What is the change? Israel has announced amended rules for its Hi-Tech Visa program that was launched in February.

What does the change mean? All applicants for Hi-Tech (HIT) visas must apply for a visa through an Israeli consulate when applying for the HIT visa. In addition, the normal Short Employment Authorization (SEA) visa period of 45 days has been extended to up to 90 days maximum per year for HIT applicants. Hi-Tech SEA (90 days) visa-waived applicants are exempt from visa processing at the consulate prior to entering Israel.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: HIT visas and SEA visas for high-tech employees.
  • Who is affected: Visa-waived nationals working for qualifying high-tech companies who need to work in Israel for more than three months.
  • Impact on processing times: Consular processing of the HIT visas takes approximately 30-45 days, and processing of the 90-day SEA visa takes approximately six days for visa waived nationals.
  • Business impact: Israeli companies that are sponsoring high-tech workers for HIT visas should factor in the additional time for consular visa processing when planning business schedules and start dates.

Background: Israel introduced the Hi-Tech visas in February to attract foreign tech talent. Authorities subsequently clarified the qualifying criteria for Hi-Tech employers.

BAL Analysis: In addition to planning for the longer processing time at consulates, high-tech foreign employees should plan for additional documentation gathering time as consulates may require medical records and police clearances, which can take time to obtain.

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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