IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Israel has launched a new program that will allow foreign entrepreneurs to obtain Innovation Visas.

What does the change mean? Interested foreign entrepreneurs may now apply for visas by submitting applications to one of 12 organizations – called “landing pads” – which will host successful applicants and help them get started on their projects. Those who are able to successfully launch a company in Israel could then become eligible to obtain extended work authorization at the end of the initial period.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Israeli Innovation Visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign entrepreneurs interested in launching technical innovation projects in Israel.

Background: The program, called the Israeli Innovation Visa (IV) program, is being piloted for a three-year period. The application process will work as follows:

  • Applicants submit projects to one of the 12 “landing pads” through the Innovation Authority Website.
  • If the landing pad approves the project, applicants may then apply for an Innovation Visa, which will involve a professional evaluation of their project.
  • The Innovation Authority Committee will consider the project and come to a decision on whether to recommend visa approval.
  • If the committee approves the project and provides a recommendation, the applicant’s visa application is then considered by the Ministry of Interior.

Entrepreneurs who create companies and receive support for extended work authorization from the Innovation Authority will be able to seek expert visas valid for up to five years and three months in total.

BAL Analysis: The program is designed not only to provide qualifying foreign entrepreneurs a relocation path to Israel, but also guidance as they navigate the country’s high-tech sector. The program is being piloted for three years, and Israeli officials hope it will help cement the country’s reputation as a top destination for foreign entrepreneurs interested in technical innovation.