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Who can travel to Israel and how, as country reopens to visitors on Sunday

As surging virus rates make impact of travel restrictions negligible, Israel to allow vaccinated and some recovered foreign travelers to arrive

Travelers at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on December 21, 2021. (Flash90)
Travelers at the Ben Gurion International Airport, on December 21, 2021. (Flash90)

Israel is set to reopen its borders to vaccinated and some recovered foreign tourists starting Sunday, January 9, as coronavirus rates in the country spike to record levels, making the impact of travel bans negligible.

The new rules enter into effect at midnight Saturday-Sunday.

On Friday, Israel shut down its list of “red” countries with high COVID-19 morbidity, ostensibly making travel possible to and from all nations.

Having kept its borders closed for most of the pandemic, Israel began to allow vaccinated tourists in at the start of last November, but by the end of that month had again banned the entry of foreign nationals in an attempt to hold off the Omicron variant, a ban that ends January 9.

Despite the shift in policy, health officials still recommend avoiding any non-essential travel as the virus continues to surge.

Following is a guide to travel to Israel for foreigners as of January 9:

  • Travelers must have been vaccinated (with at least two shots in most cases) or recovered from the virus within the last 180 days. Vaccination must take place at least 14 days before departure.
  • Vaccines recognized are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinovak, Sinopharm, Johnson & Johnson (single shot), Covishield, and Sputnik V (must get a serological test in Israel). Travelers must present a vaccination certificate.
  • Currently Israel only recognizes recovery certificates from the European Union, based on a positive NAAT test. Recovered, non-vaccinated individuals from other countries can not enter at this time.
  • Travelers must present a negative PCR test result from within 72 hours of their flight. They must also submit an online entry form.
  • A second PCR test will be administered at Ben Gurion Airport upon arrival. Travelers must proceed to quarantine until a negative result is received or until 24 hours have elapsed, whichever comes first.

For borderline cases and questions, travelers are encouraged to contact the Health Ministry hotline at +972-8-624-1010 (English menu is available).

 

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