A foreign national who has been assigned to work in Israel must obtain a work permit and an appropriate entry visa prior to arriving in Israel. Israeli law generally provides for only one type of work status, the B/1 visa category, which relates to the employment of foreign professionals and non-professionals alike.
Applying for a B/1 work permit for Israel
There are four steps to getting a B/1 visa:
Submitting an initial work permit application to the Ministry of Interior (MOI)
Filing of a subsequent visa application with the MOI
Issuing of a short-term B/1 visa, prior to entry into Israel
Extension of the B/1 visa at the MOI after arrival in Israel, and being granted a multiple-entry visa for the entire B/1 approval period
In particular cases, the assignee may also be regarded as an "Approved Specialist", enjoying substantial tax benefits.
Work permit application
An Israeli employer (or a well-known global/foreign company) must be the official sponsor of a work permit application – there is no way of getting a self-employment working permit. A work permit application must contain a detailed description of the job offered and provide all the information relating to the prospective employee, including educational background, professional experience and proposed salary in Israel. Processing times for work permit applications are from four to eight weeks. If the application is approved, the relevant MOI branch will submit a B-1 recommendation letter to the MOI head-office.
Subsequent visa application
Upon receiving the recommendation letter, expats must file a subsequent B/1 visa application at the Israeli consulate in their own country.
After a processing period lasting two to four weeks, expats will be issued with a single-entry B/1 visa that is valid for 30 days.
Visa extension in Israel
Following entry into Israel, expats must apply for an extended B/1 visa, which is valid for up to one year and allows for multiple entries into Israel.
Any departure from Israel before the extended visa is provided will invalidate the applicant's 30-day B/1 visa. Expats will then need to repeat the second step in the B/1 application process, which involves applying through the Israeli consulate in their home country.
Applying for B/1 STEP work permit for Israel
B/1 STEP (Short Term Expedited Process) visas are a special type of B/1 visas offered to foreign workers seeking to enter Israel for up to 90 days to perform specialist work. B/1 STEP work permit applications are not subject to the normal prevailing wage obligations and also enjoy expedited processing. Workers applying for the B/1 STEP visa must follow the same steps as outlined for the B/1 work permit above.
Both foreign and Israeli companies can sponsor a foreign national under the STEP process. To take advantage of the B/1 STEP permit, foreign workers must possess unique knowledge and expertise that are relevant to their proposed work activities.