COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Update - January 2022

By Sarah Mann | Published on 10/27/2021
It’s official - Israel is opening up again!  And aren’t we all thrilled.  After over 18 months of the country being closed to tourists, everyone’s ready to fling open the doors of their hotels, restaurants, and bucket-list Israel attractions for you.

 Ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses

 Ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Latest UPD as of 21 February 2022

Please check the latest guidelines of the Israel Ministry of Health here

Opening of borders from 9, January 2022

There’s going to be a transition period for us all, as the COVID-19 travel restrictions are updated and - quite possibly - modified as the weeks go on. The rules have been changing endlessly in the last months and we know how frustrating that is and how confusing too. That’s why we’ve decided to dedicate this article to giving you as much information as we can about the changing travel situation in Israel

This article will give you tips and pointers as to what to expect, once you book a trip. Whether you’re coming as an independent traveler or as part of an organized tour in Israel, it’s good to be able to stay up-to-date with rules and regulations, so you don’t waste time, energy, or money before you get here, and once you’ve arrived. Here is a list of the health conditions that you will need to meet/prove, before flying:

Coronavirus map

Coronavirus map. Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash
If You Are Fully Vaccinated?

That means you must arrive in Israel either having had two vaccines OR a booster shot (depending on when you were given them). For more information feel free to check the Israel Ministry of Health website

1. You must have had a booster shot of the vaccine (at least 14 days before your arrival date to Israel)

2. You must have had two shots of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, the Serum Institute of India (Covishield) vaccines (no less than 14 days before you arrive in Israel but not more than 180 days at the time of leaving Israel. The day of vaccination does not count).

3. You must have had at least one shot of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine at least 14 days before the date of your arrival but not more than 180 days at the time of leaving Israel. The day of vaccination does not count).

4. Effective 15.11.2021, you must have had two shots of the Sputnik V vaccine subject to the following restrictions: Those vaccinated with the Sputnik-V will have to stay in isolation until testing positive in the serological test and negative in the PCR test that they took after landing. If negative results to the PCR test have not been received within 24 hours from the time of arrival in Israel, their isolation shall continue until receiving positive test results in the serological test.

Please check the Ben Gurion Airport website for up-to-date instructions on entry to Israel.
Please refer to the Israel Ministry of Tourism website for the most up-to-date information.

A laboratory worker takes a swab test

A laboratory worker takes a swab test. Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

If You Have Recovered From COVID-19?

If you have had the COVID-virus and are now recovered you should be able to present a certificate of recovery that can be digitally verified in the Ministry of Health's system, based on a test result on a NAAT test (a molecular test similar to PCR) which needs to be taken at least 11 days before you enter Israel.

 Red Teddy bear in a protective medical mask

 Red Teddy Bear in a protective medical mask. Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

When do I need to take COVID-19 tests?

1. Passengers entering Israel are required to present a negative result of an antigen test, made during the 24 hours preceding the takeoff/entry into Israel, or the result of a negative PCR test made during the 72 hours preceding the takeoff/entry into Israel.

For the avoidance of doubt, the antigen tests must be administered by professional samplers (not a home test) and passengers are required to present a certificate in English indicating an official negative result.

You will not be able to fly without proof of the COVID-19 test. You will also need to fill out an Entry Declaration Form up to 24 hours before flying, which can easily be completed online, via laptop, or mobile phone.

2. Once you land at Ben Gurion airport, you must take a PCR test in the airport itself. You will not be allowed to leave the airport until you have shown proof of having taken this test. Once you leave the airport, you must go straight to your hotel (or the place you are staying) and remain there until you receive a negative test result from the Ministry of Health. This can take up to 24 hours, although many test results are received 6-8 hours later. You must remain in isolation until you have received a negative result.

3. No more than 3 days (72 hours) before you depart Israel. As well as taking a PCR test, you must also complete an exit declaration (which you can do, as above, online) up to 24 hours before your flight departs. Attention, upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, you must present a printed copy of your covid-19 test results!

A laboratory expert takes a COVID-19 swab test

A laboratory expert takes a COVID-19 swab test. Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

How Should I Travel From the Airport to My Accommodation?

Since you need to avoid contact with the general public between taking your COVID test on arrival at the airport in Israel and waiting for your negative test result, you need to keep your distance from others as much as possible. The best way, therefore, to travel from the airport to your destination is either by private taxi or private transfer. 

Registered and regulated taxis are available at Ben Gurion Airport Terminal 3 at the arrivals terminal, outside the main door, and prices are set in advance by the government - feel free to enquire at the airport information desk for more information.

Alternatively, you can consider booking a private airport transfer through a trustworthy tour operator in Israel such as ourselves.  Once you have agreed upon a price with the company, and paid by credit card, you’ll have nothing else to worry about and a driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals terminal.  For more information, feel free to contact us by mail or telephone.

At Ben Harim, we will be glad to advise you with all of your travel needs, including helping you book any of our regular day tours or private tours. Whether you’re spending time in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or wanting to explore further afield, in the Galilee, the Negev desert, or Eilat, we’re happy to help in any way we can.

Obviously, because of the ongoing situation, we will be operating a more flexible cancellation policy in the event that you are unable to attend a day tour you have booked. Your health and wellbeing will always come first in our eyes, rest assured of this. We can’t wait to see you again and, in advance, welcome to Israel!

View of the Temple Mount, Israel

View of the Temple Mount, Israel. Photo credit: © Shutterstock