Business travelers who do not wish for their Israeli Entry Visa to be stamped in their foreign passport can ask for a “Separate Visa,” under the Israeli Interior Ministry procedure titled: “Visitors to Israel, asking for Separate Entry Visa and not stamping their passport” (hereinafter: “Separate Entry Visa Procedure”).
This procedure was implemented in order to determine the treatment of separate entry visa requests. According to that procedure, the requesting party’s country of origin and foreign passport are considered before requests for not stamping entry visas in foreign passports are granted.
According to the Entry to Israel Act (visa exemption), 1974, citizens of the European Union, U.S.A., Canada and additional countries specified below, receive, upon their arrival to Israel, a B-2 entry visa valid for three months. Citizens of these states are not required to apply for entry visa prior to arrival. According to the Separate Entry Visa Procedure, each case is considered on an individual basis, and most requests are granted. In cases where the applicant is a citizen of the visa-exempt countries, after the completion of a short interview, the entry visa, valid for three months, shall be stamped on a separate page not in the foreign passport. When leaving Israel, the receiving party must submit that page at a checkpoint at the border, whereupon the immigration officers shall destroy the page in accordance with the rulings of the Separate Entry Visa Procedure Act.
The countries exempt from advanced Entry Visa request to Israel are:
Austria, U.S.A., Iceland, Estonia, El Salvador, Argentina, Bahamas Islands, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Switzerland, Bolivia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Greece, Japan, Luxemburg, Lichtenstein, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mongolia, Micronesia, Malawi, Malta, Mexico, Norway, San Marino, Slovenia, St. Kites, Swaziland, Surinam, Slovakia, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Fiji Islands, Philippines, Finland, Panama, Paraguay, Czech Republic, France, Colombia, Costa-Rica, Korea, Croatia, Sweden.
In cases where the applicant is a citizen of a country that does not have an Entry Visa exempt agreement with Israel, the request for Separate Entry Visa stamping shall be refused, unless exceptional circumstances are involved. Examples of exception circumstances include applicant’s political and economic situation. In such cases, the request for Separate Entry Visa shall be submitted to the Israeli Interior Ministry prior to arrival in Israel. These requests are referred to Israeli Foreign Ministry for legal opinion and are granted only under very exceptional circumstances.
A visitor from a country having no diplomatic relations with Israel, asking for Separate Entry Visa stamping, shall be refused, except if entitled to by the Law of Return. Even if the visitor is entitled by the Law of Return, the visitor can still be refused if the visitor’s country of origin does not have any diplomatic relations with Israel, and there is not an Israeli Consulate in that country. Such cases require a total security check, followed by providing necessary documentation, and only then shall the separate Entry Visa be issued in a consulate which holds diplomatic relations with Israel. This process takes 3-4 months which must be taken into consideration when applying.
All said and explained in this article does not constitute a legal opinion and does not replace legal advice. Responsibility for using the wordings and opinions conveyed in this article relies solely and entirely on the reader.
This article was written by Dotan Cohen Law Offices, working in the field of immigration law in the United States, Israel, Canada and Australia.