Israel – General Information

Full Name – The State of Israel

Area – 20,770 KM2 

Capital – Jerusalem

Government – Parliamentary Republic.

Population – 8,400,000

Language – Hebrew & Arabic

Religious – Jewish (75%) Muslims (20%) Christians (5%)

Currency – NIS (New Israeli Shekel (1$ = 3.8NIS) 

Time Zone – GMT + 2

Entry Visa to Israel

International travelers who come to Israel, including for tourism, business, medical treatment need an entry visa. The type of visa needed is defined by the Israeli immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of the traveler. Please, note, a visa does not guarantee entry into Israel.

Enclosed please find a link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, in this website you can find details about which countries visa is necessary to enter Israel. Please note that tourists should look in to the column of Nationals.

Passport Control

Upon arrival to Israel, visitors will be requested to present a valid passport for at least six months from the date of their arrival.

Arrival by Air or Land Crossings – Incoming visitors should continue to the passenger luggage area after their passports have been checked on the passport control area. Carts to carry the luggage are at their disposal. From there, they should continue to customs control and to the exit.

Important note for tourists continuing from Israel to Arab countries or one who use to visit in Arab countries: Tourist can ask (… and it recommended) that an Israeli stamp does not appear on your passport. Tourist must notify the clerk of this request when handing out your documents to the clerk and before it is stamped.

As of July 3, 2008, an official decision has been made that stamp is no longer require on foreign passports. In this case, tourist must fill out form 17L including all his personal details, and that form will be stamped by passport control clerk on entry/exit. Please be noted that the form 17L will not be collected upon exit as it is necessary for the collection of tax refunds and proof of legal entry.

Custom Regulations

There is a two-lane customs transit system, green and red, at Ben Gurion Airport and same in all other land crossing terminals. Visitors who do not have goods to declare may go through the green lane at the exit from the passenger arrival halls.

Articles that do not need to declared:

  • Personal clothing, shoes and cosmetics – in quantities that can usually carried in the traveler’s hand baggage.
  • Alcoholic beverages – up to 1L for hard liquor and up to 2L for wine, per person above 17 years old.
  • Tobacco of all types – up to 250 grams per person above 17 years old.
  • Presents and other commodities – items other than alcoholic beverages, alcoholic perfumes, tobacco,  and television sets, costing up to $200, as determined by the custom clerk at the entrance terminal, according  to lists in his possession.
  • Food – up to a total weight of 3Kg, with a condition that the weight of each type of food does not exceed 1Kg.
  • Additional items such as cameras, binoculars, personal jewelry, musical instruments, camping and/or sports equipment, bicycle and other like articles.

Visitors with goods for which a deposit must be paid for them, the deposit will be refund to them upon departure Israel must go through the red lane. Visitors with items not appearing in the list of duty free items or in the list of taxable items must also go through the red lane and declare them. In case of doubt, the tax authorities recommend going through the red lane. Failure to declare taxable items represents an offense, for which the traveler must pay an administrative fine, be prosecuted or have the goods confiscated.

It is forbidden to import the following items into Israel without a license issued in advance: plants, firearms, raw meat, raw materials, counterfeit currency or documents, knife or penknife not intended for professional use, etc.


The power supply in Israel is single phase 220 volts at 50 Hertz. Most power sockets in Israel have three pin holes, but many of them will work with double-pin European plugs. Visitors who want to use shavers, traveling irons and other small appliances may need both transformers and adapter plugs.

What to Bring

Israel is a modern, developed country, and you can purchase virtually anything you need during your stay, including clothing, cosmetics, and hygiene products.

If you are visiting Israel during the summer you will need lightweight clothing – short-sleeved and sleeveless shirts, shorts, sandals, beach shoes and a bathing suit.  It’s also a good idea to pack a sweater or jacket, since nights in the mountains and the desert can be cool.

If you are visiting Israel in the winter, you will need warm clothing, a coat (preferably a raincoat as well), good shoes, an umbrella, gloves, a scarf and other warm clothing.  Weather in Israel is not cold as it is in Europe, but days can be rainy and cold.

It’s a good idea to bring a small bag for day trips.  If you are traveling to Eilat or the Dead Sea, it’s a good idea to bring a bathing suit, since it is warm enough to swim there even in the winter.

Sunscreen, a sun hat, and sunglasses are essential items throughout the year.

If you are planning on hiking, you will need good shoes and a lot of water, either in a canteen or in several bottles. You will need a sleeping bag, tent, and camping equipment only if you are planning on sleeping outdoors.  Most youth hostels supply sheets and blankets.