The entry requirements for Israel are relatively simple for German citizens: Without a visa, you can stay in the country for up to three months for tourism purposes. Even with previous stays in Arab countries or Iran, entry is not a problem.
You only expect a security survey. Passports are usually not stamped – you will receive an entry card instead. Under certain circumstances, you should be prepared for longer times when departing in Germany, crossing the border and leaving the country.
What entry requirements apply to Israel?
For German citizens, Israel’s entry requirements require a passport or temporary passport to be presented. This must be valid for at least six months after the stay. Entry with an ID card is generally not possible.
A separate photo document, i.e. the children’s passport, must be presented for people under the age of twelve. Minor children who are travelling alone require a written and notarized power of attorney from their legal guardians. It is best to have this approved by the embassy.
Every member of the Federal Republic of Germany who was born after January 1, 1928, does not need a visa for Israel for up to three months. If you have been expelled from the country in the past or if you have previously been refused entry, you must always obtain an entry permit from the diplomatic mission abroad.
Anyone born before 1928 must submit a denazification declaration and a fully completed application.
What visas are there for Israel? And how can I apply for a visa?
For vacation trips lasting longer than three months, you can apply for a tourist visa at the embassy or one of the consulates. The Mediterranean state also offers student, business, work and volunteer visas.
In addition to the completed form, non-German citizens must present a current residence permit in Germany. Details of accommodation in Israel must also be entered in the application. A fee of 22 euros per pass is required for the standard visa.
Special features apply to people of Palestinian origin. All German nationals with Palestinian identification numbers in Israel, entry through the international airports is generally denied. You can only visit the West Bank from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge border crossing. A special permit is required for the onward journey to the Israeli part, which you can apply for on-site.
Always show the Palestinian passport, not the German one. If you do not have any Palestinian ID, the Israeli officials will enter the relevant personal identification number in your German passport. Spouses of a person of Palestinian origin must have the status “married” in their ID document. Otherwise, rejection is possible, especially at the Allenby Bridge.
All citizens, including dual states of Arab states, Malaysia, Indonesia and Iran complete application forms B and C at the diplomatic mission abroad. Processing takes approximately 30 days and the Israeli authorities recommend that all individuals concerned wait for the decision before booking flights or hotels.
What can I expect when I enter?
Usually, you arrive at Ben Gurion Airport 20km from Tel Aviv. An immigration control awaits you here, after which you will receive a “clearance” or immigration card with barcode and scanned photo received. Keep these until the end of your stay and hand them in when you leave. In the West Bank, you should always carry clearance with you.
In order to guarantee later stays in Arab states, you will not receive a stamp in your passport. The same practice is common at the Allenby Bridge crossing points to Jordan and Taba to Egypt. Passports are often still stamped at the border posts at Yitzak Rabin / Wadi Araba and Arava / Aqaba.
However, officials often hand out a separate paper upon request. Make absolutely sure that the total length of stay is three months. There may be short-term closings at some borders, particularly in Taba, Arava and on the Allenby Bridge. Irregularities are expected on Jewish holidays.
Israel’s entry requirements allow border guards to have a detailed security interview to lead with you. You will be invited to the survey in particular if you are of Iranian or Arab descent or if you have stamps or visas from these countries in your passport. The same applies to previous stays in Malaysia, Indonesia or Sudan.
Since these regulations can also be tightened at short notice, you should visit the website of the Israeli embassy promptly or inquire directly with the diplomatic mission. Problems when entering the country can also arise if you have previously called for a boycott of Israel. This also includes demonstrations against settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
If you belong to an organization that works with pro-Palestinian institutions, you must also explain yourself in an interview.
German-Israeli dual states should note that their conscription status may be checked. If you have not yet done military service, it may be compulsory to go to the examination centre. Anyone who does not comply with this request is guilty of an administrative offence. You are usually refused to leave the country if you do not register for the examination during your stay.
Even when departing from Germany or another country, there may be stricter security checks, including by the state airline El Al. As a result, longer waiting times can be expected. It is therefore advisable to be at the check-in or gate at the right time. A further check takes place on departure. Officials may have the right to confiscate your laptop for some time.
It is common practice for the computer to be forwarded to the destination a few days later. There may be another security interview. Suitcases may also be opened without your presence.
What are the important customs regulations?
You can import 80,000 shekels, equivalent to around 19,000 euros, into Israel free of charge. Higher amounts are reported to customs in Israel using Form 84. In addition, 250 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco products, 1l of spirits and 2l of wine are allowed duty-free. These exemption limits apply only to people aged 18 and over.
You can also introduce 250ml of perfume or eau de cologne. The gift limit is $ 150. In addition, you are allowed to carry unlimited personal items as long as they do not violate the laws of Israel. With luggage such as photo equipment, radios, bicycles and jewellery, there are no problems with the import.
Weapons, illegal intoxicants and anti-Semitic propaganda, on the other hand, are immediately confiscated and you can expect high fines. You should be able to provide a certificate in English for prescription medication.
You need a permit for plants, flowers and seeds, which you can obtain in large quantities from the embassy and otherwise at the border crossing. It is generally prohibited to bring raw meat, fresh milk, bananas, pineapples and African fruits and vegetables into the country.
A green insurance card with the English addition “valid for Israel” is mandatory for cars. The vehicle does not have to be cleared on customs during travel. The condition is the subsequent re-export.
Travelling with pets
You can enter Israel with up to two pets per person. You need an official medical certificate for this which should not be older than seven days upon arrival in Israel. It is advantageous to have the document authenticated at the embassy and have it translated into English or Hebrew. It must certify that your darling has no contagious diseases.
In addition, an international vaccination certificate must be submitted – in particular, an immunization against rabies is required.
The last vaccination must not be older than one year and not younger than 30 days. When you enter the country, you sign a declaration confirming that you have the animals for more than 90 days. Otherwise, the import is not allowed. Dogs and cats that are not yet three months old are generally not allowed to enter the country.
There are two options for transport: for smaller animals in the cabin, for larger animals in the luggage compartment. In any case, you need a solid box.
Also, make sure that the dog and cat can handle the stress of the trip. The administration of sedatives is generally discouraged. At check-in, you should arrive as punctually as possible so that formalities such as paying the additional transport fee for pets can be clarified at an early stage.
What medical regulations and information do I need to know?
If you are travelling to Israel from a yellow fever area, you need an official vaccination certificate. This is not required from Germany. In addition, the Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Foreign Office recommend that you refresh the standard vaccinations according to the vaccination calendar.
Children and adults alike should be protected from whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, mumps, measles, rubella, influenza and pneumococci. Furthermore, immunization against hepatitis A, for longer stays and special exposure also against hepatitis B and rabies is advisable. The latter makes sense for hikes and excursions in rural areas, for example. Stray animals can run around here.
Protect yourself against all forms of diarrhoea with strict drinking water hygiene. Avoid tap water when brushing your teeth and washing dishes. In an emergency, it should be filtered, disinfected or boiled. For vegetables and fruit, it is advisable to peel or cook through thoroughly.
Frequent hand washing also minimizes the risk of infection. Flies must also be kept away from food. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks are rare in the Mediterranean state – consequent insect protection is therefore only necessary in exceptional cases.
Medical care is at a western level in Israel, especially in major cities like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The situation in the Palestinian Territories is somewhat less good. In the event of accidents in Gaza or the West Bank, always bring ambulances to one of the Palestinian hospitals, never to Israel. Only state-certified clinics are responsible for emergency treatment and childbirth. Protection of travel health insurance with a return option is recommended.