Business visa rules remain unchanged, despite media reports

6 Dec 16

ISRAEL

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Contrary to recent media reports, Israel’s business visitor and work permit rules remain unchanged. Business visitors conducting limited activities, such as attending meetings, may travel to Israel on a visitor visa. Productive work activities require a work visa before entry, and short-term (less than 45 days) work authorization is available for visa-exempt nationals.

What does the change mean? Travelers should make sure their activities comply with their visa type. Business visitors in particular should be sure that their activities are limited to permitted nonproductive activities.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: B/2 visitor visas, SEA permits, work visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals intending a business visit or work activities in Israel.
  • Business impact: Business visitors remain eligible to visit Israel on a B/2 visitor visa as long as they conduct limited business activities such as attending meetings, negotiations or trainings.

Background: Media reports in Israel have misleadingly stated that work visas are now required for all business visitors.

In fact, the existing regulations have not changed and allow or require the following:

  • Business visitors may travel on a visitor visa if they are conducting permitted non-productive activities.
  • Short-term employment authorization (SEA) permits  are available to visa-waived nationals for stays of 45 days per year. The 45-day SEA replaced the former 30-day SEA in August.
  • Work visas are required for any productive work, regardless of duration or whether the employee is on local or foreign payroll. Such activities include inspections, installations and repairs, supervisory and consultancy work, providing active training, and other work.

BAL Analysis: Employers and business travelers are encouraged to contact their BAL professional before traveling to Israel to confirm they are in compliance with the type of visa and its terms and conditions.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Israel. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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