What is the change? The Ministry of Interior has clarified that foreign companies, including branch offices of foreign companies in Israel, cannot qualify for Hi-Tech, or HIT, visas for their employees.

What does the change mean? Only Israeli-registered high tech companies can apply for and obtain HIT visas. Companies that are incorporated abroad cannot apply for HIT visas. HIT visas are generally processed within six days and are available to visa-waived nationals working for an eligible company.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: B-1 visas for high-tech workers (HIT visas).
  • Who is affected: Foreign-owned companies in Israel, including local branch offices of foreign companies.
  • Impact on processing times: Companies that cannot apply for HIT visas should plan for longer processing times.

Background: Earlier this year, Israel began issuing HIT visas, aiming to provide new immigration incentives for high-tech companies bringing foreign experts to Israel. The visas are valid for one year and extendable for an additional five years and three months. In February, the government announced criteria it applies to determine if a company qualifies for HIT visas. The ministry released guidelines last week that make it clear that only Israeli-registered companies can apply for HIT visas for their employees.

BAL Analysis: The clarification places an additional limit on who can apply for HIT visas for their employees. Companies that are not sure if they qualify can request a pre-ruling from the Israeli authorities. BAL and its network provider in Israel can assist in this process.

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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