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Israel - Visas

When travelling to Israel it is essential that your passport still has six months left run. A short stay visa will allow a visitor to remain in the country for up to three months. Requests for work permits must be made to the Ministry of the Interior.

Some people can obtain a tourist visa upon entry into Israel free of charge, although this depends upon the country of origin. Residents of most European countries will qualify for this, though a complete list of qualifying nations can be obtained from the website of the Israeli government. These visas can be extended when you are in the country though this will incur a fee.

Immigration visas are processed via the Jewish agency, which makes the recommendation for the visa to be issued. Work permits can be issued while you are still in your country of origin or while you are in Israel on a tourist visa. No foreign worker is permitted to work in Israel without a valid permit. It is the employer who must apply for the work permit. The worker will have their passport stamped with the visa which carries the name of the employer. After one year an application must be made to extend the permit, even if it was originally issued for a longer period of time.

Workers should be aware that a work permit will allow them to obtain employment for one specific trade and will not cover them to work in another, so a teacher will not be permitted to obtain office work during the school holidays.

Obtaining Israeli citizenship can be done in a number of ways. The first of these is birth and citizenship is granted if one of the parents is Israeli or if they have been born outside the country to Israeli parents. The law of return also allows Israeli citizenship to be granted. This means that every Jewish person has the right to be resident in Israel. They arrive in the country with the status of an ‘oleh’ and can choose to accept or reject Israeli citizenship within three months. This does not apply to those who may pose a threat to national security or who have a criminal past.

Some can also become citizens by residence, if they used to be citizens of British Mandatory Palestine. Citizens who obtain nationality by naturalisation may do so if they have been resident in the country for a minimum of three years out of the previous five or if they have permission to remain in the country on a permanent basis. They will also have to declare that they will renounce their own nationality. Each case is considered on its merits and some requirements may be wavered in some cases.

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