Last updated: September 8, 2019 Who May Acquire an A1 Visa?
To be eligible for an A/1 visa, one must be Jewish (i.e. eligible under the Law of Return). A student, clergyman, Israeli citizen or the child of an Israeli citizen cannot receive an A1 visa. How Long is an A1 Visa Valid?
An A/1 visa is valid for 3 years. It may be extended an additional two times for one year each, after which the visa holder may either make Aliyah or become a permanent resident (toshav keva
), if applicable. What is a Toshav Arai Eligible For?
An A/1 visa holder, or toshav arai
(temporary resident), may register with Bituach Leumi after spending 183 days in Israel on his/her visa. He/she is legally permitted to work and is not required to serve in the army. A toshav arai
also receives a teudat zehut
booklet (in a different color than that of Israeli citizens), along with a teudat zehut
number. Application for an A1 (Toshav Arai) Visa
In order to apply for an A1 visa, you must appear in person at the Misrad Hapnim nearest you (unless you go through the Global Center; see 1. below). Make sure the branch you use deals with visas for foreigners. In most branches, an advance appointment is required. You may need to first visit the office to schedule the appointment, then return to submit your application. Be sure to check your branch’s visa hours and appointment requirements (below).
Residents of Jerusalem previously avoided the requirement for a criminal background check by applying for the visa through Global Center
, an English-speaking branch of the Jewish Agency, who may be reached at 02-636-7701. The Global Center has recently not been offering this shortcut, but it is still advisable to contact them for assistance with the process.
You will need the following documents
- Criminal background check from your place of origin, with an apostille
- Birth certificate with parents’ names, with an apostille
- Marriage license, if applicable. The spouse of an Israeli citizen must have this document apostilled or obtain a maaseh beit din. Contact Chaim V’Chessed for further information.
- Your foreign passport and a copy of your passport. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of the visa requested.
- Three current passport pictures
- An original letter from a rabbi in the community you grew up in validating that you are Jewish from birth. The letter must be written on official stationary with a logo and must be from a recognized rabbi of a congregation or institution located in chutz la’aretz. The letter must include your passport number and birthday, and your parents’ names and birthdays.
- A letter written and signed by the applicant that says that he/she would like to live in Israel for the next 3 years.
- Completed form of visa extension, available online, at Misrad Hapnim or through Chaim V’Chessed
All documents should be original. Documents that are not in English or Hebrew should be presented along with a translation.
After submitting your documents, you will need to schedule an appointment approximately 4-6 weeks from your first appointment to return to Misrad Hapnim and pick up your visa and teudat zehut
. Children of toshvei arai may or may not automatically acquire Israeli citizenship when born in Israel, as per the discretion of Misrad Hapnim. In most cases, children born in Israel to parents who have a teudat zehut will become Israeli at birth. Renewing a Toshav Arai Visa
To renew a toshav aria
visa, schedule an appointment in Misrad Hapnim
for the renewal of a teudat zehut
. Come with your teudat zehut
; passport with visa; proof of residency, i.e. gas, water, and electric bills; kupat cholim
card; and personal status documents, i.e. birth and marriage certificates.
Your visa may be renewed twice for one additional year each time.
Misrad Hapnim Office Information in Jerusalem Contact Chaim V’Chessed for offices outside Jerusalem.
Phone: *3450 (02-629-0222) • www.piba.gov.il
for a full listing of branches throughout the country.
Jerusalem Main Office
Shlomtzion HaMalka 1 (off Rechov Yaffo)
Morning hours: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8:00 am–12:00 pm (closed Wednesday mornings)
Afternoon hours: Monday and Wednesday 2:30 pm–5:00 pmVisa hours: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8:00 am-9:00 am, no appointments required
The visa department is closed in the afternoon, but you can obtain a birth certificate, Israeli passport, a daf knisot v’yetziyot
and other services unrelated to visas.