Update: After I wrote this yesterday, Chaim V’Chessed decided to put out their own updated FAQ of Israel’s entry rules as they acknowledged the errors, broken links, and missing information on the official Israel site. I worked with them to add several of the common DansDeals reader questions to their FAQ, but if you have any other questions feel free to comment below for answers or get it added to the FAQ list!
It’s worth noting that I have heard from readers that have had no issues using the eMed telehealth COVID antigen test to enter and leave Israel and the US. I also heard from readers who had no problem checking into hotels while under quarantine by showing their Green Pass that they got when uploading their vaccination card to fly to Israel, along with their physical vaccination card.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Israel’s health declaration form isn’t timed to account for flights that depart a day before they arrive in Israel. If you just finished 15 days from your vaccination or booster (the day you are vaccinated counts as day 1), you may need to play with the dates as the rule is you can arrive into Israel 15 days from vaccination, but you are actually able to depart 14 days from vaccination, even though the health form isn’t programmed to recognize that.
Ever since countries started reopening from COVID lockdowns, I’ve been amazed at how difficult some make it to find the latest rules on entry. It took an absurd amount of time for me to figure out the rules to travel between countries within Southern Africa last October. There was much conflicting information about entering Zimbabwe by air and by land that the concierge at the hotel had to physically go to the border crossing to figure out what the rules for crossing were! Spoiler alter: Even the border agents were unsure about the official rules.
It comes after tourism in the country fell from 4.5M inbound tourists in 2019 to 832K in 2020 and 400K in 2021. Israel reopened to vaccinated tourists in November after a ~20 month shutdown, but closed down again due to Omicron, before reopening again last week.
The site is certainly a step in the right direction, though it’s still short on information. An FAQ section is notably missing.
- The site says that you must present negative PCR test results taken 72 hours or less before your flight to Israel. This is fake news. Israel also accepts proctored antigen results taken up to 24 hours before your flight.
- The site has a section about “If you have recovered” and talks about being allowed to enter Israel with a digital certificate of recovery, but fails to say in plain English that no such certificate exists in the US. Israel only recognizes a digital certificate from the EU, which is what the site should say.
- The site offers no information about infants and children. While most countries allow unvaccinated children to enter with vaccinated parents, Israel does not. That means American children under 5 are persona non grata in the holy land as no vaccine exists for those under 5 and Israel doesn’t recognize American COVID recovery certificates. While the site offers no information about infants, if they’re under 12 months old they should be allowed into the country without a permit. However I have heard conflicting information about whether infants under 12 months need to go into quarantine for 7-10 days upon arrival.
- The site says you have to purchase a PCR upon arrival and remain in quarantine for up to 24 hours after arrival, but offers no information about what happens if you test positive for COVID upon arrival. Do you get sent to a government hotel to quarantine if you don’t have a private home or if there are other people in the private home? Is it 7 or 10 days? Can you checkin to a hotel in the 24 hours if you present an American vaccine/recovered certificate?
- The site says that a negative PCR is needed to leave if you destination country requires one. Would it be too much to ask for it to say that the US only requires an antigen test that can taken up to 1 day before the flight? You can even take the antigen test on your own.
The site is a good start, but hopefully it will get better. Then again, considering that Israel has effectively banned our kids from seeing their 1st cousins in Israel for nearly 2 years and counting, maybe I’m just asking for too much?