During COVID-19, Israel has adopted some of the most stringent requirements for travelers visiting the country. Some of these requirements had been lifted on November 1, 2021, just to be reimposed again on November 29, 2021 as the new Omicron variant raises new concerns. Below you will find some helpful information and updates on traveling to Israel. Please note that the information here is taken from various governmental sources and news outlets and may change at any time. For up-to-date information please consult your travel agency or the Israel embassy in your country.
Update May 18, 2022: Israel has greatly simplified traveling to the country by dropping the COVID-19 pre-flight and arrival tests. This new regulation will be effective as of May 21. In addition, Israels minister of health announced that Israel will no more mandate masks on airplanes as of May 23. Masks will be mandated only in hospitals and homes for the elderly. Good news for Israel travelers (or those who want to be).
Update February 21, 2022: Israel announces the opening of its borders to unvaccinated tourists, starting March 1, 2022. As COVID-19 numbers drop, the Israeli government decided to remove its entry restriction for unvaccinated foreigners, regardless of age.
Israel travelers however must show a negative PCR test that has been done less than 72 hours before departure of the flight to Israel. Travelers are further required to register their visit online, where they have also the option to pay for the PCR test at arrival. Upon arrival in Israel, the passengers will be guided to another PCR test they must perform. After that they have to stay inside their hotel room for quarantine until they receive a negative PCR result, or maximum 24 hours, whichever comes first.
For further and up-to-date information, please visit the official Israeli government websites:
- Israeli embassy in Los Angeles – COVID-19 updates
- Israel Ministry of Health – Entry of Non-Israeli Citizens by Air
- Israel Ministry of Health – Entry Statement Form
Update January 8, 2022: Israel reopens its border to tourists! Starting tomorrow, January 9, 2022, foreign travelers are able to visit Israel, provided they conform with Israel’s Ministry of Health regulations. In general, entry to Israel is only possible for fully vaccinated travelers or those who have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 180 days. For more information and details, see this Times of Israel article.
Update December 2, 2021: The borders to Israel are once again closed to tourists. The uncertainty around the new Omicron variant has led the government to reimpose restrictions including new quarantine rules, as well as the closing of the borders for non-residents. For more information and updates, please follow the link to the Israeli Ministry of Health Corona information website.
Update November 8, 2021: New, official guidelines have been released now (which may be updated very soon). Just this hour the Times of Israel has published a new article about special regulations for groups. The same news website had earlier published a “How vaccinated tourists can now enter Israel: The full guide” which might also be helpful. Please follow the official Israeli Ministry of Health updates on their websites, as regulations change frequently!
Update October 28, 2021: The new regulations for entry to Israel have been published today. As of November 1 individual tourists and groups can enter Israel subject to the conditions outlined here. Please read them carefully!
It is important to note that tourists are required to be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot, if applicable. Each passenger has to fill out an online application. As proof of vaccination and/or recovery, Israel accepts verifiable digital certificates as used in the EU.
Passengers who do not have a verifiable digital certificate will have to declare their vaccination status in the incoming passenger form and fill out an application to shorten the isolation period. Then they will have to attach the relevant documents to receive a green pass before boarding the plane.
While the COVID-19 regulations concerning entry to Israel are still more stringent than in most countries, fully vaccinated people or those recovered from COVID-19 can now visit Israel. Be aware that 14 days or more must have passed since your second (first for Johnson & Johnson) vaccine upon entry to Israel, but no more than 180 days upon leaving Israel. In case the last vaccine was received more than 180 days upon leaving Israel, you must take a booster vaccine dose. 14 days or more must have passed since your booster shot upon entry to Israel.
It sounds perhaps difficult, but it’s doable (as Sean Connery would say in the movie “Entrapment”). I will be happy to help clarify.
Note: I recently finished guiding a group over a period of 11 days. It was really exciting! We have been able to visit all the holy sites without waiting in queues. Almost everywhere we were the only group visiting at that time. This will change quickly once Israel is open for tourism, both groups and individuals. So now is the time to visit!
Helpful links for travelers planning to visit Israel:
Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles – COVID-19 UPDATES AND ENTRY PERMITS TO ISRAEL: Arrival to the state of Israel As of November 1st, 2021
US and other citizens – helpful checklist: U.S. Embassy in Israel COVID-19 Information
Israel Ministry of Health website
Israel Ministry of Health: Press release from October 28, 2021
Israel Ministry of Health: Information for Travelers Arriving in Israel
Israel Ministry of Health: Coronavirus information and guidance
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): International Travel During COVID-19