Israel Travel Updates From Chaim V’Chessed

Travellers seen arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

In light of the newly discovered Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health has announced that beginning today, December 2, the requirement for all passengers departing Israel to undergo a PCR test before flying will again be strictly enforced.

All passengers entering the Ben Gurion Airport terminal will be required to present a PCR test taken 72 hours prior to their departure time, unless vaccinated or recognized by Israel as recovered.

Furthermore, only ticketed passengers, with a flight in the next four hours will be permitted to enter the terminal.

For the past several months, enforcement of this requirement has generally been lax. Airlines mostly requested Covid tests only in accordance with requirements of the destination country.

Vaccinated and Recovered

The current definitions of vaccinated according to the Israeli guidelines requires the person to have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognized by the World Health Organization*, and 14 days have passed since the last vaccine. If more than 180 days past your last vaccination, a booster must be taken, and another 14 days need to pass to be considered vaccinated again.

The current definitions of recovered according to the Israeli guidelines requires the person have a positive PCR/NAAT Covid test from at least 11 days ago, and no more than 190 days from the date of the PCR. These results must be digitally verifiable, such as in countries that are part of the EUDCC, and other results are not accepted. Patients from the United States, Canada and other countries who have recovered will not be granted entry if they are not fully vaccinated, with the last dose in the last six months.

In order to be considered recovered and vaccinated, the person must have a digitally verifiable, positive PCR/NAAT Covid test and at least one vaccination from any time.

Health Declaration Updated

The Ministry of Health has once again updated the online entry form, which all inbound passengers are required to submit.

Passengers holding student visas, or special entry permit, will receive a Tatzhir Kenissah L’Yisrael (Approval to Board Flight) stating that the bearer “May board the plane only if specific criteria are met”. Passengers must bring this to check-in, along with their student visa or entry permit, in order to be able to board. Visa holders must still meet vaccination or recovery requirements, and their children aged 1-11 must still have an entry permit to be able to board the plane.

Students with GatePass Visas

Many students entered Israel during the Corona lockdown with special student Entry Permits. These permits essentially granted the holder an A2 student visa, valid for several months. Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, these students received a blue slip (GatePass) showing an A2 visa status. Students are advised to obtain full length visa stickers from the Interior Ministry soon after arrival in Israel.

Israel’s borders have suddenly been closed this week to tourists. Students who are abroad and only hold the blue slip but did not receive a proper visa sticker in their passports have been stymied when seeking to return to Israel, as they have no actual visa sticker in their passport.

Rabbi Nechemya Malinowitz of the Igud reached understandings with the Israeli Border Control to resolve this issue. Students may contact their yeshivas/seminaries, who will be able to obtain re-entry permits for them. This only applies to students who left Israel before the new foreigner ban took effect on November 29.

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