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COVID-19: Entry of Foreign Executives and Businesspeople 

by Amit Bechler

Published: November, 2020

Submission: November, 2020

 



In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 Israel imposed significant restrictions on foreign nationals' entry into Israel. As a general rule, the entry of foreigners into Israel is prohibited, except for a limited list of exceptional cases (for further details please see "COVID-19: exceptional cases in which Population and Immigration Authority will allow foreigners to enter Israel").


Due to the restrictions, managers and businesspeople without a work visa could not enter Israel for business visits. In October 2020 the Population and Immigration Authority and the Ministry of Health published a procedure that allows executives and businesspeople from so-called 'green countries' to obtain a permit to visit Israel for business visits of up to seven days. The list of green countries is updated periodically and can be viewed on the Ministry of Health's website. Entry will be allowed only to those who have not visited a so-called 'red country' in the 14 days before their flight to Israel.


Under the guidelines, the arrival of foreign businesspeople in Israel will be approved:


  • to transfer or receive professional knowledge, including employee training, knowledge transfer and new product skills;
  • to maintain functional and managerial continuity, for example if the arrival of senior representatives from abroad is required to promote decisions or processes in a global Israeli company or a foreign company with a branch in Israel;
  • to promote foreign investments, for example the arrival of potential foreign investors for negotiations, due diligence or signature of a transaction; and
  • for business development, marketing and sales purposes, including the arrival of potential or existing customers from abroad.

The permit will be granted only when there is:


  • no non-physical alternative for a visit; and
  • an urgent need to visit Israel, subject to the Ministry of Economic and Industry's recommendation.

The business person from abroad and the inviting company from Israel must apply for the permit at least 15 days before the planned arrival in Israel.


Hence, the criteria for granting an entry permit to Israel are strict. Due to a large number of applications, there are currently significant delays in obtaining permits for applicants to enter the country. In order to avoid refusals and delays in entering Israel, parties should carry out the process accompanied by a professional who is knowledgeable about the application process and knows the relevant contacts that can expedite an application's processing.


In addition to the procedure regarding the entry of foreign businesspeople, there is an expedited route for obtaining a work permit for experts and foreign managers for up to 45 days, subject to a recommendation from the Ministry of Economy.


For further information on this topic please contact Amit Bechler at Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co by telephone (+972 3 694 4111) or email ([email protected]). The Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co website can be accessed at www.fbclawyers.com.


 


 

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