What is the change? Israel has reintroduced its 30-day Short Employment Authorization (SEA) program after it was temporarily suspended in December.

What does the change mean? Qualifying foreign nationals can apply for a 30-day work-authorization, a process which is much faster than applying for Israel’s 90-day Short Term Expedited Process (STEP) program.

  • Implementation timeframe: A trial period will run from now until June 30, 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: SEA work permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers who need foreign nationals to work in Israel for 30 days or less.
  • Impact on processing times: The 30-day SEA work permits are processed significantly faster than the 90-day STEP work permits, which employers were forced to rely on while the SEA program was suspended. Officials expect SEA permits will take a few working days to process, while STEP permits take one to two months.
  • Business impact: SEA work permits provide a flexible option for short-term work assignments in Israel.
  • Next Steps: Foreign nationals can apply for SEA permits from now until June 30. Applicants do not need to visit an Israeli consulate before travel, but are required to apply for a B-1 work visa at the Ministry of Interior within two working days of arriving in Israel.

Background: Israel suspended the SEA program in December pending completion of formal regulations. The Ministry of Interior released regulations and announced that a new trial period would run from Jan. 26 until June 30.

The SEA program allows work activity in Israel for up to 30 days in a 12-month period. A separate application must be submitted before each entry. Applications must include personal documentation, travel information, a company affidavit, and power of attorney. In some cases, the company affidavit and power of attorney will need to be authenticated.

Nationals of countries that are not visa-waived, including China, India and Turkey, are not eligible for the SEA program and must obtain visitor visas at the Israeli consulate before traveling to Israel.

BAL Analysis: The reintroduction of the SEA program provides an option for employers who need to move foreign nationals into Israel for urgent or short-term assignments. The program allows for more flexibility in business planning.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Israel. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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