By Amit Acco, Partner
The Ministry of Interior renewed the set of regulations that effectively expends the SEA 45 days B-1 work visa into a 90 days visa.
According to the new regulation, both Israeli and foreign companies can apply for expedited processing of requests for employment in Israel of a foreign expert, for up to 90 days in a calendar year.
The expended 90 days SEA B-1 work visa 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 to perform a temporary assignment in the area of special expertise for periods not exceeding 90 days per year.
This option resolves a common issue for companies that provide technical services such as installation of machines & repairs, and allows for immediate installation of systems. The experts can now travel to Israel to tackle sudden issues that arise, as opposed to the process of obtaining a visa for longer periods, which takes about 3-4 months of processing.
For this visa type, the employer needs to provide 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 10 business days.
Main Benefits of the new 90 days SEA B-1 Work Visa
1. Processing time: it is possible to file the request relatively quickly: only 10 workdays processing time,
2. Immediate Travel: upon receipt of the work permit, the foreign expert can travel to Israel and begin to work immediately,
3. No Consular Processing: no need for consular processing as required in most other types of work visas, hence: less time and less documents,
4. No high prevailing wage: Only requirement is minimum wage (2021: only 1,640 USD gross salary per month)
5. Applications are to be submitted electronically.
Within two days of arrival in Israel, the foreign expert is required to process the 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 90 days into several periods within the calendar year, although before 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 type cannot be extended. In case the work permit expires on December 31 of a calendar year, the company, who wishes to employ 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 the requested duration of employment.