How Do I Get a Work Permit in Israel?

How can you legally work in Israel as a foreign expert? What do you need to do to obtain the appropriate work permit? Read more for helpful information from an Israeli immigration lawyer on work visas to Israel. 

To work legally in Israel, you need an Israeli work visa. However, Israel prefers to limit the number of work visas granted yearly and issues them only under certain circumstances. One of the primary reasons for acquiring such a visa is to work in Israel as a foreign expert with a special skill. Continue reading to learn more about foreign experts in Israel and how to obtain a B-1 work visa.

Our law firm’s area of expertise is immigration law. We assist clients with all aspects of acquiring a work permit in Israel, including representation before the Ministry of Interior and other Israeli agencies.

Who Can Apply for an Israeli Work Permit?

An Israeli work permit for a foreign expert, also known as a B-1 visa, can be granted by the Ministry of Interior. In order to begin the process of bringing in a foreign worker to Israel, an employer must first convince the Ministry of Interior that it is necessary. 

Since Israel encourages companies to hire local Israeli workers rather than foreign labor, the company must demonstrate that the role requires unique talents or skills that are uncommon among Israeli workers. 

Note that as a foreign citizen, you cannot apply for a B-1 visa on your own. Only the employer can initiate this legal process.

The employer is required to submit an application to the Population and Immigration Authority. If initial approval is granted, the company must convince the Ministry of Interior that this individual employee possesses the necessary expertise for the role.

The Process of Obtaining a Work Permit in Israel

The first step is for the company to apply online for an employment permit in the Department of Expert Workers. The company must fill out the application form and attach the following documents:

  • The company’s articles of association (Registration certificate).
  • The employer submitted a certified copy of the 102 forms.
  • Accountant confirmation that the employer is still in business.
  • An explanation letter outlining why the foreign worker’s expertise is necessary.
  • Employee credentials and letters of recommendation, as well as educational certificates and a resume, will be required to support the application.
  • Application fee payment confirmation. 

B-1 Work Visa application at the Immigration Office

If the application is approved and the work permit granted by the Department for Expert Foreign Workers, the decision is forwarded to the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry has the authority to either grant or deny the visa request. 

The following documents are required for the Ministry of Interior to issue a B-1 visa:

  • A copy of the foreign worker’s passport, valid for at least two years.
  • Passport photo.
  • If the employee is accompanied by family, they should provide marriage and birth certificates.
  • A certified affidavit signed by the employee confirms that they are qualified to work in this field for the hiring company.
  • An additional affidavit stating the employee has no close family in Israel.
  • Confirmation of medical insurance coverage for the employee and their family.
  • Visa fee payment confirmation. Note that the B-1 visa fee for an expert worker is about 10,000 NIS per year. 

As immigration lawyers, our firm has vast experience in submitting visa applications for foreign workers in Israel. We assist employers at every step of the procedure, including drafting the application and accompanying letter.

Foreign Worker’s Salary

The employer is required to pay a foreign expert employee twice the average wage in Israel. That is, if the average salary in Israel is about 12,000 NIS, the salary of the foreign expert should be at least 24,000 NIS.

Validity of a B-1 Work Visa in Israel

A B-1 work visa is valid for one year at a time. The visa can be extended every year for a total of five years as long as the foreign worker keeps meeting the eligibility requirements. In some cases, the visa may be renewed for a longer duration, but this requires special permission.

An Expert Foreign Worker’s Family

If a foreign expert’s work visa is approved, Israel grants valis visas to his or her spouse and their minor children (under the age of 18). However, since Israel does not recognize common law marriage in these circumstances, the spouse will be granted a visa only if the couple is legally married. 

How Long Does It Take To Get a Work Permit in Israel?

There are several routes for receiving approval for a specialist foreign worker visa in Israel, and the time frame varies according to the route chosen. While the average procedure takes about 45 days, there is an expedited process that takes only six days and an extended one that requires 6 months. Click here to read more about this matter.

Who Cannot Obtain a Work Visa in Israel?

Companies can request the hiring of foreign experts in a range of sectors. They can be professionals in medicine, technology, the arts, or other fields. However, there are certain restrictions.

A B-1 work permit application may be denied if the foreign worker is over 60 years old, has a criminal record, previously stayed in Israel illegally, or has close family members who live in Israel. 

Additionally, if during the application process, the Ministry of Interior suspects that the foreign worker might settle in Israel illegally, the request could be denied. 

Can I Change My Tourist Visa to a Work Permit in Israel?

No, it is not possible to change a tourist visa to a work permit in Israel. If the work permit is approved, it is issued by the Israeli consulate in the worker’s home country or country of residence, and they must have it with them when they enter Israel.

The worker is not allowed to be in Israel while the application for a work permit is being processed. They may be refused entry if they attempt to enter the country before receiving the work permit. If they are already in Israel, when the application is submitted, the application will be denied.

Other Alternatives for a Work Permit in Israel

If you do not qualify for a B-1 work visa, but want to work in Israel, one of the following possibilities may interest you.

A type A-1 visa is available to anyone who is eligible to obtain Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. The visa allows foreign citizens to live, work, and study in Israel for up to five years. The foreign citizen may choose to make aliyah and become an Israeli citizen at any moment.

Another option is a B-5 visa, which is intended for US citizens who wish to invest a significant amount of money in an Israeli business. The visa is granted to the investors and their family members and enables them to live, study, and work in Israel. The visa is valid for two years but can be extended as long as the business remains active.

How is a lawyer helpful in obtaining an Israeli work visa?

Working in any foreign country is a complicated process, and working in Israel is much more so. Persistence, knowledge of the law, and the capacity to deal with bureaucracy are essential to achieving the desired outcome.

Our law firm specializes in immigration law and assists businesses and individuals in accomplishing their goals. We make every effort to help foreign citizens obtain legal status in Israel. Additionally, we accompany businesses in filing applications for the employment of foreign experts.

If you require legal assistance in these areas or in any other aspect of Israeli immigration, kindly leave your contact information below or call our offices to arrange a meeting with an immigration lawyer.

Interesting Related Article: “Dos and Don’ts for a U.S. visitor visa interview