Until this year, travel from the UK to Israel has not required any specific documentation. But the way UK citizens visit Israel is changing as of 2024. If you want to travel to Israel, be aware of your new visa requirements: as a British national, you will have to apply for the new ETA-IL.

The UK and Israel have had a marked relationship since before independence. Owing to British presence in the Mandate and key events such as the Balfour Declaration, British buildings, railroads, and even legal structures remain visible in Israel today.

About 200,000 British nationals visit Israel each year. If you’d like to join them, make sure you know exactly what is required of you as a tourist to avoid hassle, delay or denial of entry, so that you can focus on having a fantastic trip instead.

Do UK citizens need a visa to enter Israel?

No. The United Kingdom is on the list of visa exempt countries, so a traditional visa is not required to enter Israel.

What is the Israel eVisa for citizens of the United Kingdom?

The Israeli ETA (electronic travel authorization), also known as the evisa, is a visa waiver program, which British citizens are eligible for. The ETA-IL system is similar to the ESTA that Britons are required to obtain before entry to the USA, for example.

The ETA-IL allows UK citizens to bypass the long visa application program required by Israel for other countries. It’s an electronic document which is sent to you by email, which you are required to show airport staff upon request to show that you have been approved to enter the country.

Common reasons for Britons to enter Israel include:

✓ Holidays

✓ Visiting family

✓ Pilgrimages

✓ Many volunteer programs (e.g on a kibbutz)

✓ Business trips and conferences

Why is the Israel ETA-IL scheme being introduced for British nationals?

British citizens will be required to fill in the ETA-IL forms because they fall on the list of visa-exempt countries who are free to enter Israel without the need for an extensive application process.

The ETA-IL is being introduced in order to maintain and regulate the influx of tourists to Israel. Its goal is to improve safety and security for everyone.

How to apply for the Israeli ETA-IL as a UK national

Applying for the ETA-IL is simple. The process is completed entirely online, and is usually done in minutes. Simply:

  1. Load the online form
  2. Fill in your details
  3. Await approval

To apply for the ETA, you will need:

  • A valid UK passport. You will be asked to enter certain details, such as your passport number and date of expiry, during the application process
  • A working debit or credit card for the small processing fee
  • An email address. This is how you will receive updates on your application and be sent the ETA-IL document itself once it’s approved.
  • A UK address
  • A phone number

The process is quick and simple, and is typically resolved within just a few days. However, you are advised to begin your application a few weeks in advance in case of delays, and to avoid stress.

How long does it take for an Israeli ETA-IL to be issued?

In most cases, the turnaround is remarkably quick. You should receive confirmation that your ETA-IL is being processed as soon as you submit the form. The status of your approval should be updated within a few days.

It is rare for applications by British nationals to be delayed or denied. If they are, it is most likely due to extreme or unusual circumstances (such as if you have a serious criminal background, or have been found to evade Israeli entry requirements in the past).

The most common cause for delays throughout the process is inaccurate or incomplete form submission. It’s vital to check that your details are correct and the form properly filled in before you send it off.

For how long is the ETA-IL valid for UK citizens?

Once you have your ETA-IL, it is valid for two years after issue. You need your ETA-IL to be valid upon the date of entry to Israel. Keep in mind that the ETA-IL is only valid for short-term stays of up to 3 months, and is primarily intended for tourism. The ETA will not give you the right to work or permanently reside in Israel.

However, you will need to obtain a new ETA-IL if:

  • Your passport has since been replaced. Whether your old passport was lost, stolen, or expired, ETA-IL applications are passport-specific.
  • Any of your identifying factors have changed. For example, you may have legally changed your name.
  • Any eligibility criteria listed on the form have changed.

What about Israeli-British dual nationals?

As per usual, Israeli-British dual nationals will be required to enter and exit Israel using their Israeli passport. Therefore, there will be no need to obtain an ETA-IL before travel.

British travelers to Israel: A summary of your requirements

As a British traveler, the only travel requirements you need to sort out before your arrival in Israel is your ETA-IL, a document obtained online and typically authorized within just a few days. The ETA-IL is used in place of a visa to make travel easier and safer for UK tourists. Once you have your ETA, double-check that your passport is in date, and you should be ready to go. We wish you a wonderful trip!