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Travel Advisories

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Alerts and Warnings

Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning

Travel Warning
April 11, 2017
Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning
O E N H U T C

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Gaza Strip and urges those present to depart. The security situation remains complex in Israel and the West Bank and can change quickly depending on the political environment, recent events, and particular geographic location. U.S. citizens should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings when traveling to areas where there are heightened tensions and security risks. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority both make considerable efforts to ensure security, particularly in areas where foreigners frequently travel. This replaces the Travel Warning issued August 23, 2016.  

Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a U.S. government-designated foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile.  Violent demonstrations and shootings occur on a frequent basis and the collateral risks are high. While Israel and Hamas continue to observe the temporary cease-fire that ended the latest Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses continue to occur.

Within Israel and the West Bank, the possibility of random violence continues to exist and can happen without warning. The frequency of attacks has declined significantly since a rise in political and religious tensions led to a spike in violence in October 2015. U.S. citizens have been killed and wounded in recent attacks, though there is no indication they were specifically targeted based on nationality. Perceived religious affiliation was a factor in some of the attacks, and the majority of recent attacks have targeted uniformed Israeli security forces often in proximity to checkpoints throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank or near religious sites significant to multiple faiths. Attacks were carried out using knives, vehicles, and guns. Israeli security forces reacted with deadly force, which has resulted in some bystanders being injured or killed in the crossfire. U.S. citizens should stay abreast of current events in order to know what areas to avoid when traveling throughout the region.

For your safety, the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens:

  • Avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, and if you are there, leave as soon as you are able;
  • Maintain a high degree of situational awareness and exercise caution at all times, especially at checkpoints and other areas with a significant presence of security forces;
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings – which can turn violent – and steer clear of neighborhoods where police have restricted access;
  • Beware of and report unattended items or packages;
  • Follow the instructions of security and emergency officials;
  • Report suspicious activities or items to security officials; and
  • Learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened shelter. 

When planning their own travel, U.S. citizens should consider the following rules that apply to U.S. government employee travel:

  • U.S. government employees are not allowed to travel to Gaza;
  • With the exception of Jericho, Bethlehem, and along Routes 1, 443, and 90, U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel within the West Bank.  Restrictions on personal travel by U.S. government employees may change depending on the security environment;
  • All other U.S. government travel into the West Bank outside the aforementioned areas must be for official business and conducted with enhanced security measures; 
  • U.S. government staff take additional security precautions when visiting refugee camps, West Bank universities, and “seam areas” where Israelis and Palestinians are in proximity to each other, and which have historically been flashpoints for violence.  For example, sites with significant religious meaning to multiple faiths can be subject to violent protests or security incidents with little or no warning, especially during or around significant religious holidays;
  • U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel into Jerusalem’s Old City on Fridays during the Muslim month of Ramadan.  The U.S. government occasionally restricts travel for its employees to the Old City based on the current security environment;
  • U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses and public bus terminals throughout Israel and the West Bank; and
  • U.S. government employees must observe additional security requirements  if traveling for any reason to the following locations:
    • within 7 miles of the Gaza demarcation line;
    • within 1.5 miles of the Lebanon border; 
    • on or east of Route 98 in the Golan; and
    • within 1.5 miles of the Egypt border along the Sinai (including all portions of Route 10 and portions of Route 12).

U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza should consult the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in the Country Specific Information (CSI). The CSI also provides detailed guidance on crime and safety conditions within Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

For further detailed information and assistance:

  • In Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(3)519-7575.
  • In Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(2)622-7250. 
  • In northern Israel, contact the Consular Agency in Haifa. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(3)519-7575.
  • Enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain the most current information on travel and security within Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at https://il.usembassy.gov/https://jru.usconsulate.gov/, or the Embassy and Consulate General Facebook pages. 
  • Up-to-date information on travel and security can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Country Information

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:


No minimum requirement, but your authorized stay will not exceed the validity remaining of your passport and airlines may decline boarding if a traveler has less than six months validity on his or her passport

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page (although passports are normally not stamped upon entry)

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays of 90 days or less. Please see below for detailed information about entry, exit and visa requirements

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


You must declare if you are carrying 100,000 shekels or more when entering Israel

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


You must declare if you are carrying 100,000 shekels or more when departing Israel

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

71 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv Israel 63903

Telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7575
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7551
Fax: +(972) (3) 516-4390, or 516-0315
Email: amctelaviv@state.gov

Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy for information and assistance in Israel and the Golan Heights, at the ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport and Ovda Airport, Ashdod, Eilat, and Haifa Ports, the northern (Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Yitzhak Rabin) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt.

U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem
14 David Flusser Street,
Jerusalem 93392
Telephone:
 +(972) (2) 630-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(972) (2) 622-7230
Fax: +(972) (2) 630-4070
Email: jerusalemacs@state.gov

Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General for information and assistance in the following areas: Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.

U.S. Consular Agency - Haifa
26 Ben Gurion Boulevard
Haifa 35023
Telephone:
+(972)(4) 853-1470
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv
Fax: +(972)(4) 853-1476
Email: consage@netvision.net.il

Contact the Consular Agency during regular business hours for routine and emergency citizen services in the northern part of Israel.

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Israel Fact Sheet for information on U.S.–Israel relations. Please read the Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Travel Warning for additional information.

In 1994, negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA), a body that administers a limited form of Palestinian self-governance in Areas A and B of the West Bank. In the West Bank, there is a division of security-related and civil administration responsibilities between the Government of Israel and the PA, differing by location. PA civil administration and security forces provide services to residents in certain areas of the West Bank (Area A), while Israel has full security control of Area C and partial security control of Area B. Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, violently took control of Gaza in 2007 and exercises de facto control there.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

United States citizens traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza should read this section in its entirety to be aware of the complexities regarding entry, exit and permission to stay in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza

  • The Government of Israel administers immigration and security controls at its international land crossings with Jordan into the West Bank and Israel, with Egypt, and at Israel’s airports and seaports. A separate network of security checkpoints and crossings operated by Israeli authorities regulates the movement of people and goods from Israel and Jerusalem into the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian ID holders and Americans with only U.S. citizenship who are married to Palestinian ID holders may be required to obtain a permit from Israeli authorities to travel between the West Bank or Gaza and Israel. Detailed information regarding Government of Israel-controlled crossings and borders is available from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority exercises security and civil control in Area A and civil control in Area B; Israel exercises security control in Area B and security and civil control in Area C. In Gaza, Hamas operates internal checkpoints that may restrict the movement of individuals, including U.S. citizens, and regulate entry and exit from the territory.
  • All persons seeking to enter or depart Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza are subject to immigration and security screening, possibly including prolonged questioning and physical searches, and may be denied entry or exit. Persons who are denied entry have the right to an immigration court hearing to contest the denials, but they may be detained for the duration of the proceedings. The U.S. government seeks equal treatment and freedom to travel for all U.S. citizens regardless of national origin or ethnicity. U.S. citizens who are denied entry into Israel or the West Bank should receive a written explanation from Israeli authorities. Some U.S. citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage (including Palestinian-Americans) have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints. U.S. citizens who have traveled to Muslim countries or who are of Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin may face additional questioning by immigration and border authorities. U.S. citizens should immediately report treatment by border officials that they believe is discriminatory or hostile to the ACS unit of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv (AMCTelAviv@state.gov) or the ACS unit of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem (JerusalemACS@state.gov).
  • Individuals registered in the Palestinian Authority population registry, including those whom Israeli authorities believe may have a claim to a Palestinian identification card, are prohibited from entering Israel or visiting Jerusalem without advance permission, regardless of other nationality, including U.S. citizenship, or place of residence. These individuals are permitted to enter the West Bank, but are required to enter and depart through the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, using either a valid Palestinian Authority (PA) passport without an exit permit or a PA ID card together with an exit permit. Such individuals may also re-enter the West Bank from Jordan using a PA ID card and a valid U.S. passport, if that is how they departed. If they departed the West Bank using a PA passport they are expected to return using a PA passport. Individuals may apply for a permit to enter via Israel prior to travel at an Israeli embassy or consulate abroad, though the traveler may be required to depart the West Bank via the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge into Jordan. The restrictions above may apply even if an individual is not aware of being listed on the PA population registry, does not possess a Palestinian identification card, and does not desire such status.
  • Upon arrival at any of the ports of entry, Palestinians, including Palestinian-Americans, may wish to confirm with Israeli immigration authorities from what location they will be required to depart. Some have been allowed to enter Israel or visit Jerusalem but told they cannot depart Israel via Ben Gurion Airport without special permission, which is rarely granted. Some families have been separated as a result, and other travelers have forfeited airline tickets.
  • Palestinian-American residents of Jerusalem are normally required to use laissez-passers (travel documents issued by the Israeli government) that contain re-entry permits approved by the Israeli Ministry of Interior for travel via any border crossing except the Allenby Bridge. U.S. citizen residents of Jerusalem who hold blue Jerusalem ID cards may have the Ministry of Interior re-entry stamp placed in their U.S. passports for travel in and out of Israel. Jerusalem ID holders who hold residency or citizenship elsewhere may encounter problems retaining their Jerusalem residence status. U.S. citizens who are also Jerusalem ID holders seeking returning resident status must obtain permission from Israeli authorities before traveling.
  • If a dual national Palestinian-American marries outside the West Bank, he/she must update their marital status in the PA population registry before their arrival. Americans with only U.S. citizenship who are married to dual national Palestinian-Americans have been denied entry when information for their spouse has not been updated prior to travel.   
  • Individuals with Israeli citizenship, regardless of other nationality, including U.S. citizenship, must enter and depart Israel on their Israeli passports. Israeli citizens are prohibited from using the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing, unless as part of an official delegation or with special permission from the Israeli and Jordanian authorities. They must cross to and from Jordan at the Yitzhak Rabin/Wadi Araba crossing in the south near Eilat or the Jordan River crossing/Sheikh Hussein Bridge in the north near Beit She’an. They are also prohibited from entering Gaza from Israel, and are generally prohibited from traveling to parts of the West Bank under PA control (Area A), to include Bethlehem and Jericho.
  • Israeli citizens naturalized in the United States retain their Israeli citizenship (unless they formally renounce it), and children born in the United States to Israeli parents usually acquire both U.S. and Israeli nationality at birth. U.S.-Israeli citizens of military age, including females, who do not wish to serve in the Israeli armed forces should contact the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC to learn more about an exemption or deferment from Israeli military service. They should obtain written confirmation of military service exemption or deferment before traveling to Israel. Dual U.S.-Israeli citizens of military age who have not completed Israeli military service may be prohibited from departing Israel until service is completed or other arrangements have been made. These individuals may be subject to criminal penalties, including military imprisonment, for failure to serve.

Additional Entry/Exit Requirements:

  • The Israeli Ministry of Interior has continued to deny entry into the country some foreign nationals (including U.S. citizens) affiliated with certain organizations that the Israeli government viewed as anti-Israel. Participation in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)-related activities is one of the considerations Israeli authorities at ports of entry take into account when deciding whether to refuse entry to individuals into Israel and the West Bank. U.S. citizens have been denied entry to Israel and the West Bank for involvement in and/or expressing support on social media for the BDS movement. Israeli authorities require some foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, to sign declarations stating their understanding that “all relevant legal actions” would be taken against them, “including deportation and denial of entry into Israel for a period of up to ten years,” if they traveled through the country to Palestinian Authority-controlled areas without appropriate authorization.
  • Individuals entering Israel and/or the West Bank with family, professional, or political connections inside the West Bank may receive an entry stamp that permits travel only in the West Bank. This stamp does not permit the bearer to enter Jerusalem or Israel. Travelers who have received such a stamp may file an appeal with the Government of Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) at Beit El. However, appeals seldom result in changes to this entry stamp. The relationship between the stamp and visa extensions is discussed below.
  • U.S. citizens whose stay is restricted to the West Bank or Gaza may experience delays in accessing in-person routine and emergency consular services from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. Such individuals are required to obtain a permit from COGAT. In the case of U.S. citizens in Gaza, permits for consular services are rarely granted. U.S. consular officials periodically travel to the West Bank and the Erez crossing with Gaza to assist U.S. citizens. Contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for additional information.
  • Those wishing to volunteer in the West Bank should apply for an Israeli visa through their sponsoring organization. The sponsoring organization works with the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Israeli Civil Administration Office (COGAT/CIVAD) to obtain the necessary approvals and visas. U.S. citizens who have previously been denied entry to Israel or the West Bank or had other legal issues there are advised to provide this information to the Israeli authorities during their visa application. Volunteers who arrive without the correct visa may be denied entry and returned to their point of origin or given a limited visa.
  • U.S. citizens suspected of wishing to enter areas prohibited to them by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) may be required to sign an agreement stipulating that they will refrain from entering those areas.
  • Please consult the Israel Tax Authority for items that must be declared upon entry into Israel. Carrying audio-visual or data storage/processing equipment may lead to additional security-related delays, and some travelers have had their laptop computers and other electronic equipment searched at Ben Gurion Airport. While most items are returned prior to the traveler’s departure, some equipment has been confiscated and reportedly been damaged, destroyed, lost, or never returned. U.S. citizens who have had personal property damaged due to security procedures at Ben Gurion Airport may contact the Commissioner for Public Complaints. There is no redress for confiscations.
  • Israeli security officials have also on occasion requested access to travelers’ personal e-mail accounts or other social media accounts as a condition of entry. In such circumstances, travelers should have no expectation of privacy for any data stored on such devices or in their accounts.
  • The Israeli Ministry of Health imposes some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to and foreign residents of Israel, and the Ministry of Health reserves the right to deny entry to visitors who declare their status. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Israel before traveling.

Additional Information for Non-Dual Nationals:

  • For non-dual nationals, an onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required for entry. Although the Israeli government does not require that a passport be valid for six months from the date of entry, airlines routinely do and may decline boarding if a traveler has less than six months validity on his or her passport. Travelers normally receive a free, three-month tourist visa upon arrival in Israel, which may be extended. Israel does not stamp passports with an entry stamp, but instead provides all travelers with an entry card, although they reserve the right to stamp the passport. All travelers should retain this entry card throughout the duration of their stay in Israel as proof of lawful entry; the entry card is often requested at hotels and car rental companies. Although not required for exit, travelers are advised to keep their entry card with them to avoid delays when departing Israel. Travelers carrying official or diplomatic U.S. passports must obtain visas from an Israeli embassy or consulate prior to arrival.
  • Anyone who has previously been refused entry, experienced difficulties with his/her status during a previous visit, overstayed the authorized duration of a previous visit, or otherwise violated the terms of a previous admission to Israel should consult the nearest Israeli embassy or consulate before attempting to return. Such immigration violations may incur a ten year bar to re-enter Israel.
  • The Government of Israel may deny entry to U.S. citizens wishing to visit, work, or travel to the West Bank or Gaza whom they suspect them are intending to immigrate.

Additional Information on Extending Israeli Visas for Residents of the West Bank:

  • Single-nationality U.S citizens living, studying and working in the West Bank may face difficulties renewing their visas, even if they received unrestricted visas upon arrival in Israel or the West Bank.
  • Those who do not have family connections to Palestinian nationals may apply for a visa extension without travel restrictions directly to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office at Beit El.
  • Dual-nationality derivative Palestinian nationals and spouses of Palestinian nationals receive visa extensions/stamps bearing the restriction limiting their travel to within the West Bank. U.S. citizens who receive this restriction must obtain permits from the Israeli authorities to enter Israel and Jerusalem. These travelers should apply for visa extensions through the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Interior District Coordination Office in Ramallah, which coordinates with the Israeli government on their behalf.
  • U.S. citizens (and their dependents) who are employed in the West Bank by organizations registered inside Israel may apply for unrestricted visa extensions via their Israeli-registered employer through the Ministry of Interior, but these are not always approved.

Additional Information on Israel-Jordan Crossings: (Note: The information below does not apply to dual Palestinian-U.S. nationals registered in the Palestinian Authority population registry or to dual Israeli-U.S. nationals.)

  • The international crossing points between Israel and Jordan include the Yitzhak Rabin/Wadi Araba crossing in the south, near Eilat; and the Jordan River crossing/Sheikh Hussein Bridge in the north, near Beit She’an. U.S. citizens using these two crossing points do not need to obtain visas before arriving at the crossings to enter either Israel or Jordan, but they will be required to pay entry fees, which are subject to change.
  • U.S. passport holders must obtain Jordanian visas in advance to enter Jordan via the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge near Jericho. For U.S. passport holders entering Israel via Jordan at Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, Israeli authorities issue visas on arrival.
  • Individuals who receive the rare approval from the Israeli government to exit Gaza from Erez can only depart Israel via the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein crossing into Jordan and will need advance approval from Jordanian immigration authorities in order to do so. These individuals will not be permitted to depart Israel via Ben Gurion Airport.
  • Procedures for all three crossings into Jordan are subject to frequent changes. Visit the websites of the Embassy of Israel and the Jordan Tourism Board for the most current visa requirements. 

Minors: Israel does not require minors (defined as under the age of 18) traveling with one parent or with someone who is not a parent or legal guardian to have written consent from the other parent or parents to either enter or depart Israel. Nonetheless, it is recommended that the accompanying adult have a signed, dated, and notarized note from the non-traveling parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with neither parent, a note signed by both parents) stating “I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my/our permission to do so.”

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page

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Safety and Security

The current Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza advises U.S. citizens to be aware of the continuing risks of travel to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to the security situation and heightened tensions there, and warns against travel to Gaza. The frequency of attacks has declined significantly since a spike in violence from October 2015 through March 2016. U.S. citizens have been killed and wounded in attacks in recent years, though there is no indication they were specifically targeted based on nationality. U.S. citizens who visit or reside in these areas should consult the Travel Warning to ensure that they are aware of the security concerns. There is also a danger of occasional indirect cross-border fire from Syria into the Golan Heights. Please enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so that you can receive the most up-to-date messages from the Department of State regarding safety and security developments.

Jerusalem: Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli authorities are a regular occurrence in some parts of East Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Acts of terrorism have resulted in death and injury to bystanders, including U.S. citizens. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to exercise caution in the Old City, particularly around the Damascus, Lion’s, and Herod’s gates, as these locations have been the scene of recent attacks. Attacks have also taken place in recent years in West Jerusalem. Travelers are reminded to exercise caution at Islamic religious sites on Fridays and on holy days, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. Many orthodox Jewish communities in and around Jerusalem restrict vehicle traffic on Shabbat (Friday night to Saturday night), and entering these neighborhoods with a vehicle may result in protests and violence. See the Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza for additional information.

The West Bank: U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank, including to Bethlehem, Jericho, and Hebron, due to the complex security situation there. Violent clashes between security forces, and Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents have resulted in the death and injury of U.S. citizens and others. During periods of unrest, the Government of Israel may restrict access to and within the West Bank, and some areas may be placed under curfew. U.S. government employees are restricted from personal travel in the West Bank except to the towns of Jericho and Bethlehem and on routes 1, 443, and 90. See the Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza for additional information.

The Gaza Strip: The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Gaza Strip and urges those present to depart. Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a U.S.-government-designated foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile. Violent demonstrations and shootings occur on a frequent basis and the collateral risks are high. While Israel and Hamas continue to observe the temporary cease-fire that ended the latest Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar and rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses continue to occur. U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Gaza should not rely on the U.S. government to assist them in departing Gaza. Many U.S. citizens have been unable to exit Gaza or faced lengthy delays while attempting to exit Gaza. U.S. government employees may not travel to Gaza for personal or official purposes. See the Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza for additional information.

Crime: The crime rate is moderate in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Parked vehicles break-ins are common at public beach areas, national parks, and other tourist sites. Vehicle theft also remains a problem. U.S. citizens should not leave their valuables (including passports) unattended in parked vehicles, on the beach, or unsecured in hotels.

Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but if you purchase them, you may also be violating local law.

U.S. citizens have occasionally been subject to high-pressure sales tactics in Jerusalem's Old City and other tourist areas. In some cases, vendors have not disclosed the true cost of an item and convinced the buyer -- who is unfamiliar with the exchange rate -- to unwittingly sign a credit card sales receipt worth thousands of dollars.

For additional information, read the most recent Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Crime and Safety Report for Israel and Crime and Safety Report for Jerusalem, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv or U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem (contact information provided above).

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Israel, Jerusalem, and the West Bank is 100 for police, 101 for an ambulance, and 102 for the fire department.

In the event you are a victim of crime, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Consulate General in Jerusalem can do the following:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide information on possible Government of Israel assistance to victims of crime:
  • Provide information on Government of Israel assistance to victims of terrorist acts(please contact the National Insurance Institute for more information)
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting. U.S. citizens should carry their passport or some form of photo identification with them at all times when traveling. U.S. citizens have reported being stopped and questioned by police and immigration officials regarding their immigration status.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should contact local police but may also contact the Embassy or Consulate General to report it.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws and legal systems, which can be vastly different from our own. If you violate Israeli or Palestinian laws, even unknowingly, being a U.S. citizen will not help you to avoid arrest or prosecution. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking illegal drugs in Israel and PA-administered areas are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Individuals expressing views, including on social media, which the Government of Israel considers incitement to violence or hate speech may face criminal penalties. Palestinian Authority security officials have also arrested and abused Palestinians who posted criticism of the PA online, including on their Facebook pages. In Gaza, individuals publicly criticizing authorities have risked reprisal by Hamas, including arrest, interrogation, seizure of property, and harassment.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrests and Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Arrests and Arrest Notification by Israel: 

  • The Government of Israel is required by a bilateral treaty and customary international law to promptly notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General when a U.S. citizen is arrested if the citizen identifies him/herself as a U.S. citizen and requests that the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General be notified. In practice, however, Israeli authorities often fail to provide notification, particularly in the case of resident Israeli-Americans and Palestinian-Americans, which limits the ability of the U.S. government to provide timely consular assistance. In case of arrest or detention, U.S. citizens should promptly identify themselves as such to the arresting authorities and request that the authorities notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General immediately. There are credible reports that U.S. citizens have been mistreated by Israeli security forces during their arrest and interrogation, including suffering injuries that required hospitalization.
  • Some youths over the age of 14 have been detained and tried as adults. Arrestees have reported pressure to sign documents in Hebrew that they do not understand.
  • U.S. citizens arrested in Israel for criminal or security offenses are entitled to legal representation provided by the Israeli government. U.S. citizens arrested by Israeli authorities for security offenses may be prevented from communicating with lawyers, family members, or consular officers for lengthy periods. Even after notification, consular access to the arrested individual may be delayed for days to several weeks. Under local law, individuals detained for security offenses may be held for up to six months without charges.

Arrests and Arrest Notification by the Palestinian Authority (PA):

  • Individuals arrested by PA security forces in the West Bank for security offenses may be prohibited from communicating with lawyers, family members, or consular officers for lengthy periods. In addition, they may be held in custody for long periods without formal charges or before being brought before a judge for an arrest extension. The PA often does not notify the U.S. Consulate General of such arrests, and consular access to arrestees is often delayed or denied. In case of arrest or detention, U.S. citizens should promptly identify themselves as such to the arresting authorities and should request that the U.S. Consulate General be notified immediately.

Gaza: Since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the Hamas Executive Forces (EF) have dominated security matters in Gaza. The U.S. government has no contact with the EF and cannot assist those arrested in Gaza.

Court Jurisdiction: Civil and religious courts in Israel actively exercise their authority to bar certain individuals, including nonresidents, from leaving the country until debts or other legal claims against them are resolved. Israel's religious courts exercise jurisdiction over all citizens and residents of Israel in cases of marriage, divorce, child custody, and child support. U.S. citizens, including those without Israeli citizenship, should be aware that they may be subject to involuntary and prolonged stays (and even imprisonment) in Israel if a case is filed against them in a religious court, even if their marriage took place in the United States, and regardless of whether their spouse is present in Israel.

Purchases of Property: U.S. citizens should always seek legal advice before buying or leasing property in the West Bank and Gaza. Please see the most recent Investment Climate Statement for the West Bank and Gaza for additional information on property rights.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Rights: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) events in Israel. Israeli anti-discrimination laws protect LGBTI individuals. Acceptance and tolerance of LGBTI people varies throughout the country and from neighborhood to neighborhood. As of August 2014, the Law of Return allows that same-sex spouses of Jews immigrating to Israel – as known as “making Aliyah” are eligible to make Aliyah with their spouses and receive Israeli citizenship.

The legal systems in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are based on the 1960 Jordanian penal code which prohibits consensual same-sex sexual activity. However, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not prosecuted individuals suspected of such activity. Societal discrimination based on cultural and religious traditions is commonplace, making the West Bank and Gaza challenging environments for LGBTI persons. Some Palestinians have claimed PA security officers harassed, abused, and sometimes arrested LGBTI individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. NGOs reported Hamas also harassed and detained persons in Gaza due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

LGBTI travelers are encouraged to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings, especially when entering religious or socially conservative areas.

Israel’s Aguda organization provides useful information on LGBTI issues in Israel. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Persons with Mobility Issues: Individuals with mobility issues may find accessibility and accommodation in Israel very different from in the United States. Legislation mandates access to buildings and transportation, as well as accommodations for persons with disabilities in services and the work place. The government enforces the laws with only limited success, however. Societal discrimination and lack of accessibility persist in employment and housing. The law mandates accessibility to urban public transportation but not inter-urban buses. Most train stations maintain access for persons with disabilities; however, many buses still do not have such access. Television stations include subtitles or sign language, and the courts accommodate testimony from persons with intellectual disabilities or mental illness. Tourists will find restaurants, foot paths, and public transportation less accessible than in the United States.

PA law prohibits discrimination based on disability. The Palestinian Disability Law was ratified in 1999, but implementation has been slow. It does not mandate access to buildings, information, or communications. Palestinians with disabilities continue to receive uneven and poor quality services and care. Familial and societal discrimination against persons with disabilities exists in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Modern medical care and medicines are available in Israel. Some hospitals in Israel and most hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, however, fall below Western standards. Travelers can find information in English about emergency medical facilities and after-hours pharmacies in the Jerusalem Post and the English-language edition of the Ha'aretz newspaper, or refer to the Embassy's or Consulate General's medical lists.

The U.S. government does not pay private medical bills incurred by U.S. citizens abroad. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most health care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (see our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

  • Israel: Israeli roads and highways tend to be crowded, especially in urban areas. The Government of Israel requires that all occupants of passenger car wear seat belts at all times. Passenger cars must use headlights during all intercity travel, both day and night, and during winter. All drivers are required to carry fluorescent vests and safety triangles in the car with them at all times, and they are required to wear the vests whenever they get out of their cars to make repairs or change tires. If a vehicle is stopped for a traffic violation and it does not contain a fluorescent vest, the driver will be fined. These vests can be purchased for a nominal price in all local gas stations. While cellular handset phone use is prohibited while driving, hands-free units are authorized. The acceptable limit for blood alcohol content is lower in Israel than in the United States.
  • West Bank and Gaza: Crowded roads are common in the West Bank and Gaza. During periods of heightened tension in the West Bank, protestors have targeted cars and buses with stone throwing, improvised incendiary devices, small arms fire, barricades, and burning tires. Emergency services may be delayed by the need for Palestinian authorities to coordinate with Israeli officials. Seat belt use is required and drivers may not drink alcohol. Individuals involved in accidents resulting in death or injury may be detained by police pending an investigation.

Traffic Laws: Aggressive driving is commonplace, and many drivers fail to maintain safe following distances or signal before changing lanes or making turns. Overtaking on high-speed, undivided two-lane roads is common and may result in accidents. Drivers are also prone to stop suddenly on roads without warning, especially in the right lane. Drivers should use caution, as Israel has a high rate of fatalities from automobile accidents.

Public Transportation: U.S. government employees and their families are prohibited from using public and inter-city buses (and associated bus terminals) throughout Israel and the West Bank due to security concerns.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. We suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and Israel’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed that the Government of Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority is in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Israel’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes (Israel only)
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes (Israel only)
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

71 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv Israel 63903

Telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7575
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7551
Fax: +(972) (3) 516-4390, or 516-0315
Email: amctelaviv@state.gov

Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy for information and assistance in Israel and the Golan Heights, at the ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport and Ovda Airport, Ashdod, Eilat, and Haifa Ports, the northern (Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Yitzhak Rabin) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt.

U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem
14 David Flusser Street,
Jerusalem 93392
Telephone:
 +(972) (2) 630-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(972) (2) 622-7230
Fax: +(972) (2) 630-4070
Email: jerusalemacs@state.gov

Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General for information and assistance in the following areas: Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.

U.S. Consular Agency - Haifa
26 Ben Gurion Boulevard
Haifa 35023
Telephone:
+(972)(4) 853-1470
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv
Fax: +(972)(4) 853-1476
Email: consage@netvision.net.il

Contact the Consular Agency during regular business hours for routine and emergency citizen services in the northern part of Israel.

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General Information

Israel and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since December 1, 1991.

For information concerning travel to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Israel.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

 

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Israel.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Website:  travel.state.gov

The Israel Central Authority (ICA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice, Office of the State Attorney.  The ICA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  For example, the ICA will ensure that all the required documents are submitted and make additional inquiries if necessary.  The ICA can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice
Office of the State Attorney
Department of International Affairs
7 Mahal Street, Ma'alot Dafna
PO Box 94123
Jerusalem  97765
Tel: +972-2-541-9614/9613
Fax:+972-2-541-9644/9645
Internet
 (child abduction page, in Hebrew)

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Israel, an applicant parent must submit a Hague application to the ICA.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the ICA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or the Israeli central authorities.  Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Israel can provide legal aid to applicants who can provide proof that they qualify for such aid in their own jurisdiction.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

 

 

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Return

 

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Israel.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction in countries where the Hague Abduction Convention is not an available remedy.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance. 

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Website: travel.state.gov
 
Parents who have a child who has been removed to or retained outside the United States in the West Bank or Gaza are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the local court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for additional information. 

 

 

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Israel.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Parents who are seeking access to children who were wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States in the West Bank or Gaza should contact the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Applicant parents or guardians are required to retain the services of an attorney in order to forward their Hague petition to the appropriate Israeli court and are responsible for all legal fees.  Applicants who are unable to pay for an attorney may apply for Israeli legal aid. 

Both the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem post a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Under Israeli law, the Family Court can refer pending cases, including Hague Abduction Convention cases, to certified family mediators who are listed in the court's roster. These mediators are required to be experienced social workers, psychologists, or lawyers who have attended special training in family mediation. However, there are no mediation programs established specifically to deal with Hague Abduction Convention cases.

An official mediation service is also provided in the Family Court, within the framework of the Court's assistance units. This service is staffed by social workers and psychologists who have expertise in difficult cases and experience in mediation. Cases under the Hague Abduction Convention can be referred to these assistance units by the Family Court. Mediation can also be sought to resolve access arrangements pending the hearing of the return application. 

Israeli courts may recognize a mediated agreement, which can have the same effect as a court decision. The court must ensure that the mediation process is conducted in accordance with the Court Mediation Regulations and that the mediated agreement is in the best interests of the child.

There are no independent mediation services in the West Bank. All mediation services operate within the court structure.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Israel is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Israel and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Please Note: Adoption in Israel by non-Israeli citizens is rare and is possible only through the Israeli Central Agency for International Adoption.

Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Learn more.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Israel is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Israel, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Israel also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Adoptive parents must stay in Israel for the duration of the adoption process. In order to adopt a baby up to age 2, the parents must be Israeli citizens. Non-Israeli citizens can only adopt a baby or a child with special needs for whom no adoptive parents could be found in Israel. Preference will be given to adoptive parents of the same religion or ethnic origin as the child.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: The age difference between either of the parents and the child may not be greater than 43 years.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Partners whose cohabitation is not recognized by the government as a legal marriage or single parents can only adopt children with special needs.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: The adopting parents' financial situation must be strong enough to allow adequate support of the child. Prospective adoptive parents must also submit salary slips to prove financial stability. The adoption officer will verify the information by interviewing the adoptive parents and conducting a home visit. See "Documents Required" below.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: All prospective adoptive parents must undergo a psychological test conducted by a psychologist as well as a social worker. The prospective adopting parents must also be judged in good physical health. Please see both "section a" of "Adoption Procedures" and "section e" of "Documents Required" below, as prospective adoptive parents must undergo a physical examination and submit a medical report. The couple need not be childless.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Israel is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Israel must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Israel attempt to place a child with a family in Israel before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Israeli requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment/Abandonment Requirements: Either the birth parents must provide a signed statement that they are willing to abandon the child or a court must declare the birth parents as unknown or unable to raise the child

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How to Adopt

ISRAEL'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

The Central Agency for International Adoption, managed by Ms. Orna Hirshfeld, is the national adoption authority. Ms. Nehama Tal has been assigned to be the inspector on international adoption.

THE PROCESS

Because Israel is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Israel must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Israel before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Israel
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider: 

    The first step in adopting a child from Israel is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Israel. Learn more.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Israel. Israel's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Israeli law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Israel determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Israel may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Israeli adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process. 

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Israel:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Israel, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Israel.

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Israel generally includes the following:

    • TIME FRAME: To adopt a baby in Israel, there is approximately a 5-year waiting list.

      When adopting a child with special needs, there is at least a six-month wait (depending on the age of the child and the parents' abilities).

    • ADOPTION APPLICATION / PROCEDURE: All prospective adopting parents must go through the following process when adopting an Israeli child:
      • Preliminary medical examination of the parents;
      • The child must first be declared adoptable. Either the birth parents must provide a signed statement that they are willing to abandon the child or a court must declare the birth parents as unknown or unable to raise the child;
      • Written evaluation of the child's medical condition;
      • The adoptive parents must physically arrive in Israel, meet the child and appear in court. At that point the court will grant them full guardianship;
      • The Ministry of Labor will conduct a follow-up investigation as to the child's successful integration into the family;
      • If the results of the Ministry's investigation are satisfactory after a period of six months residency with the adoptive parents, an adoption decree will be granted by the applicable Israeli court;
      • Additionally, an adoption decree must be received from the country of the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents will then proceed with obtaining an immigrant visa for the child;
      • The child is then registered in the Israeli adoption registry.
    • PALESTINIAN ADOPTION PROCEDURES: These are the Palestinian adoption procedures in the West bank and Gaza according to the consulate in Jerusalem:

      Christian Adoption:
      Prospective adoptive parents can obtain an adoption decree from the ecclesiastical court of their community (e.g. Latin, Greek, Armenian, etc). On the basis of the adoption decree issued by the court of the respective church, a Palestinian Birth Certificate can be issued and subsequently a Palestinian Passport (please note that there are sometimes difficulties in receiving civil documents from the Palestinian Authority).

      Muslim Adoption: 
      The Palestinian Authority opposes adoption by foreign parents, because, according to an unnamed source, Palestinian children must remain in Palestine. Additionally, Islamic Shari'a Law does not allow for adoption as it is recognized in the United States; rather, they allow for "guardianship". Please view our flyer on Adoption of Children from Countries in which Islamic Shari'a Law is observed.

      If a couple is able to locate a child, the couple must pursue custody with the Palestinian Authority District Court. Only after this is granted, can U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv pursue an IR-4 immigrant visa for the child under the category "to be adopted in the U.S. ".

      All adoption cases that were handled in the Jerusalem Consulate were from the West Bank, and they have not yet encountered one from Gaza .

      Please note: According to the Israeli adoption agency representative, adoption in Gaza is not possible since Islam does not enable adoption. According to the agency representative, about three years ago Chairman Arafat ordered that only Muslim couples could adopt children from Gaza.

    • ADOPTION FEES: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

      There are no government processing fees associated with adoption in Israel. The U.S. Embassy in Israel discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, "donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents. Such fees have the appearance of "buying" a baby and put all future adoptions in Israel at risk.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The following items are required prior to adoption in Israel :
      • Home study of the adoptive parents,
      • Salary slips attesting to their income,
      • Proof of adequate housing,
      • Police certificate showing no previous criminal record,
      • Medical report proving the good health of the adoptive parents.
      • Guarantee that the child will obtain their citizenship once the adoption has been finalized.

        Please note: U.S. citizenship is not granted at U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv in Israel. The child is granted an immigrant visa which enables him/her to be admitted into the United States. If the child is issued an IR-3 visa, he or she will be granted automatic citizenship upon admission into the U.S. If the child is issued an IR-4 visa, he or she must be readopted in the U.S. In which case, it is only after a full and final adoption decree has been obtained in the U.S. that the child will acquire U.S. citizenship under INA 320. This must be done while the child is under the age of 18.

      • Report completed by an Israeli social worker concerning the prospective adopting parents' financial situation and ability to support the child as well as stating that there is no history of family violence or harassment of minors.
      • NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.
  6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
    • Israeli Passport 
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Israel.
    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

      An interview will be scheduled for the adoptive parents and child with the Consular Officer following receipt by the Embassy of the approval of the I-800 that was filed with USCIS and all the supporting documents, and after completion of the adoption. If they meet all visa requirements per law, an immigrant visa (wither IR-3 or IR-4) will be issued to the child. Occasionally, parents who expected to obtain a final and valid adoption abroad are unable to do so and must apply for an IR-4 visa for their child instead of an IR-3.

      Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Israel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Israel, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Israel, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Israel require of the adoptive parents after the adoption? 

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Israel and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption? 

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Israel 
Immigration Visa Unit
71 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv , Israel 63903
Tel: (972) (03) 519-7601
Fax: (972) (03) 519-7619
Email: IVtelaviv@state.gov
Internet: https://il.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/embassy/

Israel's Adoption Authority 
Central Agency for International Adoption 
Ministry of Labor
10 Yad Harutzim Street
Jerusalem 91012
Tel: 972-2-6708177 / 8
Fax: 972-2-6708451

Embassy of Israel
3514 International Dr. N.W.
Washington DC 20008
Tel: 202-364-5500
Fax: 202-364-5527
E-mail: info@israelemb.org
Internet: http://www.israelemb.org/

* Israel also has consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8

 

 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 A A A
A-2 A A A
A-3 1 A A A
B-1 None Multiple 36 Months
B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 36 Months
C-2 None Multiple 36 Months
C-3 A A A
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 36 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 36 Months
F-1 None Multiple 36 Months
F-2 None Multiple 36 Months
G-1 A A A
G-2 A A A
G-3 None B Multiple B 36 Months B
G-4 None C Multiple C 36 Months C
G-5 1 None B Multiple B 36 Months B
H-1B None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 36 Months 3
I None Multiple 36 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 36 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 36 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 36 Months
L-2 None Multiple 36 Months
M-1 None Multiple 36 Months
M-2 None Multiple 36 Months
N-8 None Multiple 36 Months
N-9 None Multiple 36 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 36 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 36 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 36 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 36 Months
R-2 None Multiple 36 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None One 1 Month
U-2 None One 1 Month
U-3 None One 1 Month
U-4 None One 1 Month
U-5 None One 1 Month
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes
  1. Diplomatic relations not in force. The Department has determined that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a competent authority for passport-issuing purposes as defined in INA 101(a)(30), but the U.S. does not recognize the PA as a "foreign government". Visa applications for categories A-1, A-2, A-3, C-3, G-1, and G-2 made by bearers of Palestinian Authority Passports must be submitted to the Department for an advisory opinion. Requests should be slugged for CA/VO/L/A and NEA/IPA.

  2. G-3 and G-5 visas may be issued to bearers of Palestinian Authority documents who are employed by foreign governments (i.e. not the Palestinian Authority), or who are the immediate family members, attendants or personal employees of accredited officials of foreign governments. Qualified applicants should be issued visas on Form OF-232 following the procedures indicated in 22 CFR 41.113(b).

  3. G-4 visas may be issued to qualified applicants directly in their Palestinian Authority Passports.

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Israel:

Civil documents for Israel are generally available, though some records were destroyed in 1948 or earlier.

Fees may be charged for a particular document listed below. It is the applicant's responsibility to contact the appropriate issuing authority to obtain specific information about documents, including mailing addresses and fee requirements.

The Palestinian Authority (West Bank and Gaza):

At various times during the twentieth century, the West Bank and Gaza were under the administration of the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate, Jordan or Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. Therefore the issuing authority for civil documents depends on both the time and location of the life event being documented.

The West Bank and Gaza are subject to a complex set of governing arrangements involving Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Holders of Palestinian National Authority (PA) travel documents will generally present PA civil documents, but these applicants should apply for police certificates from the government of Israel.  Israeli citizens who lived in or live in the West Bank or Gaza are not subject to the Palestinian Authority and obtain their documents from the Government of Israel.

On June 14, 2007, the designated foreign terrorist organization Hamas took de facto administrative control of Gaza, to include the issuance of civil documents for that territory. The U.S. Government does not accept documents issued by Hamas in Gaza unless verified by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. It is the responsibility of the applicant submitting a document issued after June 14, 2007 from any governmental agency in Gaza to obtain verification from the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem does not assist in this process.

East Jerusalem:

Since June 28, 1967, East Jerusalem has been under the law, jurisdiction, and administration of the State of Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, signed September 13, 1993, deferred the settlement of the permanent status of Jerusalem to the final stages of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Since 2002, a few suburbs of East Jerusalem are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians in East Jerusalem hold the status of "permanent resident" of the State of Israel. For political reasons, most of them did not request Israeli citizenship. Palestinians from the West Bank and East Jerusalem may also have Jordanian documents, including passports.

In some cases, applicants from East Jerusalem are unable to obtain civil documents from either Israel or the Palestinian Authority.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Israel:

Always available for applicants born in Israel since 1948, and generally available for applicants born before then. Requests for birth certificates should be addressed to the office of the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The request should include the applicant's name at birth, the date and place of birth, the full name of both parents, the hospital where the birth took place, and the applicant's Israeli Identity Card number.

Israelis who are unable to obtain a birth certificate (either because the records do not exist or because they are unobtainable due to lack of relations between Israel and the birth country) may instead present a birth extract (Tamtzit Rishum) issued by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior.

The Palestinian Authority (West Bank and Gaza):

Generally available for those born in the West Bank and Gaza. Applications for birth certificates for Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza must be submitted to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Interior office located nearest the applicant's place of residence. Non-residents of the West Bank and Gaza may approach the nearest overseas representative of the PLO to request a birth certificate or write to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Interior office nearest their birth place.

The Consulate General in Jerusalem accepts birth extracts issued by the Palestinian Authority for Palestinian applicants born before 1948 within the pre-1967 boundaries of Israel, but who are now residents overseas or in the West Bank and Gaza. Between 1948 and 1967, the Government of Jordan issued certificates to residents of the West Bank, and the Government of Egypt to residents of Gaza; however, replacement certificates are issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Interior. The Government of Israel issued birth certificates to Palestinians between 1967 and 1993; however, replacement certificates are issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Interior. The U.S. government does not accept birth records issued by Hamas in Gaza unless verified by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. It is the responsibility of the applicant submitting a document issued after June 14, 2007 from any governmental agency in Gaza to obtain verification from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Interior office in Ramallah.

East Jerusalem:

Arab residents of East Jerusalem may obtain records from the Israeli Ministry of Interior. However, there are cases where the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has directed applicants without legal residence rights in Jerusalem to obtain a birth certificate for a newborn from the Palestinian Authority, despite the fact that the birth took place in Jerusalem. These applicants may contact the hospital and obtain hospital records that attest to their birth in Jerusalem.

Death Certificates

Generally available following the same procedures as birth certificates.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Israel:

Available. There is no civil marriage in Israel. Requests for marriage certificates should be sent to the appropriate religious community.

Jews should send requests to the Chief Rabbinate. Jewish marriage and divorce certificates from the Rabbinate must be certified by the Rabbinate Department at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem (Tel. 02-531-1170/164/161).

Muslims should send requests to the Sharia Court in the district where the marriage took place. Muslim marriage and divorce certificates from the Sheikh must be certified by the Sharia Court at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem (Tel. 02-654-1558/9).

Christians should send requests to the church where they were married. Christian marriage and divorce certificates from the church must be certified by the Christian Department at the Ministry of Interior in Jerusalem (Tel.02-621-7000/04).

The Palestinian Authority (West Bank and Gaza):

Marriage certificates should be requested from the officiating Sharia Court or church. The U.S. government does not accept marriage certificates issued by Hamas in Gaza unless verified by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. It is the responsibility of the applicant submitting a document issued after June 14, 2007 from any governmental agency in Gaza to obtain verification from the Palestinian Authority.

East Jerusalem:

Marriage certificates should be requested from the officiating Sharia Court or church. Sharia courts under different governmental authorities are available to East Jerusalem residents. Applicants should turn to the sharia court or church that registered their marriage to obtain replacement certificates.  

Divorce Certificates

Available. Same procedures as for marriage certificates apply for all communities. Please note that sharia courts will accept divorce jurisdiction in a case where the marriage occurred under a different sharia court system.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for updates.

 

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Identity Card

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority issues identity cards for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. The identity cards contain information in both Arabic and Hebrew and are printed on a light green background. The national ID number on the document is generated by the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank, which falls under the Israeli Defense Ministry.

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Certificates
 

  • Available Israeli Criminal Information Certificates are available for citizens and residents of Israel as well as nonresidents. This certificate is also available for residents of West Bank and Gaza.

  • Fees: Unknown

  • Document Name: Israeli Criminal Information Certificate

  • Issuing Authority: Israeli National Police

  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Red seal stamped by Criminal Information Department.

  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Criminal Information Department Public Service Unit

  • Registration Criteria: Unknown

  • Procedure for Obtaining: Israeli citizens or Jerusalem ID holders (laissez passer) must request a Criminal Information Certificate for use in their visa application.  The certificate should be sent directly to the Consular Section.  Applicants may request the certificate at their nearest police station or online at https://forms.gov.il/globaldata/getsequence/getHtmlForm.aspx?formType=criminaldocument@police.gov.il  (instructions in Hebrew only).  Former residents of Israel may apply in person at an Israeli consular or diplomatic mission, or online using the link above.

    All Palestinian ID holders living in the West Bank and Gaza must obtain a Criminal Information Certificate from the Israeli DCO (Civil Liaison Office) nearest your place of residence, or online at https://forms.gov.il/globaldata/getsequence/getHtmlForm.aspx?formType=criminaldocument@police.gov.il (instructions in Hebrew only), or at the nearest Israeli Embassy if you now reside abroad.  You will also need to apply for a Palestinian Non-Conviction Certificate from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Justice in the place of their residence.  For more details on how to apply for the Non-Conviction Certificate please visit the Ministry of Justice website at: http://www.moj.gov.ps.

  • Certified Copies Available: No

  • Alternate Documents: No

  • Exceptions:
  • Comments:

 

 

Court Records
 

Israeli Courts : Available when the judgment is less than seven years old except in cases involving "serious" crimes, in which case they are available indefinitely. The court record may be obtained from either the Judicial Court or the Military Court where the trial took place.

Palestinian Courts : Records may be obtained upon application to the court where the case was handled. The U.S. government does not accept court documents issued by Hamas in Gaza unless verified by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. It is the responsibility of the applicant submitting a document issued after June 14, 2007 from any governmental agency in Gaza to obtain verification from the Palestinian Authority.

Military Records

Israel:

Available.

Israelis who have served in active duty in the Israeli Defense Forces receive a military release (Form 807, Teudat Shikhrur) upon completion of service. In lieu of the military release, form AF435 may be requested from the Office of the Adjutant General, Ramat Gan, Israel. Israelis who have not served in the army should possess an exemption certificate (Teudat Ptor) or a similar document issued by the Israeli Defense Forces.

The Palestinian Authority (Gaza And West Bank):

Not applicable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Israel:

Israel issues three categories of travel documents. Israeli passports have a blue cover and are normally issued for ten years. In some cases, the validity of the passport is limited to one year (for example, for someone who lost several previous passports, or for minors). Recent immigrants to Israel carry a red cover "Israeli travel document in lieu of a national passport" issued for one to two years. Travel documents of this kind issued prior to July 2002 have an orange cover. Certain non-Israeli citizens (generally, Arab residents of East Jerusalem, Druze residents of the Golan Heights, or new immigrants not willing to renounce their current citizenship) also carry a red cover Israeli "travel document in lieu of a national passport" or laissez passer issued for a period of two years. Travel documents of this kind issued prior to 2012 have a dark blue cover, while those issued prior to July 2002 have a brown cover. Both the Israeli Ministry of Interior and Israeli missions abroad issue passports and travel documents.

On July 9, 2013, Israel began issuing e-passports and e-travel documents as an option for travelers in addition to the standard machine-readable documents already available. This test-run is voluntary and last for a 2-year period. The new passport includes a short-range wireless communications computer chip, which contains a photo, fingerprints, date of birth, and signature sample. Details are printed directly on the passport page instead of on a sticker, and some data and symbols are only visible under ultraviolet light, including an image of a Star of David and Hebrew alphabet sequences. For up-to-date information, please contact Tel Aviv FPU.

The Palestinian Authority (West Bank and Gaza):

9 FAM 403.9-3(A)(1) states that travel documents issued by the Palestinian National Authority (PA) meet the definition of a passport. The only legitimate PA passports issued after June 2007 are those issued in Ramallah, Hebron, and Nablus. Any PA passport issued outside of these areas should be considered fraudulent. Regular PA passports have a black cover, are valid for five years, and are machine readable. VIP PA passports have a red cover.

The PA issues only VIP and regular passports, not official or diplomatic passports. All VIP passports holders whose rank or position, as indicated in the passport or a supplemental diplomatic note, meets the definition of aliens eligible to receive diplomatic visas, as outlined in 9 FAM 402.3-10(C)(1), shall be considered to hold the equivalent of a diplomatic passport. All VIP passport holders whose rank or position, as indicated in the passport or a supplemental diplomatic note, does not meet the definition of aliens eligible to receive diplomatic visas, as outlined in 9 FAM 402.3-10(C)(1), shall be considered to hold the equivalent of an official passport. Consular officers may issue B1 visas in lieu of A or G visas, as appropriate, in PA VIP passports. As authorized in 9 FAM 303.7-4(B)(1), consular officers may waive fingerprinting for applicants holding PA VIP passports who are issued B1 visas in lieu of A or G visas. Furthermore, as required by 9 FAM 402.3-10(C)(1), consular officers are authorized to issue diplomatic-type visas to those PA VIP passport holders who have been determined to meet the definition of aliens eligible to receive diplomatic visas and may extend to them the appropriate associated courtesies accorded to all recipients of diplomatic-type visas.

Consular officers should be aware that all Palestinian diplomatic missions, including delegations to United Nations bodies, remain under the aegis of the Palestine Liberation Organization, not the Palestinian Authority. Please review the special clearance and issuance procedures for more information.

As many Palestinians reside outside of West Bank and Gaza, several other governments in the region, including the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Libya, issue travel documents to Palestinians. These documents generally state "Travel Document for Palestinian Refugees" on the cover. If these travel documents meet the definition of a passport as defined in INA 101(a)(30), the holders of these travel documents should be granted the same reciprocity as holders of travel documents issued by the Palestinian authority.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Tel Aviv, Israel (Embassy)

AmEmbassy Consular Section

Unit 7228 Box 0013
APO AE 09830

Tel: (972)(3)519-7575

Web: http://il.usembassy.gov/

Jerusalem (Consulate General)

AmCongen

Unit 7228 Box 0036
APO AE 09830

Tel: (972)(2)622-7230

Web: http://jru.usconsulate.gov/

Visa Services

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is officially designated to process non-immigrant visas for residents of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and provides both Arabic and Hebrew language support. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is officially designated to process nonimmigrant visas for residents of Israel, and provides Hebrew language support. However, applicants may schedule for and interview at either post.

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem handles all immigrant visa processing for residents of Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 364-5500 (202) 364-5607

Atlanta, GA (404) 487-6500 (404) 487-6555

Boston, MA (617) 535-0201 (617) 535-0255

Chicago, IL (312) 380-8800 (312) 380-8855

Houston, TX (832) 301-3510 (832) 627-0149

Los Angeles, CA (323) 852-5500 (323) 852-5566

Miami, FL (305) 925-9400 (305) 925-9455

New York, NY (212) 499-5000

Philadelphia, PA (267) 479-5800 (267) 479-5855

San Francisco, CA (415) 844-7500 (415) 844-7555

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
71 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv
Israel 63903
Telephone
+(972) (3) 519-7575
Emergency
+(972) (3) 519-7551
Fax
+(972) (3) 516-4390, or 516-0315
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.