Covid Travel

You might think this page has nothing to do with our book. But it does. We want to help families navigate COVID-19 travel rules for those who have relatives in Israel-because we believe in bridging the gaps for olim and those who love them.

This page was born out of a need that exploded over the last few months to better understand the cumbersome rules for entering Israel to visit a first degree relative.

Ariella "met" Maureen Ash purely by accident. When this book was published, we somehow connected and before long, Maureen and Ariella were fielding thousands of questions on how to visit family in Israel. There is even a Facebook Group called Reunite Olim With Their Families here, where many of the same questions come up.

It seems like many people feel the need for an immediate answer, and we understand it. So Maureen and I pulled this page together to offer one easy link. It offers you the rules and regulations as we know it, and gives you some of our experiences, what we call our own "intel."  

If you are perplexed by the travel regulations to Israel, you aren't alone. When the government changed the rules for foreign travel to Israel, relatives were looking for some clarity to be able to properly jump through all of the hoops to secure a coveted permit to visit. And the rules change all of the time. 

The government postponed the July 1, 2021 opening, and postponed it again after the Delta variant increased Israel's COVID case load. Today, it looks like the permit system will remain in place for a while.

The permit process has not been easy.  Every Consulate around the world has posted the English version of the rules that are available in Hebrew, which you can find here. Yet, we have learned, the hard way, that there is quite a bit of ambiguity, and worse yet, inconsistency.

We tried to centralize what we have learned and give you links to forms you need, lists of documents you need in one place.

We will update this space as needed so be sure to check back, and please contact us (scroll down below for our contacts) so we can correct any errors.

Any errors are our own and if we made a mistake, we apologize.

Red Countries/High Risk: As of August 31, 2021, entry to Israel is prohibited for foreign nationals from the following countries: Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey. There are procedures in which foreigners from these countries can go to a "green country" for 14 days and apply for a permit from those countries. Contact us for these complicated issues and what is needed to do so. To follow the list of banned countries, click here.

Yellow Countries: As of August 31, 2021, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Taiwan, New Zealand, China, Singapore, Slovakia, Poland, and Czech Republic are considered yellow. 

Orange Countries: Any country that is not red or yellow is considered "orange." Nearly every country in the world is categorized by Israel as orange.

There was a period of time when quarantine requirements, and the ability to shorten them, were tied to the countries' color. Israel's mandatory 14 day quarantine, for example, could be shortened to 7 days, with day 1 and day 7 PCR, and self-release upon a negative test on day 7. In early September 2021, quarantine rules for foreign nationals from orange or yellow countries changed, with quarantine now tied to vaccination and serological status.

Foreign nationals can apply for early release from quarantine from the Ministry of Health if:

 

  1. They received their third shot more than a week previously, OR 
  2. They have been vaccinated or have recovered within the previous six months, OR
  3. Have recovered and received one shot, AND
  4. They have positive serological tests done in Israel within 6 months, AND
  5. They have tested negative for PCR at the airport.
If these conditions are met, you create 1 file with your vaccination record (or recovery letter), passport, negative PCR and serological tests. You upload them to this form and apply for a release from quarantine. To access this form in English, click the menu bar on the top left and switch the language. When you request a release from isolation, select the reason as "Change of the Ministry's restrictions."  In the same form, you can request issuance of a tav yarok. It can take 24-48 hours to be released from quarantine, and a tav yarok can take 10 days, not inclusive of Friday, Shabbat or holidays.
If you do not meet the above conditions, you will have 7 day quarantine. You take a PCR on day 1, and a PCR on day 7, and after receipt of the negative test, you can self-release without Ministry of Health approval. 
Last update made: September 19, 2021

A few important things to keep in mind all the time:

Rules can change. Forms can change.

Not next week or next month. So it's hard to answer questions on what might happen for after the Jewish holidays or Hanukkah.

If you get rejected for a permit to travel to Israel, contact us to look at your file to make sure that you submitted all of the required documents. Many people secure permits in Israel via Misrad Hapnim in Israel, so consider that route. More on it below. 

There are some threshold issues you need to be aware of:

Today, it seems that consulates and Misrad Hapnim want a ticket even though they are not supposed to require it. Yet they might not approve applications without it. Make sure your COVID health insurance covers the period of your travel. 

Think of the consulate as your agent outside of Israel. Misrad Hapnim's (Ministry of Interior) Population and Immigration Authority  handles permits issued inside Israel. Their two systems are not tied together. Israeli citizens with first degree relatives overseas can now file on a centralized system at Misrad Hapnim (more on it below), in Hebrew only. And the Consulates have a centralized application process as well (more on it below). We suggest that you file in both systems 30 days pre flight. If you are approved, you will receive a 30 day permit. Israeli citizens living outside of Israel must use the Consulate system only.

What is a first degree relative? Well no one defines it well enough, so here is the short and brutal answer. A first degree relative is someone you sit shiva for. Parents, children, and siblings and their spouses. In some cases, we have heard that half siblings and step-siblings who have secured permits. You have a better chance if you are a half-sibling than if you are a step sibling. The Ministry of Health will consider permit requests for grandparents of brides and grooms who are Israeli citizens. However, you will need birth certificates in order to prove the relationship from grandparent down to the grandchild. 

First degree relatives can bring a spouse and children (under 18) but all applicants for a permit must be vaccinated or recovered, and each needs a separate permit request. For a period of time, Israel issued permits for children under 6 without a recovery certificate, allowing them to do a full quarantine period (10-14 days at the time). They have rescinded that policy and no foreign children can receive a permit without a vaccination or recovery letter, with the exception of a child under 1, who does not need a recovery letter, but must do full quarantine (7 days) and must have a specific permit.  

Vaccinated (or recovered) parents of student visa holders can receive approval to enter Israel for the birth of a grandchild - within 30 days prior to the due date or within 30 days of the birth. The application must include all the regular documentation plus: Copies of both parents passports and visas, and the baby's birth certificate or a letter from a doctor with the due date. Please note that paternal grandparents have been rejected from receiving a permit but we suggest that you try anyway. Some seem to get through.

Foreign yeshiva student between the ages of 17-25 can be issued student visas for the upcoming (2021-2022) academic year if they are vaccinated or have proof of recovery with a previous positive PCR test. The institution must file an organized list of incoming students to the government and the list will be sent to Ben Gurion Airport to allow travel into Israel between July 25 and August 8, 2021. They will receive student visas only until December 2021 and the institution is responsible for extending the visa. 

Student visa holders with an mֿ\ר or the word רבות on their visa can travel in and out of Israel without a permit, unless they are from a red country. If you are student visa holder but are in a banned/red country, you need to get to a "green" one for 14 days and apply for a permit from there. 

Israelis living outside of Israel can now travel to Israel with their non-Israeli children without the need to register them as Israelis first. But the process of registering them as Israelis had to have been started. It is complicated and it is time consuming. Please see the post here and complete all the paperwork related to registration of children born to Israelis outside of Israel.

A reminder about children. Today, all foreign children (with the exception of those under 1) require evidence of a vaccination or a recovery letter. Children under 1 must do full quarantine (7 days). There was a time when children under 6 were allowed do enter and do quarantine. That is no longer the case. 

Birth certificates no longer need an apostille when applying for a permits, although the consulate websites and the Israeli government websites continue to say you need it (even though it is no longer true.) We know your application is accepted today without an apostille document. 

If the first degree relative's last name and your last name are not the same, you will need to provide documentation of name changes (a marriage license, for example).

As of June 1, grandparents are allowed to secure a permit for the wedding of grandchildren. Please ensure that you create a "trail" with birth certificates - grandparents to parents to the Israeli citizen - including evidence of name changes. 

There are two ways to secure a permit and we strongly recommend you do both to cover all of your bases:

  1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs centralized online portal, 30 day before a flight. A 30-day permit will be issued.
  2. Misrad Hapnim's Population and Immigration Authority online portal in Israel, 30 days before the flight. A 30 day permit will be issued. The Misrad Hapnim site is only in Hebrew, and it can only be accessed from inside Israel, unless you use a VPN. 

We recommend that the foreign national file online with the Consulate portal, and that the Israeli file online on the Misrad Hapnim portal.  

Please contact us to make sure the documents are correct before you file either at the Consulate or Misrad Hapnim. It is impossible to correct or amend the file after submission which means you have to refile if there is an error. Refiling takes time. 

Please understand the Israeli concept of time. A flight in a week from now is not urgent for Israelis, either at the Consulate or Misrad Hapnim. 24-hours might be, but not a week. Both tracks are stressful and one ought to be prepared for this kind of last minute brinksmanship. And if that kind of tension is not for you, reconsider coming to Israel at this time.

Both tracks are explained more fully below. Either way, you will need this basic set of documents and you might need more depending on your situation: 

 

  1. Passports: Of every person seeking a permit and the first degree Israeli relative. It is important to have them both just in case. Sometimes Israeli passports have a maiden name, which makes an easier connection to parents. Please make sure your passport does not expire within 6 months of filing. You can be denied a permit on that basis. 
  2. Ticket: The Consulate portal asks for a date of the flight. Misrad Hapnim's portal does not. Doesn't mean you shouldn't have it. Try to get a refundable ticket or one where you can change the date, just in case you don't get the permit by the time you are supposed to fly. Some people have had trouble at Ben Gurion Airport if their stay in Israel is short and have been asked to go to the Misrad Hapnim in the airport to receive an "ishur yetzia me'haratez," approval to leave the country. 
  3. COVID-19 specific insurance coverage: It has to be very specific and it must have the name of every traveler and specifically say it covers COVID-19. It also must cover the entire period that you are in Israel, or you will not receive a permit. Medicare or Medicaid or insurance cards are not sufficient. Permits have been rejected if the insurance is not specific. Some options include: Allianz, Berkshire Hathaway, Trawick, IMG, Travelex, Square Mouth, TinLeg, Egert Cohen, Harel, Travel Guard and Travelinsuranceisrael.com. Please note that Israeli citizens living outside of Israel no longer need this COVID specific insurance. See post here.
  4. Proof of vaccination or recovery certificate: Try to have your recovery letter from a doctor be as detailed as possible (i.e., a positive PCR test when the person had COVID and a negative PCR test for then they recovered.) It is your best chance of receiving a permit. We have seen too many that were rejected without this information. Make sure the doctor's license number is on the recovery letter.
  5. Teudat Zehut of the Israeli relative first degree relative: The identity card of a first degree relative (someone you sit shiva for - mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter.)
  6. Marriage license, birth certificate or any other document that proves your first-degree relationship to the Israeli citizen. If your first degree relative is NOT a citizen or a permanent resident you will likely be rejected for now. If you are applying for spouses, the spousal relationship needs to be proven by a marriage certificate. If you are applying for siblings, you need the birth certificates of both siblings. Highlight relevant information (e.g., siblings that share the same parent) to make it easy for the reader of your file. 
  7. Isolation statement: Signed quarantine statement, a commitment to abide by Israel's rules. The form is here. Don't be surprised if Misrad Hapnim asks you for a different version of the form - sometimes this happens.
  8. Wedding: Those who are flying for a wedding might get asked for their children's proof of marriage by sending the tik number from Rabbanut - the documentation that they have a wedding date. Try and avoid this issue and just let them know you are visiting a child or sibling. 
  9. Lone soldiers or lone bat sherut: Documentation that they are in this status, their IDF card and their teudat chayal boded paperwork
  10. Births for student visa holders: If a student visa holder seeking the visit of parents for the birth of a grandchild, attach doctor’s notes of the expected date and their student visa pages of their passport. See post about this issue here. Some paternal grandparents have been rejected so be prepared if this happens.
Make your application and your documents easy for government officials to read. Highlight people's names, highlight parents, highlight COVID coverage. Attach an explanation if it is a complicated situation. The more of a puzzle it is, the longer it takes to get approval. Please know that neither the Consulate site nor the Misrad Hapnim site give you much capacity to explain your personal situation. If you feel the need to, you might have to attach an explanation to one of the documents you upload. 
Reminder that every child over the age of 1 must have a recovery letter (with details of when they had COVID, when they recovered and even positive and negative PCR tests), or must show vaccination. Children under 1 do not need to have a recovery letter but must do full quarantine and must have a permit.
No documents are needed for student visa holders currently in the USA and those with permanent resident status in Israel who are currently in the USA. Both can apparently return to Israel with no need for approval, but we aren't sure how this will play out.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has centralized the application process with an online portal that can be found here: https://bit.ly/3ehJ6tz. We suggest that you file with the Consulate 30 days pre flight, and have your Israeli relative file with Misrad Hapnim at the same time  (more on this below).

Consulate Portal Tips: 

  • File 30 days pre flight. But don't hesitate to file even if you have less than 30 days. 
  • One form for every single traveler but start with a "primary" to link other travelers.  Open up multiple applications in multiple tabs and cross reference the other since the application number is at the start of every new online form. You can add a number of rows to the application so it is easy to connect multiple applications to one. However, his might be a tad complicated particularly if you by accident close a tab. If you cannot manage multiple tabs, consider a primary traveler the one with a first degree relative in Israel. Once that primary is done and you have an application number for the primary, start a new application for the other applicants. You can either select  "other," explain the situation, and ADD multiple Application Numbers for the primary traveler. The very first application, i.e., the "primary applicant," ought to be the person who has the immediate first degree relative. Then, all subsequent applications can reference that first one.   
  • In the field “purpose of traveling,” there are 14 options:
      • A foreign parent of a minor Israeli child who resides in Israel
      • A foreign passenger married to an Israeli citizen or a permanent resident of Israel 
      • A lone soldier or a Sherut Leumi volunteer or a visit of their first-degree relatives
      • A passenger who has a first-degree Israeli family member (Israeli citizen or a permanent resident of Israel) that is currently in Israel
      • A passenger who is a son or a daughter of a parent(s) who is/are an Israeli citizen(s)
      • Accompaniment for an urgent and life-saving medical procedure
      • Arrival for an urgent and life-saving medical procedure
      • Attending a funeral in Israel
      • Attending the funeral of a first-degree relative
      • Attending a wedding of Israeli citizens or permanent residents or foreigners who reside in Israel
      • Foreign grandparents who are requesting to visit Israel on the occasion of the birth of their grandchild (providing that the grandchild's family is residing in Israel)
      • Other
      • Students and Yeshiva Students 
      • Visiting a first-degree relative who holds Israeli citizenship
      • All above options will require you to attach documents and no document can be larger than 1.2MB. This means you need to compress each and every document on ilovepdf.com to upload. 
      • You will be asked to upload certain required documents depending on the reason for your travel. They also give you an additional 5 documents to upload that are optional.  Depending on the reason for your travel, the consulate site will trigger certain mandatory document requirements. You will also be offered the option of uploading 5 additional documents that are not required fields. See below for a list of the bare minimum and required documents you will need.
      • 14-day block to reapplying: If you applied once, and you try to reapply with the same passport number (even to fix a deficient application) you will be blocked from doing so. To get around it, put the letter P in front of the passport number and you can apply again. Beware, this is a one-time fix only.  
      • Use the comment box: There is a comment box available and you ought to use it to explain your circumstances.
        The system can work fairly well if you are dealing only with a permit for 1 person traveling to Israel. The complexity is when you have, multiple people traveling. The form does give you an ability to enter another traveler, except it asks you for an application number for that second traveler and you won't have the application number for the "primary" first degree relative unless you file it first. The way to do it is to open another tab in your browser and link each of the applications together.
        For example, if you have minor children, you start with seeking a permit for the parent, the "primary applicant" with the first degree relative in Israel. Make sure to have the reference number of that filing. Then start a new application in a new tab for the minor child who might not have a first degree relative in Israel. You add a traveler to that application, add the primary applicant's name, passport and application number. Select "Other" in the "purpose for traveling" field. Then, in the explanation box, indicate that this is a filing for your minor child that is connected to reference number XYZ of the parent. And you can add other minor children as additional travelers with the same primary application number. Otherwise, there is no way to connect those two filings.
        Any Israeli citizen who resides outside of Israel must use the Consulate system to get permit. It cannot be done from the Misrad Hapnim site. 
        Depending on the reason for your travel, you might be asked to submit additional mandatory documents. You are also given an additional 5 documents that are optional to upload.  Each document should be no larger than 1.2MB and you might need to compress on www.ilovepdf.com. Use the comment box available to you.
        Consulate's Document Punch List: Below is a bare minimum punch list of documents for the Consulate portal upload:
        1. Passport. Required field. Make sure it does not expire in the next 6 months or you can be rejected.
        2. Vaccination card or proof of recovery.  Once you choose either, you will be given dedicated field to upload vaccination record or recovery letter. Try to have your recovery letter from a doctor be as detailed as possible (i.e., a positive PCR test when the person had COVID and a negative PCR test for then they recovered. It is your best chance of receiving a permit. We have seen too many that were rejected without this information). A doctor's letter should have their license number on it.
        3. COVID specific medical insurance. Required field. Some of the companies we know of that provide such insurance include Allianz, Berkshire Hathaway, Trawick, IMG, Travelex, Square Mouth, TinLeg, Egert Cohen, Harel, Travel Guard and Travelinsuranceisrael.com). Make sure that it covers the length of your stay in Israel. Highlight the names of the insured and the COVID coverage language.
        4. Teudat Zehut of the Israeli citizen that is your relative. Required field. 
        5. Proof of family connection via birth certificates or marriage licenses: If you are coming to see a parent, you need your birth certificate with the names as they appear on the passports. If you are coming to visit a child, you also need the child's birth certificate. If there are siblings applying for one another, you need both birth certificates. Any name changes in any of the documents need to be attached as well. This will be a required field if you are traveling to see a first degree relative. To make it easier on the reader, highlight the relevant names in the documents.
        6. Obligation To Abide by Israel's MOH Rules here (aka, Health Declaration or Isolation form). This is one required field. 
        7. Ticket. This is one of your 5 optional documents to be added.
        8. Lone soldier or bat sherut documents and IDF card. This is mandatory if you are applying to visit a lone soldier or bat sherut. You will need their IDF card and their teudat chayal boded paperwork.
        9. Birth of a grandchild: Mandatory documents to upload include proof of family connection, documents that prove pregnancy/birth. grandparents passports. Highlight all names to make it easy on the reader. 
        10. Miscellaneous: Depending on the reason for your travel, there are a slew of mandatory documents you must submit and the portal tells you what they are. 

        Receipt: At the end of the process, after you submit, you are given a choice to download the file you just submitted. Download it and save it. You will also receive an email confirmation and it will include your entire application in a PDF. Please check the PDF to ensure that all attachments uploaded properly. If there are blank pages where documents ought to be, it can be because your documents are too heavy. Compress them and refile. Save your application.  

        A reminder about children. Today, all foreign children above the age of of 1 need a vaccination or a recovery letter with detailed information in a recovery letter, for instance a positive PCR and negative PCR to show they were sick and they were recovered. There was a time when children under 6 were allowed to enter and do quarantine. That is no longer the case. Children under 1 must quarantine if they receive an ishur (and they need an ishur). 

        RejectionsIf you application is rejected, we will ask you to send us the file so we can see what was missing from it. Some consulates actually tell you what is missing and why you were rejected so look for those comments in the rejection letter. You can cure the file by reapplying with the letter P in front of the passport number in order to get around the 14-day block. 

        Permits You will receive a 30 day permit from this system and you need to fly within that 30 day period. Please count the days to make sure you don't overshoot it. Once you arrive in Israel, you receive a 90 day tourist visa. Most consulate permits look like the first few pages of your application and they don't look very official. You might run across an airline clerk who questions the permit. To avoid this, print out the email that came with the permit  (in addition to the permit itself). The email from the consulate will have the consulate information in the signature line and that can help with airline clerks.

        You might get a permit from a Consulate that is not in your area. We know of people in Chicago who received permits from Singapore and people in New York who received permits from Atlanta. It makes us believe that sometimes they try to  balance the work between consulates and farm it out.This is why it is important that you be in touch with us so we can tell you what needs to go in the filing. 

        For many months, Misrad Hapnim was not a centralized operation. Some took the application via email. Others could walk in. Nearly all found it maddening and stressful dealing with such a decentralized process. Today, Misrad Hapnim's Population and Immigration Authority has this online portal, accessible only from an Israeli IP address. To access it outside of Israel, create a VPN.

        Misrad Hapnim Portal Tips 

        • Little Room For Error: You can't amend a file and if you make a mistake or forget a document, you have to refile the entire application. If you are asked by a Misrad Hapnim to send another document, they mean refile the whole application, and not just email a document in response. 
        • Only accessible in Israel: You cannot access the portal from outside of Israel unless you create a VPN. If you live in Israel but try to apply when you are temporarily outside of Israel, Misrad Hapnim knows that you left the country and will deny your request until they have recorded your re-entry to Israel. 
        • It is all in Hebrew: It will never be in English or any other language for that matter. Contact us if you need help. Please circle all of the important information in your documents to make it easier for the readers at Misrad Hapnim.
        • Download the application: Too many people forget this step! When you complete the application, there is a screen that says "horada." Don't forget to download the whole application in PDF, and save the file because if you miss this step, you will never have a copy of what you submitted. Check your downloaded application to make sure it is not missing documents, and if it is, refile with documents that are under 1.2MB. 
        • First section of the form "Hamazmin" (the "inviter") is the Israeli citizen or can be a visa holder: He/she will have to put in their personal information (TZ, email, phone, and address) in order to be directed to the right branch office in one's area. If one enters a foreign passport, it is assumed that Misrad Hapnim knows what kind of visa they have and will act accordingly. 
        • "Hamuzman" (the "invitee") is the foreigner: Here one has to enter the name and passport number of the person who seeks a permit. To add two invitees or more, just press the + sign for "hosafat muzman" and can add the information for all the other invitees. 
        • Kind of permit sought: There are a few options 
          • For a spouse or significant other 
          • First degree relative 
          • Experts/artists/sports 
          • Other permits 
        • Document attachment (under 1MB): You are only given 6 fields in which to attach documents - the passport field, the AS1 field (see below), the isolation form field, the first degree relation field, the vaccination field, and the COVID insurance field. This effectively means that if you have 2 applicants, you need to combine documents into 1 file. Create 1 document for all passports. Create 1 document for all isolation forms. Create 1 document for all of birth certificates and marriage licenses that prove the first degree relation. 
        • No other information can be attached: You can't explain your application or any special circumstances. So if you have a lone soldier, those documents need to be included in the first degree relation file.
        • Tickets or itinerary: These ought to be included with the passport files. 
        • Compress files: Files cannot be larger than 1.2MB for each field. The website ilovepdf.com is your friend.
        • Israeli citizens living outside of Israel: You cannot file via Misrad Hapnim. You need to use the Consulate system.
        • Similar documents as consulate: The documents one needs for Misrad Hapnim and the Consulate are similar so families can work together to get both applications done.
        Misrad Hapnim Document Punch List: These are document fields for the Misrad Hapnim application, in the precise order as it appears on the portal: 
        • Foreigner's passport. Picture page. Make sure it does not expire within 6 months or you can be rejected. If you have more than 1 invitee, you need to create 1 file with all those passports in 1 file. Add the tickets to this file.
        • Ashrat Knisa (AS1) form here. Please do not stress this form. It seems to make everyone a little crazy. You only need 1 per family. First section is for the Israeli inviter (whether they are a business or individual). Second section is for the invitee, the foreigner's information. Third section is for the spouse of invitee. Fourth section is for the children of the invitee. Regarding signatures, first signature is by the Israeli applicant and second one is by the foreigner. You can see a fake one dummied up here. Mickey Mouse is the Israeli and Mom Mouse is the foreigner being invited. 
        • Proof of first degree relation. There is only one field to upload this information, so if you need to upload two birth certificates (for proof of siblings) or a marriage certificate and a birth certificate, you will have to combine the documents into one. This is the place to add an explanation letter to explain who is related to whom.
        • Isolation Form (aka Health Declaration Form) here.  One isolation form must be completed and signed for each traveler, and combined into 1 document for upload. 
        • Vaccination record or recovery letter. Try to have your recovery doctor's letter be as detailed as possible, (i.e., a positive PCR test when the person had COVID and a negative PCR test for then they recovered.) It is your best chance of receiving a permit. We have seen too many that were rejected without this information. If there is more than 1 invitee, combine the vaccination records in 1 document and upload.
        • Insurance document: Circle or highlight the names of insured and where the COVID insurance coverage is. Make it easy for them. And make sure it covers the entire stay in Israel.
        Receipt: Unlike the Consulate form, you simply receive an automatic response that you submitted the application with a case number and the Misrad Hapnim office it was routed to. You will not receive a PDF copy of your application. If you failed to download the application when you were prompted for a "horada," you will not have a full copy of your application. 
        Permit30 days from the issuance of the document. You have to get on a plane to Israel before the 30th day. Please count the days and don't over shoot it. It looks different than the Consulate one, with a proper logo and signature.

        A reminder about children. Today, all foreign children above the age of 1 require evidence of a vaccination or a recovery letter, the latter with specifics on the positive PCR, the negative PCR which demonstrate recovery. There was a time when children under 6 were allowed to enter and do quarantine. That is no longer the case. Children under 1 who receive a permit must do full quarantine (7 days). 

        Once you have your permit to travel to Israel, PRINT IT, along with all the other documents above. It is good to have it all. 

        Before you fly, fill out these forms:

        1. 24 Hour Declaration Statement: Complete a travel entry declaration statement/form here within 24 hours of your departure to Israel. Every single person does it,  even Israeli citizens. It must be within 24 hours of your flight to Israel (departure) but the form seems to perform better if you fill it out after midnight of the day you fly. Filling it out can be a little unfriendly and it works better on a computer or tablet. There have been complaints about entering area codes and arrival times in Israel. The telephone area code box (if using an Israeli cell phone as we recommend), type ISR and then select Israel - 972 will fill the box). If you select a telephone area code of United States (which we don't recommend), type UNI and selected the second "United" which will be the United States. The next box has your number without dashes or zeroes (e.g., 549451234). Try to give them an Israeli cell because that is the cell that will receive an SMS releasing you from quarantine. Autofill seems to not work sometimes and you might need to scroll down a long list to find the selection you need. You DO NOT need to upload your vaccination record - if often makes the form malfunction if you try. You might encounter problems with the arrival of your flight section. Don't stress it - just take whatever date they give you. We know it sounds strange but it works. Estimate the time you will go into isolation. Whatever isolation address you put on this form will be the place where the authorities will check on you. If you are at an AirBnB, say that you are in a vacant apartment. The form used to ask you for the dates of your vaccination but it no longer has these fields. 

        You know you did the form correctly if you get an email response after submission from a "do-not reply MOH" email along with a number in the subject line. That email response will be in Hebrew followed by English and Arabic. Print it. You might get a letter that tells you that you have a quarantine requirement for 14 days. Don't panic. That is Israeli law, and as noted, your quarantine can be shortened under certain conditions. If you have a problem with this 24 hour pre flight entry declaration, contact us. Once you complete the form, it will give you a link to schedule a PCR test at Ben Gurion.

        The 24 hour form has been known to run into problems and it happens at a stressful time, right before your flight. If you run into problems right before a flight, please complete every screen that you can, take a picture (or screen shot) of the screen) and print each screen, including the last screen that shows an error message. That will help you get past the agents at the airport if there are problems with the 24 hour form.

        2. Schedule a PCR/Serological Testing at Ben Gurion: PCR and serological testing at the airport is done by TestNGo. TestNGo's site for booking can be found here.
        You can prepay for PCR tests (80 NIS), or you can pay at the airport (100 NIS). If you do serological testing at the airport, it saves you a step. If you cannot order serological tests online because the form does not offer you an option, don't worry, you can pay for it at the airport. Serological testing is 127 NIS. Take a photo of the serological results, although you will also receive an email confirmation. You will need serological testing at some point to get a green pass (as noted more fully below), or in some cases, to be released from quarantine early, depending on your vaccination or recovery status.
        3. PCR 72 Hours Pre-Flight. It cannot be a rapid test. It must be a PCR test. It can't be more than 72 hours before you fly. Please account for connecting flights or the PCR test will not be valid and because of this, it's best to try a direct flight. Please note that some airlines have requested a passport number on the top of the PCR test result

        Traveling To And From Israel:

        Where you can quarantine: You cannot quarantine in a hotel unless you get permission from them and that is less common with the increase of the Delta variant. Quarantine means a bedroom with a door and a bathroom. Israel takes quarantine seriously. The authorities will indeed check on you. They will knock on your door to see if you are there. Please honor the quarantine rules.

        Quarantine Requirements: The State of Israel's mandatory  quarantine is 14 days but there are options to shorten them. There was a period of time when quarantine requirements were tied to the countries' color (yellow or orange). For example, one could be shorten quarantine to 7 days, with day 1 and day 7 PCR, and self release upon a negative test on day 7, if you were from an orange country. As of September 2021, Israel linked the length of quarantine to vaccination and serological status, as noted more fully below. 


        Early Release From Quarantine: A foreign national with a permit can be apply for a release from quarantine if:

         

        1. They received their third shot more than a week previously, OR 
        2. They have been vaccinated or have recovered within the previous six months, OR
        3. Have recovered and received one shot, AND
        4. They have positive serological tests done in Israel within 6 months, AND
        5. They have tested negative for PCR at the airport.

        You cannot apply for release from quarantine before you arrive in Israel. If the above noted conditions are met, you create 1 file with your vaccination record (or recovery letter), passport, negative PCR and serological tests. You upload them to this form and apply for a release from quarantine. To access the form in English, click the menu bar in the top left. When you click release from isolation, you select "Change of the Ministry's restrictions." You know you have done this form correctly when you receive the form back via email in a PDF. It will have a reference number. On occasion, MOH will ask you multiple times for different documents and there is no rhyme or reason for it. 
        It can take 24-48 hours to receive a reply, not inclusive of Friday, Shabbat or holidays. You must wait for a written release (either SMS or email) from the Ministry of Health. Save this information as proof of your release.

        7 Day Quarantine: If your vaccine that is more than 6 months old, you will likely be required to quarantine for 7 days. This means you that you are required to take a day 1 PCR upon arrival at Ben Gurion, and a second PCR on day 7, anytime after 12:01. If your PCR is negative on day 7, you can self release and you do not need MOH permission to leave quarantine. You may leave quarantine to do serological testing if you wish and to do a PCR test on day 7. Save both of your negative PCR tests. Serological testing will not help you secure release from 7 day quarantine if that is your requirement. 

        Countrywide PCR Testing: For those who need to do a day 7 PCR test, or otherwise want to test if they think they are ill, there are quite a number of places. Pikud Ha'Oref's list is here, their tests are free and can be done with a passport, but cannot be used for pre-flight travel. Please know that they have been known to take 48 hours to get results. Other options include Superpharm or Hatzala (see Airport city location/times here and Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh locations/times here). Another great option is this website, www.coronatestisrael.com, where you can search for other PCR options in your area. 

        Ben Gurion's PCR and Serological Testing: You cannot exit Ben Gurion Airport without doing PCR which are done by a company called TestNGo. It was once free and now it is not - for Israelis and foreigners alike. You can book and pay before you arrive in Israel for both the PCR and serological test. If you book the test online, it is 80 NIS. If you don't book in advance it is 100 NIS. Results of your PCR will be sent to the Ministry of Health but will also be emailed to you within 24 hours. If you don't receive it, go to the TestNGo website and download it.

        Serological tests at the airport cost 127 NIS. Sometimes you can book it in advance, but if you can't, you can do it at the airport without any additional fee. If you do serological testing at the airport, it saves you a step later on. You receive immediate results, you take a photo of those results, and you receive an email as well. Serological testing is needed for a tav yarok, as noted more fully below. 

        Countrywide serological testing: If you chose to opt out of serological testing at the airport for whatever reason, there are other locations to do the testing. 

        Ministry of Health approved serological testing sites (in Hebrew) here and in English here. Some of the more popular ones are Assaf Harofeh which is not far from the airport, Assuta, and Ichilov but note that hours vary. 

        Hatzalah has locations in Jerusalem and Airport City (Hagolan 1, in Waze put in United Hatzalah Corona tests - Airport City) that are open 24/6 and on Fridays until 1:00 and after Shabbat; Beit Shemesh and Bnei Brak, and every day 9-21:00 and Fridays until 1:00. See here for days/hours and locations in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh, and see here for the Airport City location. Hatzala will also come to your home for a higher fee, 600NIS before 11:00 PM and 1,000NIS after 11:00PM. Rambam Labs in Jerusalem, see here for hours, telephone and email, is often used for those who think they might be low on antibodies. Tenecare can meet you at or near the airport for 450NIS and will come to your home. RDN Medical makes house calls even on Fridays. Search for serological testing options in your region at www.coronatestisrael.com

        Please remember that all labs in Israel operate at a slower pace on Fridays, Shabbat and holidays and this might delay your serological results.

        Prior Serological Testing: If you have done serological testing in Israel in the last six months, you can use those serological tests to be released from quarantine, but only under the circumstances noted above in the "minimal/early release quarantine" heading. If you are required to do 7 day quarantine, serological testing will not offer you the possibility of early release. Prior serological testing conducted in Israel within 6 months can be used for a green pass (see more fully section below on this issue).

        Be responsible for your own tests: Make sure that all testing labs put your passport number on the serological results. Without the proper passport number on the serological paperwork, your release from quarantine can be a longer process. Always make sure that you get a copy of your own serological tests. Never rely on a lab to send your results to the Ministry of Health. 

        Contacting Ministry of Health: If you have not been released from quarantine when you think you should be, or you need to otherwise want to try and push them to move faster (somewhat of a wasted exercise), you can reach the Ministry of Health at *5400 from any Israeli phone. 

        It can take 24-48 hours to receive a reply, not inclusive of Friday, Shabbat or holidays. You must wait for a written release (either SMS or email) from the Ministry of Health. Save this information as proof of your release. 

        How to get a Green Pass (Tav Yarok)

        Green passes (tav yarok) returned to Israel in late July 2021. They are valid only when they are displayed electronically on the Ramzor app. You can find the Apple and Android versions for download on this page here.

        On September 3, 2021, Israel announced new definitions of what constitutes it constitutes a vaccinated individual:

        1. One who received a booster
        2. One whose second vaccination took place less than six months ago
        3. One who is recovered and received 1 vaccination 
        4. One who is recovered and has an Israeli recovery certificate that is less than 6 months.

        These definitions were issued based on Israeli research findings that vaccinations have a reduced efficacy in month 6. There were many vaccinated individuals who tested positive for COVID in their six month, and it was the cause of a spike in cases in Israel in August 2021. As a result, Israel has linked the definition of a vaccinated individual to their ability to receive a tav yarok. Israelis who don't meet one of the above conditions lose their ability to have a tav yarok which means inability to access certain places. 

        Israel's findings effected foreign nationals who previously secured a tav yarok during earlier trips to Israel. Anyone who received a tav yarok, but left Israel, will find that their app no longer has a green pass on it when they return. Effectively, this means that foreign nationals need to reapply for a tav yarok and cannot rely on their old one.

        As of this writing, it appears that the Ministry of Health has been slow to issue a tav yarok to foreign nationals. Those in the best position to receive one are those with a recent 3rd booster, those who have had a vaccination clearly within the last six months, and those with serological testing in Israel that is less than six months old. Please be aware that if your visit Israel to Israel takes place during your six month since your vaccine, MOH seems not particularly keen on issuing a tav yarok. You can try, but manage your own expectations. 

        You can request a tav yarok using this form and you can click on the menu bar on the top for English. Create 1 file with your serological testing (less than six months), vaccination record (booster or second shot clearly within the six months), passport and recent negative PCR tests (2 if you did 7 day quarantine). Choose "Arrival in Israel" as the grounds for going into isolation, choose "Release from isolation" in the request, and choose "Other" in the grounds for requesting release. In the comment/details box, type in:

        אנא תנפיקו לי תו ירוק. מצ״ב בדיקה סירולוגי חיובי, 2 בדיקות קורונה שליליות, תעודת חיסון וצילום דרכון

         

        If you did it right, you will receive an email back with your request as a PDF and with a reference number. 

        It can take a while before you are issued a tav yarok and you might be denied, particularly if you are in Israel during the 6th month after your vaccination.

        It is far from clear whether the tav yarok will be valid on your next trip to Israel and you might have to reapply, as evidenced by what transpired over the last few months.

          Israel requires that you do a 72-hour pre flight PCR test before you leave Israel (unless you are Israeli and were vaccinated in Israel, in which case, you are governed by the rules of the country you are traveling to). 

          Hatzala does PCR tests (in a number of locations), as does Superpharm, and Check2Fly at the airport, located at the Tamar Gate and there are signs at the airport where to go. You need a ticket in order to get a test at Check2Fly. Pikud Ha'Oref's tests cannot be used for outbound PCR tests for flights.

          You can find other private testing sites for non citizens at public hospitals here and you can look up other PCR testing facilities in tour area at www.coronatestisrael.com

          As of June 1, 2021, Israel has dispensed with all form requirements for foreigners when leaving Israel.  Israelis, even dual citizens, have to file this form before they leave, declaring that they will not be traveling to a "red" country. The fine for violating this rule is 5000 NIS.

          We will update this page whenever rules or forms change, so check back with us. Most recent update on this webpage has been September 19, 2021.

          Contact us anytime. We are happy to help. You can contact Ariella via the form here. Ariella is located in Jerusalem and would be happy to hear from you when you arrive. Maureen can be reached at this email: AshMaureen@gmail.com. Please use subject line: Olim and Their Families.

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