Customs Guide for Tourists
GENERAL
A. This guide does not contradict any law or official order.
B. This guide includes general information only. For additional information you may contact the Customs House nearest your place of residence.
C. This guide includes only the conditions and restrictions which are set by the Israel Tax Authority. Information given is not proof of approval for the conditions and restrictions on importation set by other governmental authorities in Israel.
D. You should not rely only on the information in this guide; rather, you should consult the regulations of the law, as they change from time to time.

1. THE OBLIGATION TO REPORT THE TRANSFER OF MONEY INTO OR OUT OF ISRAEL

A. GENERAL

Beginning on February 17, 2002 - reporting the transfer of money into or out of Israel is required by law, as described below: -
The term "Money" refers to cash, bank checks and travelers' checks.

1) The amount of money that must be reported is 90,000 New Israeli Shekels (NIS) or higher (combined sum in reporting person's possession, whether entering or leaving the country).
2) A new immigrant first entering the country must report an amount of
NIS 1,125,000 or higher (combined sum in the reporting person's possession).
B. METHOD OF REPORTING
1) Reporting shall be done on Customs Form 84.
The Form is available at all Customs Houses and Customs Units located at border stations; it may also be downloaded from our website.
In addition the Form will be mailed or faxed to persons contacting the "National Reporting Center" at phone number: 972 2 651 19111.
2) In cases when money is taken into or out of the country as accompanying luggage:
Upon leaving Israel - the passenger should fill out the Form and submit it to a Customs Official at the exit lounge.
In exits where there is no Customs post - the Form will be filled out and submitted to the Customs Official stationed at the entrance into Israel.
Upon entering Israel - where the dual "Red/Green" channel system is used - the passenger should contact a Customs Official stationed at the red channel, fill out the form and submit it to him.
In other entrances - the passenger should fill out the Form and submit it to the Customs Official stationed on site.
Passengers should submit the Form to a Border Control Official at the following Places: Sde-Dov Air Port, Asheklon Marina, Hertzelia marina and Tel-Aviv Marina.
3) In cases when money is taken in or out of Israel by mail or dispatched by any other delivery method:
The Form will be submitted to the Customs Official at the receipt /sending of the delivery/postal site.
If there is no Customs Official on site, the completed Form will be sent by registered mail (with a delivery confirmation) to The National Center for the Prohibition of Money Laundering, as follows:
When money is taken out of Israel - the Form will be sent prior to the time of withdrawing the money from the sender's possession.
When money is taken into Israel - The Form will be sent no later than 72 hours since the time of receiving the shipment.
The Form will be sent to the following address:

The National Center for the Prohibition of Money Laundering,
Israel Tax Authority
P.O.B .320, Jerusalem, Israel 91012
Tel: 972-2-6511911
Fax: 972-2-6536111

E-Mail -moneylaundering@customs.mof.gov.il

2. ENTRANTS FOR WHOM THIS GUIDE IS RELEVANT FOR
a) Those who enter Israel on a B/2 visa (visitor).
b) Those who enter Israel on a decree or permit, and possesses a diplomatic, consular or similar passport.
c) Those who enter Israel on an A/2 visa (student).
d) Those who enter Israel on a type B/1 visa (foreign worker) or A/3 visa (clergy),
or B/4 (volunteer).
3. ITEMS EXEMPTED FROM TAXES - THE GREEN CHANNEL

Your entering the Green Channel is considered to be a declaration that you are only bringing in goods of the kinds and in the quantities as stated below.

GENERAL
At the ports of Haifa and Ashdod, as well as the Ben Gurion Airport and land border crossings, the two channel Red-Green system is used.
After claiming your luggage, you will exit the Arrival Hall via one of two channels marked by either a red or green square.
Before you decide which channel to pass through, please refer to the information poster located at the entrance to the channels. This information should help you decide which channel to pass through.
If you have any doubts in deciding which channel to pass through, you should pass through the Red Channel.

A. THE GREEN CHANNEL - ITEMS AND QUANTITIES ALLOWED

You are entitled to pass through the Green Channel if you are brining in goods of the kinds and quantities stated below:
  1. Clothing, footwear, and personal toiletries - of the type and in quantities that would usually be brought in a person's hand luggage.
  2. Alcohol/spirits and wine - one liter of alcohol/spirits, and 2 liters of wine - for each entrant aged at least 18.
  3. Alcoholic perfumes - up to ¼ liter for each entrant.
  4. All tobacco products - up to 250 grams of tobacco products - for each entrant aged at least 18.
  5. Other items not detailed above may be brought in as long as they are for your own personal use or intended as a gift for another person. The total value of such items may not exceed US$200 - per entrant aged at least two.
    This amount includes up to 3 kg of foodstuffs, which each entrant may bring in, provided that the weight of each kind does not exceed 1 kg.
    (For a list of items which their importation is prohibited or items that their importation is conditioned on an authorization by the competent authority, please refer to paragraphs 9B and 9C of this guide).
    This is an individual exemption which may not be combined with that of another entrant for the purpose of receiving an exemption of an item which its value exceeds US$200.
    If the value of a single imported item exceeds US$200, an exemption will not be given on the difference, and the entrance will charged with payment of taxes on the full value of the item.

B. OTHER USED AND PORTABLE ITEMS WHICH MAY BE BROUGHT THROUGH THE GREEN CHANNEL

Typewriter, Camera, Movie camera, Video camera, Personal computer, Laptop computer, Television receiver, Tape recorder, Radio, Binoculars, Jewelry for personal use, Musical instruments, Record player, Stroller/baby carriage, Tent (only one allowed), Camping equipment, Sporting. Equipment, Bicycle (only one allowed, and non-motorized) and Similar travelers' equipment.

4. THE RED CHANNEL - ITEMS THAT MUST BE DECLARED
If you enter the Red Channel, you must declare all items in your luggage.
You should enter the Red Channel If:
a) You have any doubts as to which channel to pass through.
b) You are bringing in items that are not specified in either of the above mentioned Green Channel lists.
c) You are bringing in items such as: portable work tools, diving equipment, a new video camera, a new video machine, a new personal computer, and similar items.
Note:
  1) If you bring in any of the items mentioned in this section, you must take them out with you when you leave Israel.
  2) When bringing in certain items, you may be requested by a Customs Official to deposit a guarantee equal to the tax that would be due on those items. The guarantee will be returned to you only when you take out those items when you leave the country.
5. PAYMENT OF TAXES, AND/OR DEPOSITING GUARANTEES

A. PAYMENT OF TAXES AND DEPOSITING A GUARANTEE
The Israel Tax Authority assesses the value of imported items based on price lists that they have. These lists determine the value of the items. However, if you possess an invoice in which the value on an item is lower than the one on the price list by no more than 20%, the price on the invoice will be the one used for the purpose of tax calculation, and not the price list.
If you have brought in items which are not exempted from taxes, you must pay the taxes due before they are released from Customs.
If you bring in: a new personal computer, a new VCR, a new video camera, or other similar items, you must leave a guarantee equal to the taxes due on the item. The guarantee must be made in foreign currency, using cash or one of the following credit cards: Visa; EuroCard; American Express; and Diners'Club.

B. THE GUARANTEE - RETURNING OR FORFEITING

The guarantee will be returned to you if you take out the items on time; otherwise the guarantee will be forfeited.
It is recommended that you insure all of your belongings at their full value, including taxes. This will ensure that the taxes will be covered if you are unable to meet your obligation to take out these items.

6. VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS WHO PURCHASED GOODS IN ISRAEL
(This Paragraph will only apply to entrants according to a B/2, B/3 and B/4 Visa, or according to an order or permit).
Israeli law allows for a special arrangement whereby tourists who do not have Israeli citizenship or an Israeli passport may receive a refund on the VAT they have paid for certain purchases made in Israel.

A) The refund will only be received in the following cases:

  1. Your purchase is made at a shop authorized by the Israel Tax Authority and the Ministry of Tourism to participate in the refunding arrangement (a sticker noting the shop's participation should be placed on the door or window of the shop), and you receive a special VAT invoice ("Refund Invoice").
  2. The price of the purchase including VAT (per tax invoice) exceeds 400 Shekels.
  3. The goods that have been purchased as stated above, must be taken out of the country.
  4. The goods purchased are intended for your personal use only and are in non-commercial quantities.
  5. The goods purchased do not include: food, drink, or tobacco products (VAT will not be refunded for those goods).
  6. The shopkeeper should place the goods together with the special VAT refund invoice in a sealed and transparent nylon bag.
    You must make sure that the required details are filled out accurately on the refund invoice.
    You must make sure that the goods and the refund invoice are placed in the bag prior to it being sealed.
    The bag must not be opened until it is presented for VAT refund.
  7. When departing from Israel, you must go to the VAT refund counter of Change Place Ltd. and present the sealed bag (which contains the goods and the refund invoice) as well as the tax invoice - in order to receive the VAT refund.
  8. If you are departing from the Ben Gurion International Airport, and you wish to receive a VAT refund on items to be checked with your luggage, you may go to the VAT refund counter of Change Place Ltd. prior to the security check.
    Here you must present your flight ticket and your passport, as well as the sealed bag that contains the original special VAT invoice and all goods as stated above, in order to receive the VAT refund.
    You will receive the VAT refund only after you pass through passport control.
  9. If you wish to receive the VAT refund you should request the refund in Israel, prior to your departure.
    Refunds will not be sent for requests from abroad.

B) The following is a list of those border crossings where you may receive a VAT refund:

  1. Ben Gurion Airport.
  2. Eilat Airport.
  3. Ovda Airport.
  4. Ashdod Seaport.
  5. Eilat Seaport.
  6. Haifa Seaport.
  7. The following land-border crossings:

C) VAT* Refunds and Commission Rates -

Amount of Purchase including VAT(in US$) Amount of VAT in purchase(in US$) Commission Rate (%)
100 - 150 20.13 – 13.42 15
151 - 250 33.55 – 20.26 13.5
251 - 550 73.81 – 33.68 10.5
551 - 1,000 134.20 – 73.94 8.1
1,001 - 2,000 268.40 – 134.33 7.2
2,001 - 4,000 536.80 – 268.53 6.3
4,001 - 7,000 939.39 – 536.93 5.4
Over 7,001 Over 939.53 4.8

* Data is based on VAT at a rate of 15.5%.

D) For additional information contact Change Place Ltd. at:
Telephone: 972-3-973-0348/9.
Fax: 972-3-973-0350.
Web address: www.cpl.co.il.

Change Place Ltd. is a private company which charges a commission for its service. In any case of doubt with regard to entitlement to a refund, Change Place Ltd. will be the only authority, in accordance with the instructions of the Israel Tax Authority. All complaints concerning VAT refunds should be made directly to Change Place Ltd

7. VAT (ZERO RATE) FOR TOURIST SERVICES IN ISRAEL
(This Paragraph will only apply to entrants entering according to B/2, B/3, B/4 visa or according to a special order or permit, such as diplomatic).

GENERAL
According to the VAT Law, VAT (zero rated) applies on a range of services given to tourists.
Article 30(a)(8) of the Value Added Tax Law 5736-1975 and Regulations 12(a), 12A(c) and 12B of the 1976 (5736) Value Added Tax Regulations, sets a zero tax rate on certain tourist services given to a tourist in Israel. In other words, a tourist is not obliged to pay VAT on such services as detailed above.

A. SERVICES WHICH ARE APPLIED WITH ZERO TAX RATE

The following are examples of services given to a tourist during a stay in Israel which are applied with zero tax rate:

  1. Overnight accommodations in a hotel, including the following additional services, given in the hotel in which the tourist stays overnight.
    The following are the additional services:
  2. Rental of a vehicle for personal use;
  3. Sightseeing transportation, either in a private motor vehicle or bus (only if licensed for such purpose);
  4. Meals supplied by a bus/cruise company;
  5. Water cruise - from one place to another within Israel;
  6. Fights - from one place to another in Israel;
  7. Hospitalization (only at hospitals registered in accordance with the 1940 National Health Ordinance);
  8. Selling a tourist the right to participate in an international conference in which there is a minimum of 50 tourist participants;
  9. Granting a foreign resident the right to use areas in an exhibition; and related services given to him by the person giving the right.

Note: Any service which the tourist receives which does not fall under the category of the services listed above, will be charged the full tax rate of VAT (currently 15.5%).

B. CONDITIONS FOR APPLYING ZERO VAT RATE

The zero tax rate will only apply (on the services mentioned in Paragraph A. above),
when the following conditions are met:

  1. The service is given to a tourist staying in Israel according to a visa and visitation permit B/2, B/3, B/4, or to a person entering Israel according to a special order or permit (such as diplomats or representatives).
  2. The dealer (service provider) possesses an agreement or other written document including the details of the transaction (an order, for example);
  3. The dealer possesses a record of the tourist's name, permanent address and passport number;
  4. The invoice that was issued, details the type of service given to the
    tourist;
  5. As regards sightseeing transportation or rental of a private vehicle to a tourist, the invoice issued will include the vehicle license registration number and the name of the driver.
  6. As regards the supplying of meals during a bus sightseeing tour, the license registration number of the bus and the name of the company supplying the meal to the bus touring company will be specified on the invoice issued to the transporter.
  7. The price of the service given, method of payment and currency in which it was paid for, are recorded for in the dealer's invoice book.
VEHICLE MOTOR 8.

You may import or purchase a vehicle in Israel, without payment of taxes, when you enter Israel or within 3 months since your date of entry.

A. IMPORTATION/PURCHASE OF A VEHICLE - BY TOURISTS NOT HOLDING A/2 OR A/3 VISAS, OR A PRESS CARD

1) Importation of a Vehicle
  a) A vehicle may be imported without payment of taxes or depositing of a guarantee for a period of 6 months or for the length of time that your visa is valid for, whichever comes first.
  b) In certain cases, at the time of importation, the Customs Collector may request that you deposit a bank guarantee equal to the taxes that would be due on the vehicle, which will be held until you export the vehicle or pay the taxes due.
2) Purchasing a Vehicle
In order to purchase a vehicle in Israel without paying taxes you must deposit a bank guarantee - equal to the taxes that would be due on the vehicle, when the vehicle is released from a licensed warehouse.
Approval to keep the vehicle in Israel will be given for a period of 6 months - or for the length of time that your visa is valid for, whichever comes first.
3) Approval of the Extension Period of Stay of the
Vehicle in Israel
At the end of the 6 month period since the vehicle was released (by importation or purchasing), you must export the vehicle, or request an extension for an additional 6 months in accordance to the time allowed on your visa.
If the extension is approved, you will be requested to deposit a bank guarantee equal to the taxes due.
4) Exporting the Vehicle from Israel
At the end of one year since the vehicle was released (by importation or purchasing), you must export the vehicle, or pay the taxes due (if the conditions of Paragraph E are met).


B. IMPORTATION OR PURCHASE OF A VEHICLE IN ISRAEL - BY TOURISTS HOLDING A/2 (STUDENT) OR A/3 (CLERGY) VISAS, OR A PRESS CARD ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE
The vehicle will be released after depositing a bank guarantee, or after presenting a written commitment as detailed below:

1) Tourist Holding an A/2 Visa (Student) -
You should present a written commitment from the institution where you are studying, guaranteeing that if you do not export the vehicle at the conclusion of your studies or if the taxes are not paid - the institution will accept responsibility for payment of the taxes.
In certain cases, a bank guarantee may be requested, at the discretion of the Director, to ensure the payment of the importation taxes.
2) Tourist Holding an A/3 Visa (Clergy) -
You should present a written commitment from the religious institution where you are serving, guaranteeing that if you do not export the vehicle at the conclusion of your service or if the taxes are not paid, then the religious institution will accept responsibility for payment of the taxes.
3) Tourist (Foreign Journalist or Foreign Cameraperson) Holding a Press CardIssued by the Government Press Office -
You should present a written commitment from your employer (if he is an Israeli employer), guaranteeing that if you do not export the vehicle at the conclusion of your employment or if the taxes are not paid, then he will accept responsibility for payment of the taxes.

C. VEHICLES RELEASED PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1, 1999
  1. If you released a vehicle using tourists' rights prior to September 1st 1999, and have paid the customs duties (if applied) and the VAT, and the vehicle is still being driven with foreign license plates, please contact your nearest Customs House as soon as possible in order to receive a referral to the licensing office. At the Licensing Department, an annual test must be performed on the vehicle. In addition, you must receive an Israeli license (on which "restricted transfer of ownership" will be stated), and receive Israeli license plates. After these have been done, you should return to the same Customs House to prove that you have done so.
    Until you have proven the above stated, you must deposit a bank guarantee at the Customs House, at the amount equal to the taxes due on the vehicle.
  2. You must pay the remainder of the taxes due when you transfer ownership of the vehicle.


D. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR IMPORTATION AND PURCHASE OF A VEHICLE, AND EXTENSIONS

If you wish to import or purchase a vehicle in Israel without payment of taxes, or if you wish to extend the period that your vehicle may stay in the country beyond 6 months, you should contact the appropriate customs collector and submit the following documents:

  1. A valid driver's license in your name.
  2. Valid vehicle registration - either in your name or your spouses name.
  3. License plates (from the country of origin) for the imported vehicle.
  4. Valid vehicle insurance certificate.
  5. Valid entrance visa.
  6. Valid passport.
  7. Valid Press Card from the Government Press Bureau for a tourist who is journalist.
  8. Reasoned request for extension (if applicable).

E. PAYMENT OF TAXES

a) The conditions for payment of the taxes due on the vehicle are as follows:
  1) The year of manufacture of the vehicle is the current year or one of the 4 previous years.
  2) The information stated above in sub-paragraph 1 does not apply to a vehicle with Israeli registration and license plates.
  3) The vehicle is of a type and model approved for road use by the Ministry of Transportation.
b) Removal of Restriction -
Upon full payment of all taxes due, restrictions on the vehicle will be removed, and then you may sell the vehicle.

F. LEAVING THE VEHICLE IN ISRAEL DURING THE PERIOD OF EXEMPTION

If you wish to leave Israel but are planning to return to Israel prior to the end of the vehicle's exemption period, you may leave your vehicle in Israel, under the condition that you submit written notification to the Customs Collector closest to your place of residence as to the location of the vehicle.
The exemption period, in any case, will continue to be calculated since the date the vehicle was released from Customs.

G. EXPORTING THE VEHICLE FROM ISRAEL

Near the end of the exemption period approved to you for the vehicle, or at the end of your stay - prior to the end of the exemption period, you should store the vehicle at the port of exportation, otherwise the Customs Authorities may seize the vehicle.
You may not transfer a vehicle from one passport to another (from tourist to tourist).

H. AN ADDITIONAL EXEMPTION

As a rule, an exemption for a vehicle is granted only once and close to the time of entry into Israel. There are however cases in which a second exemption may be granted, as detailed below:

Case Description
Conditions
1. You exported a vehicle before the end of the exemption period, and re-entered with that vehicle before the end of the period - You are entitled to a tax exemption for the remainder of the exemption period approved to you the first time you imported the vehicle.
2. You exported the vehicle prior to the end of the exemption period, but re-entered with another vehicle after the completion of the exemption period - You are entitled to a tax exemption only if 3 months have passed since you exported the first vehicle, and only if you have been residing outside of Israel during this period.
3. You paid all the taxes due on the previous vehicle and re-entered with another vehicle - You will be entitled to an exemption after you have been outside of Israel for a period of at least 3 months.
4. You are a tourist holding a visa A/3 (clergy), who request to import/purchase another vehicle - The first vehicle was personally used for a period of at least 3 years; or for a shorter period, according the authorization of the Director (in special circumstances).
5. You are a tourist holding a journalist/foreign journalist press card or a foreign cameraperson from the Government Press Office, who wish to import/purchase another vehicle - The first vehicle was personally used for a period of at least a year.
Please Note:
The above stated in paragraphs 4 and 5, will only apply after payment of taxes due on the first vehicle, or after the vehicle is exported.
 
6. The vehicle has been stolen, burnt or damaged, and you wish to import/purchase another vehicle - The full payment of taxes due on the vehicle has been paid from the insurance you received.

9. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A. GENERAL

  1. All your belongings, including your vehicle, should be insured at their full value (including all applicable taxes).
  2. There are no exemptions on items arriving via parcel post.
  3. If you bring items that are not exempted from taxes (as detailed in this guide) and you do not pass through the Red Channel, you may be requested to pay double-rate taxation.
  4. A Customs Collector may request a guarantee (in cash or other forms), at his discretion, to ensure compliance with the conditions of an exemption.
  5. Belongings, including a vehicle, that are released from customs with rights to a tax exemption, must be for your own personal use.
  6. The exportation of goods (such as citron fruit, "Etrog", antiques etc.), are subject to the legality of exportation laws.
  7. If you intend to change your status, contact the Customs House prior to the change, in order that you may know in advance, how this change will affect your rights in your new status.

B. ITEMS WHICH THEIR IMPORTATION IS CONDITIONED ON AN AUTHORIZATION BY A COMPETENT AUTHORITY
There are many goods, which their importation is conditioned on meeting the criteria set from time to time by the competent authorities.

For Example:
Mobile Telephone - Ministry of Communication.
Motorized Scooter - Ministry of Transportation.
Sometimes a specialized authorization/license will be required.
Before importation, it is recommended to check with the relevant competent authority the valid criteria, and if an authorization/import license is required.

C. ITEMS WHICH THEIR IMPORTATION IS PROHIBITED

The following is a list of examples of items, that their importation is strictly prohibited:

  1. Offensive or indecent goods.
  2. Forged and counterfeit currency & documents.
  3. Tickets and advertising materials for lotteries and gambling, for which no
    permit was given for their making.
  4. Forged or counterfeit selling invoice forms, preference documents, or
    certificates of origin.
  5. Used sacks that were used for packing plant material.
  6. Knives, excluding pocket knives and knives intended for use in a profession, trade, business, for household purposes, or for any similar purposes.
  7. Laser speedometer disruptor.
  8. Pen like or gun like shooting devices, or gas operated, and the like.
  9. Tear gas container in the shape of a shooting device.
  10. Prohibited games.
  11. Explosives and flammable materials, live creatures such as poisonous snakes, and other such dangerous goods.
  12. Used equipment for bee keepers.
  13. Goods which are used in the preparation or use of dangerous drugs.
  14. Goods used for incitement to violence, terrorism or racism.
  15. Goods, which contain identification signs with terrorist groups or sympathy towards them.
D. RECEIVING FURTHER INFORMATION
For further information in Israel, contact the Customs House closest to your place of residence.
For information from abroad, please contact the following Customs Houses in writing:

Requests from the United States - Haifa Customs House.
Requests from the Europe - Ashdod Customs House.
All other Requests - Center Customs House.
Questions regarding carry-on luggage (such as cameras) - Ben Gurion Air Port Customs House, Lod.
In addition, you may contact by e-mail the following address:yishi@customs.mof.gov.il .

E. LIST OF CUSTOMS & VAT OFFICES
(that have a Personal Importation Unit on Site)

City Office address Telephone,
Personal Import
Ashdod Customs House, 2 Ha'orgim St.
(Forum Building), POB 241, 77102
972 8 8510501
Beer-Sheva Customs and VAT Office,
31 Sderot Shazar, 84212
972 8 6293348
Eilat Customs and VAT House, Eilat Port,
POB 131, 88101
972 8 6383834
Haifa Customs House, 3 Sha'ar Ha'namal,
POB 245, 31002
972 4 8354861
Tel Aviv-Yaffo Center Customs House,
3A Israel Galili St. P.O. Box 4242
Rishon Letzion 75142
972 39421666
Jerusalem Customs and VAT House, 66 Kanfe Nesharim St., POB 34014, 91340 972 2 6545607
Lod Customs House, Mamaan Bldg.,
Ben Gurion Airport, POB 9, 70100
972 3 9751220/1

Link to Ministry of Tourism Web Site - www.goisrael.com

Revised 19.12.2010
Copyright © 2010, The State of Israel. All Rights Reserved. (Terms of Use)