PCR Tests for Outbound Travel, Terminal Open Only to Passengers

For much of the Corona era, there has been a requirement for all passengers departing Israel to undergo a PCR test before flying, irrespective of the destination country’s requirements. The exception to this has been vaccinated passengers or those recognized by Israel as recovered.

For the past several months, enforcement of this requirement has generally been lax. Airlines mostly requested Covid tests only in accordance with requirements of the destination country. 

In light of the newly discovered Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health has announced that beginning today, December 2, this requirement will again be strictly enforced. All passengers entering the Ben Gurion Airport terminal, will be required to present a PCR test taken 72 hours prior to their departure time, unless vaccinated or recognized by Israel as recovered.

Furthermore, only ticketed passengers, with a flight in the next four hours will be permitted to enter the terminal.

Please note that these are the current definitions of recovered/vaccinated according to the Israeli guidelines:

1. Vaccinated: You have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognized by the World Health Organization*, and 14 days have passed since your last vaccine. If you are 180 days past your last vaccination, a booster must be taken, and another 14 days need to pass to be considered vaccinated again.

2. Recovered: You have a positive PCR/NAAT Covid test from at least 11 days ago; no more than 190 days must have passed from the date of the PCR. These results must be digitally verifiable, such as in countries that are part of the EUDCC. Other results are not accepted. This means that recovered patients from the United States, Canada and other countries will not be granted entry if they are not fully vaccinated, with the last dose in the last six months.

3. Recovered and Vaccinated: You have a digitally verifiable, positive PCR/NAAT Covid test and at least one vaccination from any time. 

Health Declaration Updated

The Ministry of Health has once again updated the online entry form, which all inbound passengers are required to submit.

At this time, passengers holding student visas, or special entry permit, will receive a  תצהיר כניסה לישראל (Approval to Board Flight) stating that the bearer “May board the plane only if specific criteria are met”. Bring this to check-in, along with your student visa or entry permit, to be able to board. It is important to note that visa holders must still meet vaccination or recovery requirements, and their children aged 1-11 must still have an entry permit to be able to board the plane. Please see here for more information.

Students with GatePass Visas

Many students entered Israel during the Corona lockdown with special student Entry Permits. These permits essentially granted the holder an A2 student visa, valid for several months. Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, these students received a blue slip (gatepass) showing an A2 visa status. Chaim V’Chessed always advises students to obtain full length visa stickers from the Interior Ministry soon after arrival in Israel. However, not all students have done this yet.

This week, Israel’s borders have suddenly been closed to tourists. Students who are abroad, and only hold the blue slip, but did not receive a proper visa sticker in their passports have been stymied when seeking to return to Israel, as they have no actual visa sticker in their passport.

Today, the indefatigable Rabbi Nechemya Malinowitz of the Igud reached understandings with the Israeli Border Control to resolve this issue. Students may contact their yeshivas/seminaries, who will be able to obtain re-entry permits for them. Please note that this only applies to students who left Israel before the new foreigner ban took effect on November 29.