As of October 19, 2023, Israeli Citizens and Nationals are now eligible for visa-free travel to the United States through the use of an Israeli Visa Waiver. In expedited response to the October 7th attack on Israel by Hamas and ongoing war, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is now live, over a month ahead of scheduled rollout.
The ESTA application can be accessed at the following link: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/
as well as by downloading the “ESTA Mobile” app on your mobile device.
As a national security response, Israel stopped processing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas last week, instructing applicants to try expediting emergency travel requests through other countries. But now the direct option to leave if necessary is available and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security promises expedited processing—as quickly as within 72 hours of travel plans.
This Israeli Visa Waiver Program allows for tourism and business travel, but is limited to 90 days. For those seeking longer stay in the U.S., obtaining a visa remains a better option as extension of stay or change of status is not currently possible if entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.
Israel’s Visa Waiver potential eligibility was first announced in May of 2023. The visa-free program is based on reciprocity, securing entry of U.S. citizens and nationals into countries without considering national origin, religion, or ethnicity. Israel secured its entry into the program over the summer as U.S. travelers were welcomed under this new requirement.
Flights out of the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel were somewhat limited in the last week as the U.S. focused on assisting U.S. nationals return home, and so we encourage you and your family to plan any necessary U.S. travel as soon as possible.
We will continue to monitor the travel options. Please contact us or reach out to us at email@example.com if you or your family members need additional information or assistance with the ESTA application.