We would like to draw your attention to a new procedure regarding work permits and visas for up to 45 days issued by the Population and Immigration Authority (the “Immigration Authority”).

The updated procedure (the "Updated Procedure") is an experimental, expedited procedure which allows entities to apply for foreign experts to come to Israel for up to 45 days during a calendar year, commencing from the first entry of the foreign expert into Israel.

It should be noted that the previous procedure allowed for applications to be made for stays of up to 30 days only. The Updated Procedure will be valid until July 31, 2016.

The Updated Procedure states that it will not be possible to submit a parallel application to employ a foreign expert in Israel for a period of more than 45 days whilst the expert is still in Israel.  Any such application submitted during this time will be rejected.

It is unclear as to whether or not an application for permits of more than 45 days will be considered where they are submitted during the same calendar year in which the foreign expert already received a visa and permit for up to 45 days (assuming that the foreign expert has already left Israel).

In this regard, our firm has approached the Permit Unit of the Immigration Authority and has been informed that unlike the previous procedure, it will consider applications for long term permits, again, providing the employee has left Israel when the long term visa application is submitted.

As this issue has not yet been fully determined, we will obviously monitor any developments and provide updates, as necessary.

It should be further noted that the Updated Procedure refers to a new but unpublished procedure which we anticipate will consolidate and set out the entire procedure for obtaining long term visas.

According to the current practice on this matter, an application may be submitted for a visa of up to 45 days on a consecutive basis or for a shorter period. It is possible to obtain a multiple entry visa which allows the foreign expert to enter and leave Israel on an unrestricted basis during the period of the visa.

In cases where an application is submitted for less than 45 days, it will be possible to submit requests for additional periods for permits and visas, as long as the accumulated period will not exceed 45 days during a calendar year. In addition, where an employee has not stayed in Israel for the entire 45 day period (irrespective of whether the visa was issued for that long), it will be possible to submit additional applications for the remaining period until the expiration of the 45 day period.  

It should be emphasized that this is an experimental procedure and accordingly, is subject to change by the Immigration Authority without prior notice.

This type of work permit and visa is suitable only for a foreign expert from a country which is exempted from the requirement to obtain a visa to Israel prior to his/her arrival in Israel. In addition, the expert must be needed in Israel for a short period and for a temporary assignment, such as for advising, supervising, repairing equipment supplied by a non-Israeli company, lecturing, providing instructions, or other matters which require special “know how” or expertise from the foreign expert.

An application for a 45 day visa under the Updated Procedure can be submitted by a local Israeli company, a partnership or an individual authorized by the authorities to conduct business (i.e. not through a company). A foreign company, which does not have a branch or representative office in Israel, is required to issue a power of attorney signed before an Israeli formal representative certified by an Israeli Consul or an Israeli Embassy, or  before a notary public and certified with an Apostille (for countries which are members of the Apostille Convention).

According to the Updated Procedure, once submitted, the application to the Permit Unit of the Immigration Authority will be processed within 6 days, if possible. Upon the permit being issued, the foreign expert will be allowed to enter Israel on a B2 tourist visa. On arrival to Israel, the process is completed by attending the local branch of the Immigration Authority for a B1 work visa to be issued to the expert.

The Immigration Authority may decline an application for various reasons, for example, if it believes that the procedure has been abused by the applicant.