Israel to Ease Restrictions on Foreign Tourists Next Month

YERUSHALAYIM -
The almost empty arrival hall at the Ben Gurion International Airport on February 28. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israel is set to drop a number of restrictions on air travel starting next month, including a ban on the entry of most individual tourists.

The Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that beginning on next Thursday, July 1, all vaccinated tourists, whether they are arriving as individuals or as part of group tours, will be granted automatic entry into Israel, without the need for prior approval.

From now until July 1, the Ministry said, tourists will still need to apply for approval prior to entering Israel, adding that approval will be granted based on a number of criteria. Chief among the deciding factors, the Ministry said, will be the tourist’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

Unvaccinated tourists who are permitted to enter the country prior to July 1 will be required to remain in isolation 10 to 14 days, based on Health Ministry guidelines. Children under six who have not been vaccinated will be granted entry if their parents are approved based on the criteria.

During the interim period, tourists will not be permitted into the country from nations with high COVID-19 infection rates, including India, Russia, Mexico, Braizl, South Africa, and Argentina. Exceptions to this ban will be made by a special committee.

Israelis will be permitted to travel abroad freely, with the exception of countries on the black list with high infection rates. The exceptions committee will also evaluate requests for travel to the countries on the list.

Foreign nationals will be permitted to leave Israel with no restrictions.

Entry to foreign nationals will be open without prior approval for residents of most countries, though the Ministry said Sunday it is still drawing up a list of countries whose citizens will be required to seek permission to enter Israel.

Automatic entry to Israel will be dependent on travelers having been vaccinated, and the Ministry said it will release details in the coming days regarding which COVID vaccines it will accept for the purposes of entering the country.