Virginia, US

Nov 06 2019

Visa Nationals Ineligible for Hi-Tech Visas

Israel

At a Glance

  • Effective immediately, visa nationals are no longer eligible for Hi-Tech (HIT) visas in Israel.
  • As a result, visa nationals working for hi-tech companies who would normally apply for a HIT visa will have to apply under the traditional B-1 Foreign Expert visa path, which is a much lengthier process.
  • Visa nationals with pending HIT visa applications will have their applications redirected and adjudicated under the lengthier B-1 Foreign Expert visa process.
  • Visa nationals who currently hold HIT visas can remain on these visas for the duration of their validity but will not qualify for extensions under this category.

The situation

The Israeli Ministry of Interior has announced that visa nationals are no longer eligible for Hi-Tech (HIT) visas, effective immediately. Visa nationals are defined as nationals of countries that must apply for a B-2 visa prior to traveling to Israel for tourism or business.

Impact

  • New applications. Visa nationals can no longer apply for HIT visas, effective November 5, 2019.
  • Pending applications. The applications of visa nationals with pending HIT visa applications will be processed under the lengthier B-1 Foreign Expert visa category, which requires the completion of a new affidavit. Affected visa nationals and their employers should expect start date delays as a result of the longer process.
  • Visa nationals holding HIT visas. Visa nationals who currently hold HIT visas can remain on these visas for the duration of their validity but will not qualify for extensions under this category.
  • Spouses of visa nationals. Spouses of visa nationals traveling to Israel for work are no longer eligible for a new or extended spouse EAS B-1 work visa. Instead, spouses interested in working in Israel would be required to obtain their own B-1 Expert Visa based on their own eligibility and sponsored by their prospective employer.
  • Alternate visa options. Visa nationals working for hi-tech companies who would normally apply for a HIT visa must apply under the traditional B-1 Foreign Expert visa path, which currently takes approximately two and a half months to process as compared to three to four weeks for the HIT visa process.

 

Background

This restriction comes after the government introduced a stricter application process for HIT visas and limited the types of companies eligible to participate in the program.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects the Ministry of Interior to continue updating the process and eligibility for HIT visas as the program is tested in practice.

The results of the ongoing prime minister elections will determine any potential immigration policy changes. Fragomen will report related developments as needed.

Fragomen worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm to prepare this alert. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to emea@fragomen.com.