Israel – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update : March 19, 2020

Borders closed, visas automatically extended in response to COVID-19 pandemic

What is the change?

Israel’s borders are now closed. Additionally, the Ministry of the Interior has automatically extended visas until June 30.

All foreign nationals who are not Israeli citizens or residents of Israel will not be able to enter the country. Foreign nationals currently in Israel will have their visas automatically extended without having to visit an MOI office.

  • Implementation time frame: Visa extensions: March 12; border closure: immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5, and General B-1 work visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals planning travel to Israel or currently in Israel on one of the above visa.
  • Business impact: Companies should anticipate significant disruptions to employee mobility and plan accordingly. However, they will not have to extend visas for foreign national employees currently in Israel, saving both time and resources.

Israel’s Population Authority has stated that foreign nationals for whom Israel is “the center of their lives,” are exempted from the border entry ban. Further, extraordinary permission to enter may be granted to foreign nationals working in emergency services in the health and energy sectors. B-1 work visas for foreign experts still require submission of an extension application 60 days prior to expiration.

The border closure will significantly disrupt business activity and employee mobility. The automatic visa extension, however, is good news for employers and their foreign national employees, as businesses deal with the uncertainty and challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and BAL will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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