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Israel requires online visa application

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South African visitors to Israel will be required to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation document (ETA-IL) as of 1 July 2024, according to a recent announcement from Israel.

Only once your ETA-IL has been approved will you be allowed to travel to Israel and stay up to 90 days per visit. The authorisation is valid for multiple trips over two years, or until an individual’s passport expires, whichever one comes first.

Sabine Hadad, the spokesperson for the Israeli population and immigration authority, said the new system was being implemented to facilitate smoother entry to Israel for tourists. “Most people will be approved for this visa,” Hadad said. “We’re doing this so that we can avoid cases we know in advance won’t be allowed into Israel for many reasons, like being deported before.

“This system exists in many countries like the United States, Canada, and Europe. It’s not something new,” she said, “it’s to avoid having people fly such a long distance only to get to the border and be denied entry.”

“It isn’t a major change,” said travel agent Sharlene Lifschitz. “It’s the normal visa you would get on arrival, only now you have it in advance.”

Deputy Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Adi Cohen-Hazanov said, “Any traveller to Israel just needs to fill out this application in advance on the website, and will receive the visa.”

However, it does enable Israel to refuse to grant the visa, making it impossible to get into Israel.

“It’s good because it allows Israel to know who is coming into the country,” said Lifschitz, “It’s not stopping anybody from coming into the country unless it suspects that they are a terrorist or something like that. Then, it’s entitled to stop you from entering the country. The only difference this makes is that if you’re denied entry for whatever reason, they can send you home at the airport.”

The programme was initially launched on 1 June as a pilot programme for those with American and German passports. That will provide insights and possible improvements, with the programme expanded to all visa-exempt countries from 1 July.

It will help authorities to obtain information about passengers before they even board the plane. If there’s a problem with the passenger entering Israel, they will be referred to the Israeli embassy in their country of residence.

During the first year of this measure, the ETA-IL will be provided free of charge, thereafter it will cost each traveller 25 NIS (about R126).

Eyal Siso, the director-general of Israel’s population and immigration authority, said in a press statement, “This process aims to prevent passengers arriving in Israel from facing unpleasant surprises, even though there might be a reason known in advance that prevents them from entering the state of Israel. The system will also help to reinforce Israel’s national security.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. rafaelli

    Jun 6, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    I understand that KZN has declared its independence. Viva

    Their embassy will be opening in Tshwane where you will be able to get your visa to visit Durbs.
    The customs post is just over Van Reenen’s Pass and a R1000 fee will be charged.
    So KZN will be ruled by the MK men. SO those who incited the mayhem of July 2021 have now brought their leader back to power ( and to deploy their own cadres who will mismanage and purloin the provincial coffers.)
    So nothing will have improved.

    As for the Western Cape, they have also defederated and have opened their own embassy in Tshwane for visas.
    Which will be free) On arrival in CTIA go into the foreigner queue to await endorsement of your passport.

    Calling the W Cape Icoloni is now a treasonable offence.However colonoscopies for politicians will be free.
    Semigration by Eastern cape compatriots will be given extensions on their work permits.Semigration from Gooteng will mean your pensions are frozen for 50 years.

    It’s not funny.ANC-DA alliance??? I thought tethering different animals together pulling the same donkey cart
    is against our law.

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