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Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

Fort Worth, Texas
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Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

I will be flying from the US to Tel Aviv for the first time in two weeks and was curious about any tips or experiences entering the country, or leaving.

Boston...
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1. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

I'm no expert, but I flew into Tel Aviv last year. I was surprised by how easy the experience was. The woman who 'greeted' me at the immigration desk was pretty brusque and rude. I don't know if this was her personality, it was part of the job to rattle me, or if she was grumpy at having to work at three in the morning. But I answered all her questions (Why was I coming to Israel? Did I know anyone there? What was that person's name? Where was I staying?) etc. I have traveled a lot and I am used to answering questions without getting rattled. She looked over my papers and I was on my way. She needed to see my boarding pass from the flight, so perhaps it's a good idea to hold onto that.

One thing: I was asked how long I was staying, and my visa was granted for exactly that time period. So if there is any uncertainty in when you are leaving the country, give the latest date to allow yourself wiggle room.

I traveled by land to Jordan and left from there, so I can't provide advice on the exit process.

Fort Worth, Texas
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2. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

Good to know, especially the part about the visa. Since I'm an airline employee who flies standby, there's always a chance I'll be bumped and have to stay longer.

Boston...
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3. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

Good luck, and have fun!

NYC/Israel
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4. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

Generally speaking the VISA that is granted upon arrival ( assuming you are on an AMerican passport) is a 90 day VISA. VISA's of shorter duration are only granted if Israeli authorities are unsure about something. The VISA that bchaplin reports is not usual and there is more to the story than she is sharing.

BUT, as she does say. Immigration is easy. They will ask maybe one question, maybe more. The trick is to just answer honestly. If the questions ( be that before coming to Israel, at immigration or at TLV when leaving Israel) seem inane or repetitive, just smile, be honest and repeat your answers. They monitor your body language as well as your words. If you are an airline employee without a firm return--and they ask, say so and offer your airline ID. BTW your passport MUST expire 6 months AFTER you planned departure date. ( if bchaplin didn't have 6 months that would also explain the shorter VISA)

Alberta
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5. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

I have flown in many times, and do get asked the usual questions, as have been mentioned above. When we flew in 2 weeks ago, the agent took our CDN passports, looked at us, printed the visa, and handed everything back to us and smiled. She did not ask us one question, not even how long we were staying. First time never getting asked anything. Good luck and enjoy your visit.

Gippsland, Australia
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for Jerusalem
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6. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

We flew in this last Sunday morning at it was the easiest entry I have ever experienced here in Israel. We breezed through in just a few moments with hardly any questions. For the first time it was just the same as any other country.

They also changed the system for security when exiting Israel on Sunday so any experiences that happened before Sunday aren't terribly valid. There is a thread here in Trip Advisor somewhere about the change, (sorry,,, about to go out so don't have time to look up the thread for you.) Check out the fine print on the website linked to from that thread for detailed info.

Gippsland, Australia
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7. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

Oh... Don't lose the little blue slip of paper the give you on entry. It isn't just a ticket to get you through the gate - it is your visa and needs to be kept with your passport and shown whenever asked - eg at hotels etc so you don't end up paying tax when you don't need to.

Boston...
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8. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

Sorry for giving the incorrect advice about the visa. I think rdglady is right; it was for 6 months. I just looked at it again. When I was in the airport, I remember being given some slip of paper with the specific dates I had provided, and I assumed that was the time I was supposed to stay in the country.

There really wasn't 'more to the story'. It was a quick interview, and I'm a pretty ordinary-looking, low-key person. I certainly wouldn't travel on a passport that was due to expire in less than six months.

NYC/Israel
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9. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

Bchaplin--ahhh, the only reason I thought there was more to the story was because you said you were given a VISA good only until your departure date ( which meant you could not extend your stay) Now, that you realize the VISA was 6 months--of course there is nothing more to the story!

My background in my response. Many, many, many years ago--I was coming on the 10 day mid-winter holiday break for work. ( I am a retired teacher) I didn't realize there was a 6 month rule for passports. I arrived around Dec. 26 and was departing Jan. 2 or so. Immigration says to me, "your passport isn't valid" I reply, HUH? ( i knew it expired in April) She says it has to be 6 months. I replied, I didn't know that" ( all the while petrified they wouldn't let me in) She then says, "I can give you a VISA for only 2 weeks." I replied, That

would be fine, I am leaving before 2 weeks, I have to get back to work" She stamps my passport ( passports were stamped then) and I gratefully enter. Only when I was far away from immigration did I look to see how long the VISA was for. SHe had given me the standard 6 months. I think she was monitoring my reaction to the threat of 2 weeks.

NJ
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10. Re: Immigration & Customs experiences entering Tel Aviv

I have found that entering Israel the immigration lines often been shorter/faster than the immigration lines in other major airports in the US and Europe. The lines move pretty well and they usually have enough immigration officers to handle the need at the current time.

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