November 20, 2014

Following the one-year trial period for the B-2 Short Term Employment (SEA) Visa, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has announced additional restrictions for the popular visa category. The SEA Visa (also sometimes referred to as the 30-Day Work Authorization) was originally designed for urgent, one-off repair assignments and the new restrictions are aimed at limiting the visa category to these purposes.

While the Israeli authorities have not yet issued a formal statement, the following changes have been implemented with immediate effect (with the exception of already-pending B-1 applications by SEA holders):

• SEA holders will be ineligible to apply for a B-1 Visa (the standard work authorization in Israel) for 12 months after their last entry on SEA status.

• A new SEA visa must be obtained for each entry under the status and the total stay on all SEA visas cannot exceed 30 days within a 12-month period. This is a slight change from the previous regulations which allowed 30 days stay within a calendar year.

Employers should ensure that, if they do choose to obtain a B-2 visa for an urgent assignment in Israel, the employee in question will not need to work in Israel for more than 30 days in the next 12 months. If there is any possibility that the employee will require a longer stay in the country, the company should strongly consider obtaining a B-1 Work Visa.