Disclaimer: The article offers general information about living in Israel prior to making Aliyah. Nefesh B’Nefesh does not schedule appointments for visa renewals and is unable to facilitate the procedures mentioned herein. For more information regarding bureaucratic procedures, benefits, and the various implications of living in Israel as a tourist, please refer to the relevant Israeli government offices.

Health Coverage

Students and temporary residents who have resided in Israel for six consecutive months may register for health coverage through Bituach Leumi (ביטוח לאומי – the National Insurance Institute).

What you need:
  • Foreign passport
  • Letter from your school (if you are a student) OR your Teudat Zehut (if you are a temporary resident)

Bring these documents to your local branch of Bituach Leumi in order to register.

What you get:

1. You will be able to enroll in the Kupat Cholim (health fund) of your choice
2. You will receive the same healthcare benefits granted to Israeli citizens

Additionally, there are several private healthcare options that are available to tourists, students and returning Israelis living in Israel. For more information, please see the following link: Private  Health Insurance in Israel

School Registration

What you need:
  • Your child’s passport number
  • Documentation showing your place of residence (such as a rental contract or bill)
  • For elementary school registration: most recent report card, immunization history, and sometimes a letter of recommendation from the previous school
  • Passports of both parents
What to expect:

Pre-nursery (טרום טרום – Trom Trom), nursery (טרום – Trom) or kindergarten (גן חובה – Gan Chova):

  • Registration for public Gan is done through the Iriyah (ערייה – Municipality) in the Machleket Hachinuch (מחלקת החינוך – Department of Education), usually in February and March
  • Your child will be assigned a class based on your residence, and religious orientation
  • Private Gan registration is done through the Gan itself

Public elementary school: Also done via the local Machleket Hachinuch in February and March

Grades 7-12:

  • These schools are not district bound, and you can choose to send your child to a school anywhere in the country
  • Registration takes place November through December
  • Contact the schools you are considering to find out what documents they need
Tuition:

The cost of tuition is the same for tourists and Israeli citizens. Some schools may require you to pay tuition directly to the school if you do not have an Israeli bank account for a hora’at keva (הוראת קבע – standing bank order). Other schools may insist that you open a bank account in order to pay the school via hora’at keva.

Driver’s License

Tourists may drive in Israel with a valid foreign driver’s license for one year following their date of entry to Israel.
Tourists can apply to transfer their foreign driver’s license with their foreign passport, foreign driver’s license and a valid 3-month tourist visa.

Tourists need to visit Misrad Harishui (משרד הרישוי – Ministry of Vehicle Licensing) in order to obtain an ID number before beginning the licensing process. This can be done at any Misrad Harishui branch that deals with conversion of a foreign license.
In order to obtain an Israeli driver’s license, you will need to take a driving test (“Mivchan Shlita”).  You are not required to take a written examination.  If you have multiple entries and exits to Israel, Misrad Harishui reserves the right to request a written test in addition to the practical test.
Please follow the instructions for Obtaining a Driver’s License.

Buying and Importing a Car

Tourists are entitled to import a car to Israel or purchase a car in Israel without being subject to taxes, provided that they do so upon entering Israel or within three months from their date of entry.

The procedures and requirements vary based on your visa category:

  • A tourist (including A-1 and B-1 visa holders) must present a bank guarantee equaling the total amount of taxes due on the vehicle. The vehicle will need to be taken out of Israel every six months in order to avoid incurring taxes.
  • A student visa holder must provide a letter of intent from their academic institution confirming that the school will cover any remaining taxes if the student does not export the vehicle or repay the remaining taxes upon completion of their studies.

Please note: If and when you make Aliyah, you will be subject to the remaining taxes based on the vehicle’s depreciation. You can choose to pay the remaining taxes based on the Oleh rate (thus utilizing your Oleh benefits and renewing the four-year restriction on selling the vehicle). Alternatively, you may pay the remaining taxes in full and then preserve your Oleh benefits for the purchase of a different car within the first three years following your Aliyah.

Please refer to your local office of the Customs Authority for additional details.

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