before execution.

Is there any stipulation of how much to contribute to pension and can a foreigner have an Israeli pension plan?

There are pensions for foreign workers in Israel. 6% of the employee salary as self contribution  + 6.5% from the employer.  If a fund can not be found, the employer can set aside his share of the pension insurance each month to a dedicated bank account.

Our employee is looking for applying for a loan in Spain. As her contract is on fixed term, the bank may question the prolongation of the contract. The best for her would be an open-ended contract. My question is: does the Israeli law allow foreigners to have open-ended contracts? itle

There is an option to make an open-ended contract while mentioning that the contract is valid whilst the employee holds a valid B-1 work visa.

I have a B-1 work visa. Can my spouse work from home for her current employer in the US?

According to Israeli law, any work that is being done by a foreign national in Israel, even as a freelance from home, requires a B-1 work visa.

This is also relevant to a scenario whereby the spouse of a B-1 work visa holder is working remotely in Israel for a foreign company, remains on foreign payroll and not engaging with any Israeli companies, or provides services to the local economy. This is also relevant in a scenario whereby the work is done on a freelance basis.

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