For French passport holders, Israel’s travel requirements are straightforward. All you need is to apply for an Israeli ETA-IL, a quick and easily-approved electronic document that authorizes you to enter the country.

The French presence in Israel has been prominent since well before independence, and is still felt in Israel today. In addition to Ottoman-era churches, monasteries and buildings, streets are named after important French figures, from Emile Zola to the archaeologist Clermont-Ganneau. So it’s hardly surprising that hundreds of thousands of French citizens flock to Israel as tourists each year.

But whether you plan to come for the culture, for religious reasons, or just to enjoy the beach and culinary scene, as a visiting French national, you’ll need to have your documentation in check before you arrive.

Do French citizens need a visa to enter Israel?

French citizens do not require a visa to enter Israel. However, as of 2024, French passport holders without dual Israeli citizenship will be required to apply for online authorization to enter the country. This document is called the ETA-IL (Electronic Travel Authorization for Israel).

The ETA-IL is similar to the visa in that it will be a requirement by French nationals to enter Israel. However, in all other ways, the ETA-IL is far simpler, quicker and less expensive to obtain than a traditional visa, and unlike most visas, it does not require processing by an embassy.

What is the Israeli ETA-IL?

The ETA-IL is a visa-waiver program Israel is introducing in 2024. It is similar to equivalent programs around the world, from the American ESTA to France’s own ETIAS. You may also know this type of document by terms such as e-visa.

An ETA application process is done entirely online in a process that can take as little as 15 minutes if you have all documents and details ready to go when you open up the form. After your application is reviewed by Israeli authorities, the electronic travel authorization will be sent to you by email.

For how long is my Israeli ETA valid?

In terms of the time you spend in Israel, the ETA-IL is valid for short stays of up to 90 days. Once your ETA has been approved, you can use it to return to Israel for up to 2 years after issue as long as your passport remains valid.

How to apply for the ETA-IL for Israel as a French national

The application process is straightforward.

To apply for the ETA-IL, you will need:

  • Full French citizenship
  • A normal French passport – i.e. not a temporary, diplomatic or special passport of any kind. Please ensure that your passport is well in date, as ETA-IL submissions are passport specific.
  • An email address which you can access. This is how you will receive confirmation of your application, status updates, and eventually the ETA document itself.
  • A form of payment, such as a debit card or a credit card (this does not have to be Israeli).
  • Key details on hands, such as telephone number and French address
  • Be prepared to answer some questions about your trip and your general life, e.g. how long you plan to stay, whether you work, and your criminal record if you have one

Once you have everything you need ready and on hand, you can go ahead and apply. In order to get your ETA-IL:

  1. Load the online form.
  2. Apply online. Make sure to submit your details with a thorough attention to detail and without mistakes – double-check to prevent delays.
  3. Wait for approval. This part of the process usually takes just a few days, but allow up to a week just in case.
  4. Keep your electronic document of approval on hand to show border guards if necessary. There is no need to print it – you can simply show it on your smartphone.

Requirements for applying for the ETA-IL and conditions for entering Israel for citizens of France

The eligibility criteria for the French nationals are the same as for other countries in the E.U. All you need to apply and be approved for the ETA-IL is to be a French national with a valid passport and no past history of violating Israeli law or security. If this is you, you can expect fast approval.

If you have any reason to expect that your application may take a longer time or be rejected, it’s best to plan well ahead, and give yourself enough time before the trip that you will be able to get a traditional visa through the embassy if need be.

However, this is rare. Most ETAs are freely granted and approved within days.

Entry requirements for French nations: A summary

For French citizens, the ETA-IL is the only requirement you need to enter Israel other than your passport in terms of documentation. However, it is essential that you have it upon departure to prevent delays or entry denial, so make sure you think ahead and fill the online application in as soon as possible.