As Chaim V’Chessed has detailed extensively, entry to Israel for foreigners has been prohibited since the start of the Corona crisis. Numerous exceptions have been made to this rule, including entry for emergencies, simchas and deaths. Additionally, after many changes and much drama, students are now able to obtain a permit to enter Israel.
These students are sometimes newcomers to Israel, such as yeshiva boys or seminary girls coming to spend a year in Israel. Others may have spouses and children, and have lived in Israel for a number of years. Regardless of stage and age, these individuals are in Israel with student visas, or in certain circumstances arrived before obtaining student visas (though they should obtain a student visa as soon as possible).
All students who leave Israel are required to obtain an entry permit so as to return to Israel. This relates to departures of any length of time – and for any purpose. Entry permits can only be applied for by the institution in which the student is registered. Notably, the institution may only apply for an entry permit once the student has departed Israel. Furthermore, permits are not issued instantaneously – they sometimes take a few days to arrive. Numerous students have travelled for very short trips abroad, thinking that they would immediately be issued permits, only to have their return delayed, because their permit did not arrive in time.
Moreover, the authorities are constantly enacting new rules and obstacles to the issuance of these permits. Chaim V’Chessed is currently advocating for several students who recently left Israel, and who now find themselves stranded abroad, for a variety of reasons. Even worse, our representatives have dealt with more than a handful of cases where a student arrived in Israel without the correct paperwork, and found themselves threatened with deportation. In some instances, we were successful in resolving the problem. However, in several other cases, the passenger was, sadly, deported back to his country of origin.
For this reason, for the first time, Chaim V’Chessed has issued a travel advisory: We call on all students – both single and married – who are currently in Israel, to carefully weigh potential travel plans. The risk of being stranded abroad may outweigh the value of your trip. If the trip is not an absolute necessity, consider cancelling it.