B-2 Visitor Visa

Israel B-2 Visitor Visa Process

A valid passport and an entry visa, depending on the nationality of the visitor, are necessary for entry into Israel for business.

As a rule, nationals of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan, and certain other countries are admitted to Israel without an entry visa for a period of up to 90 days. No employment of any kind is permitted during this period. Extensions of this initial 90 day period may be approved by the Ministry of Interior (hereinafter: “MOI”) for a maximum stay of six months.

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.

An individual seeking to travel to Israel on business, who is a national of a country that is not on Israel’s visa waiver list, must obtain an entry visa from the Israeli consulate with jurisdiction over his place of residence. Israeli law generally provides for only one type of visa category for both tourists and business travelers: The B-2 visa.

For business travelers, B-2 procedure normally includes 3 separate bureaucratic steps: (1) Submission of a visa application with the MOI; (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.

B-2 Visitor Visa Process

First Step: Visa Application

Israeli consulates normally require that business travelers from non-waiver countries be officially sponsored by an Israeli company. A company provides such sponsorship by filing an application with the MOI. The application must contain a detailed description of the proposed visit, and also provide complete details relating to the prospective visitor, including educational background, professional experience, accommodation arrangements, etc. Processing times for work permit applications currently range from 2-4 weeks.

If the application is approved, the MOI will issue instructions to the relevant Israeli consulate to issue the B-2 visa.

In some cases, depending on the individual’s nationality, a special security clearance will be required prior to the approval of the application. Security clearance process currently ranges from 2-8 weeks.

Second Step: Consular Processing

In accordance with the instructions issued by the MOI (as discussed above), the Israeli consulate will issue the B-2 visa in the individual’s passport. The visa will generally be valid for a single entry of up to 90 days only.

Third Step: Visa Extension

Following entry into Israel, an application to extend a stay on a B-2 visa may be filed at the local MOI. Extensions may be given for up to an additional 90 days. Applications should include, among other things, an explanation regarding the need for the extension, and a detalied description of the activities planned during the requested extension period.

B-2 Visa FAQ

B-2 Visitor and Business Visa FAQ

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.

 

B-2 Dependents Visa FAQ

1. Is there any difference in the dependent process when the principal is on secondment or employment? Basically, I would like to know if the procedure for dependents will differ depending on assignment type.

Dependents process is the same for both.

 

2. At which point you can begin processing of permits for dependents? It is simultaneous with the permit of the principal or after principal received permits?

For non-visa waiver nationals, there will be a need to apply simultaneously for the applicant and his dependents visa. However, for waiver nationals, the visa application will be submitted upon completion of the main applicant work visa. 

 

3. Are the same-sex spouses recognized?

Under the law, the foreign employees are not allowed to bring their same sex into Israel, and some consulates even physically check that the spouse are remaining out of Israel while processing the applicant visa. However, expats under "Foreign Expert" category may bring their same sex partner subject to the discretion of the Ministry of Interior. A description of the relationship should be emphasizing, as well as the dependency issue.

 

4. Is there any difference if same-sex couples are married or not?

Proof of valid same-sex marriage in our jurisdiction will serve as a mere proof of the sincerity of the relationship.

 

5. Is there any difference if opposite-sex couples are married or not?

Proof of valid marriage in our jurisdiction will serve as a strong proof of the sincerity of the relationship, more than unmarried couple

 

6. In case of partnerships, could the partner be recognized as a dependent?

Under the law, the foreign employees are not allowed to bring their partner into Israel, and some consulates even physically check that the spouse are remaining out of Israel while processing the applicant visa. However, expats under "Foreign Expert" category may bring their partner subject to the discretion of the Ministry of Interior. A description of the relationship should be emphasize, as well as the dependency issue

 

7. Do dependents have to apply for visa prior to arrival?

For a non-visa waiver national, there will be a need to apply simultaneously for the applicant and his dependents visa. However, for waiver nationals, the visa application will be submitted upon completion of the main applicant work visa.

 

8. Can dependents apply for permits directly in host location without consular process?

For non-visa waiver nationals, there will be a need to consular processing. However, for waiver nationals, there will be no need for consular processing.

 

9. Based on your experience, is there any point in the dependent process that we should to watch out or take extra care - any red flags?

In case dependent kids are not biological, Legal guardianship must be emphasized.

 

10. Do any documents require legalization?

None. However, it is under the discretion of the Ministry of Interior to hold requirement for specific document, if they see fit.

11. Are dependents authorized to work?  

No.

 

12. What is the lead time prior to filing of the application recommended for dependents applications?

Normal lead time is for non-waivered nationals is 1-2 weeks, unless a security clearance is required (e.g. for Malaysian nationals and other Muslim-oriented countries). The Consular process can take from 1 day (in Europe) up to 2 weeks (in India), depending on the Consulate's workload.

 

13. What is the processing time for dependent permits from filing of initial application until approval (and until they can come to destination location)?

The Estimated time is 2-4 weeks.

 

14. Who can be recognized as a dependent (e.g. wife, children, parents, grandparents, etc)?

Spouse and Children under the age of 18.

 

15. Is there any children age limitation?

18 years of age.

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 is expected to be deported, without being able to return for a period of 10 years.

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