Updated May 18, 2021 12:40 PM IST
Chaim V’Chessed has chronicled the saga of entry to Israel for student visa holders for well over a year. For several months, we have advocated for blanket permission to enter Israel for those holding valid visas. Now, this will become reality, for at least some travelers.
Ministry of Interior officials, as well as the Israeli Consulate in New York have confirmed that, beginning tomorrow, May 10, passengers departing the US for Israel (on non stop flights only) will be permitted to enter Israel if they hold valid student visas. This is is a pilot program which currently is only available for travelers from the United States. UPDATE: Click to see updated information about an expansion of this policy.
We have confirmed this information with relevant government offices. At the same time, we caution that several airline officials with whom we are in contact with are as of yet not aware of this rule change.
Furthermore, there are still several unclear areas. For example, student visa families have been stranded abroad due to newborns who do not have visas. It is unclear how this new rule will help those families.
Additionally, just last Thursday, we reported the Israeli authorities had suddenly begun demanding entry permits from toshavei keva (permanent residents of Israel). Will these passengers now be permitted to fly without permits? This would certainly be reasonable, but it is as yet unclear. UPDATE: Toshavei keva can now fly from most destinations without permits.
We continue to seek clarifications from government officials, and will update when more information becomes available.