ISRAEL – Eligible for Visa-Free Travel to US

October 20, 2023

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have announced, with immediate effect, that Israeli citizens will be permitted to undertake short-term travel to the United States under the U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) scheme.

Israel was scheduled to join the US Visa Waiver Program effective 30 November 2023, however the implementation date has now been brought forward due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.  Successful applicants will be able to enter the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days. Israeli citizens and nationals who currently have a valid B-1/B-2 visas can also continue to use them for business and tourist travel to the United States.

Eligible Israeli citizens and nationals must have a biometrically enabled passport book. ESTA applications may take up to 72 hours for processing. The ESTA application will be available in English only at this time and is expected to be available in other languages by 1 November 2023.  ESTA is an automated system that assists in determining eligibility to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Upon completion of an ESTA application, travelers are notified of their eligibility to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Holders of non-biometric, temporary, or emergency travel documents, or travel documents from a non-Visa Waiver Program designated country will not be eligible for an ESTA but can instead apply for a U.S. visa.  Additionally, any individuals intending to stay in the United States longer than 90 days should consider applying for a visa instead of an ESTA.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.