Israel to launch ETA system for tourists from visa-exempt countries

The arrivals hall at the Ben Gurion Airport, July 11, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
The arrivals hall at the Ben Gurion Airport, July 11, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israel says it is moving to an electronic travel authorization system for visitors from visa-exempt countries beginning in August, joining Britain, the United States, Canada and other countries that have such systems.

Visitors from non-visa countries will need the ETA to stay for up to 90 days in Israel, having previously been able to visit the country without it. Entry will continue to be determined by a border control officer, it says, as in other countries with a similar system.

The government says the new system will help keep track of tourists in order to maintain security.

A pilot program for the ETA-IL system will start on June 1 for holders of US and German passports and it will be open to visitors from other visa-exempt countries on July 1.

The ETA-IL will become mandatory from Aug. 1, “and visitors will not be able to board a plane to Israel without it”, the Population and Immigration Authority says in a statement.

It will cost NIS 25 ($6.80) and stay valid for up to 2 years, or until the current passport expires. Obtaining a new passport or a name or gender change would require an application for a new travel authorization.

Visitors from non-eligible countries still need a visa at an Israeli consulate prior to their travel, and do not need to obtain an ETA-IL.

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