Who May Acquire an A1 Visa?
To be eligible for an A/1 visa, one must be Jewish (i.e. eligible under the Law of Return).
How Long is an A1 Visa Valid?
An A/1 visa is valid for 3 years. It may be extended an additional two times for one year each.
What is a Toshav Arai Eligible For?
An A/1 visa holder, or toshav arai (temporary resident), may register with Bituach Leumi after spending 183 days in Israel in the past year. He/she is legally permitted to work and is not required to serve in the army. A toshav arai also receives a teudat zehut booklet (in a different color than that of Israeli citizens), along with a teudat zehut number.
Application for an A1 (Toshav Arai) Visa
In order to apply for an A1 visa, you must appear in person at the Misrad Hapnim nearest you. Make sure the branch you use deals with visas for foreigners. In most branches, an advance appointment is required. You may need to first visit the office to schedule an appointment, then return to submit your application. Be sure to check your branch’s visa hours and appointment requirements.
For a first-time application in Jerusalem, make an appointment by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a visa appointment. Include the names and passport numbers of all applicants. Supply a phone number and specify if you need an adult or child renewal, first time visa for adult or child, the amount of visas necessary, etc.
A Misrad HaPnim representative should call you within three business days to schedule your appointment. Make sure that your phone is available at all times, and answer any private or unknown calls. Unfortunately, representatives generally do not call more than once. If you missed a call, resubmit your inquiry – as your case has likely been closed.
If you do not receive any response within three business days, simply resubmit the email a second time.
If, after another two days, you have still not heard back from Misrad HaPnim, Chaim V’Chessed will attempt to intervene on your behalf. Forward the email thread containing both emails you sent to Misrad HaPnim to email@example.com
You will need the following documents:
- Criminal records check from your place of origin (may require an apostille)
- Birth certificate with parents’ names, with an apostille
- Marriage license, if applicable. The spouse of an Israeli citizen must have this document apostilled, or obtain a maaseh beit din. Contact Chaim V’Chessed for further information.
- Your foreign passport and a copy of your passport. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of the visa requested.
- Three current passport pictures
- An original letter from a rabbi in the community you grew up in validating that you are Jewish from birth. The letter must be written on official stationary with a logo and must be from a recognized rabbi of a congregation or institution located in chutz la’aretz. The letter must include your passport number and birthday, and your parents’ names and birthdays.
- A letter written and signed by the applicant that says that he/she would like to live in Israel for the next 3 years.
- Completed form of visa extension, available online or at Misrad Hapnim
All documents should be original. Documents that are not in English or Hebrew should be presented along with a translation.
There may be a fee for issuing this visa. Payments in Misrad Hapnim can be made only with an Israeli credit card.
After submitting your documents, you will be notified by Misrad Hapnim to come pick up your visa and teudat zehut. Processing time may take 4-6 weeks.
Children of toshvei arai may or may not acquire Israeli citizenship when born in Israel, as per the discretion of Misrad Hapnim. In most cases, children born in Israel to parents who are toshvei arai will become Israeli at birth.
Renewing a Toshav Arai Visa
To renew a toshav arai visa, schedule an appointment in Misrad Hapnim for the renewal of a teudat zehut. Come with your teudat zehut; passport with visa; proof of residency, i.e. gas, water, and electric bills; kupat cholim card; and personal status documents, i.e. birth and marriage certificates.
Your visa may be renewed twice for one additional year each time.