Israelis can now visit the United States for up to 90 days without the need for a visa, thanks to a recent policy change. This new development simplifies travel for Israeli citizens, allowing them greater flexibility when visiting the US.
On November 2, 2023, the United States and Israel signed a visa waiver agreement (VWA) that allows Israeli citizens to travel to the US for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism or business purposes. The agreement went into effect on December 12, 2023.
To be eligible for the VWA, Israeli citizens must meet the following requirements:
Have a valid Israeli passport
Be a resident of Israel
Have not been previously denied a US visa
Have not committed a serious crime
Have a return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one
The new Visa Waiver Program (VWP) benefits Israeli travellers in a number of ways:
Easier travel: Israeli citizens no longer need to apply for a visa in advance to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes. Instead, they can simply complete an online Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application. The ESTA application is free and can be completed up to 72 hours before travel.
Reduced costs: The VWP reduces the cost of travel to the United States for Israelis by eliminating visa application fees.
Increased tourism: The VWP is expected to boost tourism to the United States from Israel, leading to an increase in tourism spending and job creation in the United States.
Stronger economic ties: The VWP is expected to strengthen economic ties between the United States and Israel by making it easier for businesses on both sides to conduct cross-border trade and investment.
Here is an example of how the VWP can benefit Israeli travellers:
An Israeli entrepreneur wants to travel to the United States to attend a trade show and meet with potential customers. Under the old system, the entrepreneur would need to apply for a business visa, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process. With the VWP in place, the entrepreneur can simply complete an ESTA application and travel to the United States without a visa. This saves the entrepreneur time and money, and it allows him to focus on his business instead of dealing with visa paperwork.
To obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA) for US travel, you must:
Go to the official website.
Click on the "Apply for ESTA" button.
Create an account and enter your personal information, including your passport number, contact information, and travel plans.
Answer a series of questions about your eligibility for ESTA.
Pay the ESTA application fee ($21 USD).
Review your application and submit it.
Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated emailconfirmation. You will then receive a decision on your ESTA application within 72 hours. If your ESTA application is approved, you will receive an ESTA approval notice. If your ESTA application is denied, you will receive an explanation of the reason for the denial.
Israel is a relatively safe country for tourists, but it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime. Here are some safety tips for Israeli tourists:
Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
Be careful using public transportation, especially buses and trains. Be aware of pickpockets and keep your valuables close to you.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or jewellery.
Be careful when withdrawing money from ATMs. If possible, use an ATM inside a bank or other secure location.
Be aware of your surroundings when visiting religious sites. Dress respectfully and avoid taking photos of people without their permission.
Be aware of the political situation in Israel and avoid areas where there is unrest.
Israeli tourists must have a valid passport and an ESTA approval notice in order to travel to the United States. ESTA is an electronic travel authorization system that allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without a visa.
Entry and Exit
Israeli tourists must arrive at a US port of entry that is designated for ESTA travellers. When arriving at the US port of entry, Israeli tourists must present their valid passport and ESTA approval notice to a CBP officer. CBP officers may also ask Israeli tourists questions about their travel plans and eligibility for ESTA.
To apply for the new Visa Waiver Agreement (VWA) for Israelis, you must complete an online Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application. The ESTA application is free and can be completed up to 72 hours before travel.
To apply for ESTA, you will need to provide the following information:
Your passport number and date of issue
Your contact information
Your travel plans
Answers to a series of questions about your eligibility for ESTA
Once you have submitted your ESTA application, you will receive an automated email confirmation. You will then receive a decision on your ESTA application within 72 hours. If your ESTA application is approved, you will receive an ESTA approval notice. If your ESTA application is denied, you will receive an explanation of the reason for the denial.
If your ESTA application is approved, you can travel to the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. You must have a valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country and a valid ESTA approval notice in order to travel to the United States under ESTA.
Can all Israelis travel to the US for 90 days without a visa?
No, this visa waiver program applies to Israeli citizens who meet certain eligibility criteria. Travellers must have a valid Israeli passport, meet the US Visa Waiver Program requirements, and obtain an approved ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before their trip.
How long can Israeli citizens stay in the US without a visa?
Israeli citizens can visit the United States for up to 90 days without the need for a visa. This allows for tourism, business, or family visits.
What is the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries, including Israel, to travel to the United States for short visits without obtaining a visa. Instead, travellers must apply for an ESTA online, which grants them permission to enter the US for up to 90 days for specific purposes, such as tourism or business.
What is the ESTA, and how do I apply for it?
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the VWP. To apply for an ESTA, visit the official website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/) and complete the online application. Approval is usually granted quickly, but it's recommended to apply at least 72 hours before your travel date.
Can Israeli citizens work in the US under this program?
No, the 90-day visa-free stay under the VWP is primarily for tourism, business meetings, or visiting family and friends. Employment or work activities that generate income in the United States require the appropriate work visa.
Can Israeli citizens extend their stay beyond 90 days without a visa?
No, the 90-day limit is a strict requirement. If Israeli citizens wish to stay longer in the United States or engage in activities not covered by the VWP, they must apply for the appropriate visa or seek an extension before their initial 90-day period expires.
Are there any specific entry requirements or conditions for Israeli travellers under the VWP?
Israeli citizens, like all VWP travellers, must meet certain entry requirements, including having a valid passport, an approved ESTA, and a return ticket. Additionally, they must not have a recent history of visa denials or immigration violations. It's advisable to check the latest requirements and regulations on the official U.S. government websites before travelling.