Israel Introduces Changes to Visa process for Hi-Tech Employees and their Spouses

The Israeli Ministry of Interior created a new expedited application process for foreign nationals working for Israeli registered companies operating in certain technology fields. To qualify as “Hi-Tech,” companies must be registered in Israel and have received at least one of the following from the Innovation Authorities within 3 years prior to the visa application:

  • Monetary assistance,
  • Tax exemption, or,
  • Approval for public listing on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange as a Research and Development Company.If the company does not meet the above criteria, the Innovation Authority may still allow eligibility if the company focuses on certain research & development, manufacturing or computer programming related fields/industries.

Changes include expedited processing for the new B-1 Hi-Tech Visa (HIT Visa), employment authorization for spouses (EAS Visa), and employment of Israeli academic institution graduates.

Highlights of the 1-year HIT Visa

  • One year initial validity with extensions available for up to five years and three months.
  • Can only be utilized by foreign workers in a visa waiver program.
  • Workers apply via an online application.
  • Processing times are about 6 days and the B-1 work visa must be processed in the passport within 2 work days of the employee’s entry to Israel at the Ministry of Interior.
  • Prevailing wage requirement will continue to be twice the average Israeli salary, estimated at approximately NIS 19,604 / month.Highlights of Employment Authorization for Spouse (EAS B-1)
  • The new process is applicable to spouses of HIT visa applicants who anticipate working in Israel for over 90 days.
  • The High Tech Company can request the employment authorization for the spouse, which will allow the spouse to work for any employer in Israel.
  • No prevailing wage requirement.
  • Visa application can be made at the Ministry of Interior and requires the applicant and spouse to be physically present.