Israel launches ETA system for visa-exempt countries

May 29, 2024 - 11:08 AM
Travelers exit the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic testing area at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel November 28, 2021. (Reuters/Amir Cohen/File Photo)

 Israel said on Tuesday it was moving to an electronic travel authorization system for visitors from visa-exempt countries starting in August, joining Britain, the United States, Canada and other countries that have such systems.

Visitors from non-visa countries will need the ETA to stay for up to 90 days in Israel having previously been able to visit the country without it. Entry will continue to be determined by a border control officer, it said, as in other countries with a similar system.

The government says the new system will help keep track of tourists to maintain security.

A pilot program for the ETA-IL system will start on June 1 for holders of U.S. and German passports and it will be open to visitors from other visa-exempt countries on July 1.

The ETA-IL will become mandatory from Aug. 1 “and visitors will not be able to board a plane to Israel without it”, the Population and Immigration Authority said in a statement.

It will cost 25 shekels ($6.80) and stay valid for up to 2 years, or until the current passport expires.

Obtaining a new passport or a name or gender change would require an application for a new travel authorization.

Visitors from non-eligible countries still need a visa at an Israeli consulate prior to their travel, and do not need to obtain an ETA-IL.

($1 = 3.6702 shekels)

—Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa