Welcome to Israel!
Whether coming for just a few months, a few years, or forever – moving to Israel is a big step. As a foreigner, there is much to be taken care of, both before coming and after arrival. We have compiled a general list which should assist you in your move to this wonderful country.
Please note: This is not a guide to the Aliyah process.
Prepare in Advance!
Bring along the following documents for each traveler:
- Original birth certificate (with apostille, for certain visa categories, including permission to work)
- Marriage license (with apostille, for certain visa categories, including permission to work)
- Foreign driver’s license
- Social Security number
- Medical records, if applicable
Tip: Scan all the documents and email them to yourself or upload them to a cloud service, such as Google Drive. In addition, keep a folder of them (and copies of each) handy.
Tip: Make sure to hold onto the blue card (tourist visa) which you will receive at the airport on arrival. You will need it to apply for a student visa and for other purposes.
- Find an apartment: Ask friends, family, real estate agents
Tip: Nothing in life is perfect; choose your priorities in an apartment and look for that! (ie: elevator, porch, new, mold-free…)
Just got here and don’t know where to begin? Here is a list to get you started.
- Get a visa If you are not an Israeli citizen, you will receive a tourist visa on arrival, which is valid for three months. It is critical to apply for a long-term visa shortly after you arrive in Israel. A visa allows you to live and potentially work in Israel legally. It may also enable you to apply for Bituach Leumi (National Insurance) once you are here for 6 months (183 days).
- Enroll in a Kupat Cholim A Kupah is an HMO, ie they provide your on-site medical care via doctors, labs, etc. The four providers are: Meuhedet, Clalit, Leumit or Maccabi. You can join Meuhedet or Maccabi as a tourist, however, your coverage will be limited until you join Bituach Leumi.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may not be accepted to a Kupat Cholim as a tourist. If so, you should obtain private coverage.
- Pick up a Newcomers’ Guide
- Get a Rav Kav If you plan on using public transportation, you can use either a Rav Kav, the debit card you use to pay your fare on buses and trains, or via an app on a smartphone. A blank Rav Kav can be obtained in local stores with Rav Kav charging stations or ordered online.
- Open a bank account An Israeli bank account will be necessary if you work in Israel and to receive Bituach Leumi benefits.
- Register for Bituach Leumi Once you are in Israel for 6 months with certain A-class visas, you are eligible for Bituach Leumi – National Insurance. Bituach Leumi will pay for your basic health insurance (Kupat Cholim), cover all hospitalizations and will give you further benefits such as maternity leave, birth grants, and child stipends if you qualify. Once you are a member of Bituach Leumi, visa holders can apply to get reimbursed for payments made to their Kupah while on the 6 month waiting period.
Please note: if you are an Israeli citizen, you must first establish residency in order to be eligible for Bituach Leumi.
- If you plan to drive in Israel, you must convert your driver’s license to an Israeli driver’s license. After a year of residing in Israel, you are no longer legally allowed to drive on a foreign license.
Moved into a new apartment?
It will take time to get settled. Here are some items you will certainly want to take care of.
- Sign a rental contract (this will be needed for Bituach Leumi registration)
Tip: Ask to see all of the previous utility bills to ensure that they have been paid.
- Change the water bill and electric bill to your name
- Change the arnona bill to your name. At the start of every calendar year, renters and apartment owners alike are billed for the present year’s property taxes. Be sure the bill is paid on time! Discounts are available for low-income residents.
- Set up phone lines and cellular phones.
- Choose and contact a Rav.
- Locate the mikveh and keilim mikveh nearest you.