Shipping & Importation Rights for New Olim

As a new Oleh (Oleh Chadash), you’ve embarked on a journey filled with rich cultural experiences and opportunities. One of the immediate benefits you will encounter is the right to import certain goods into Israel tax-free. This exemption will ease your transition and help you build your new home.

Photography by Shai Franco

It’s essential to understand the specifics, like who is eligible, what items qualify for this exemption, and what the criteria are. Additionally, knowing the tax implications and processes involved is crucial if you’re considering purchasing or importing a vehicle.

We’re here to provide comprehensive information on these topics, detailing eligibility requirements, possible extensions of these benefits, and more to ensure your Aliyah journey is as smooth and well-informed as possible.

Who’s Eligible for Personal Importation Rights?

The eligibility for personal importation rights is determined by several factors, including the status, age, and marital status as recorded on the entry document of the new Oleh. This assessment is made on the critical day of your first arrival in the country. When there is a shift in status to Olim, such as a transition from a tourist to an Oleh, these criteria are re-evaluated to align with the new circumstances.


The granting of importation rights is subject to these specific requirements:

  • Importation Authorization – Goods imported into Israel must be consigned in the name of the person holding eligibility rights
  • Intended Use – Items imported or purchased by eligible individuals must be used personally within Israel. The minimum usage period is 6 years from the date of release or purchase of the goods. For vehicles, this period is 4 years
  • Quantity Limitations – There are restrictions on the number of certain items that can be imported. Eligible families can bring a maximum of 3 television sets and 3 personal computers
  • One-Per-Category Rule – For other electronic devices, appliances, and major furniture pieces, eligible families may import 1 item per category
  • Release and Handling of Goods – The release of imported goods can be managed directly by eligible individuals or through customs agents who have been legally authorized via a power of attorney

Please keep in mind that these items cannot be lent, given, or sold to others, temporarily or permanently, before the stipulated period ends. This applies irrespective of whether you receive payment or offer the goods for free. Deviating from this rule is considered a violation of the exemption terms.

Visit the Customs Authority website here

Duration and Extension of Eligibilities

There are timelines and conditions under which Olim can import goods into Israel. Understanding these eligibility periods is crucial for effectively planning and utilizing your rights to import personal items, clothing, household goods, and even vehicles. Each category of goods has a specific timeframe within which they can be imported, aligned with your entry date and status approval. Let’s explore the eligibility guidelines to ensure you can make the most of your benefits during your transition to life in Israel.

Eligibility Periods for Various Goods

  • Personal items – Eligibility is determined based on the Olim’s entry date into Israel
  • Clothing & footwear via Postal Service – These can be imported on the entry date or within a window of 30 days prior or up to 3 months following the entry date
  • Household Items, Tools, and Machinery for Businesses – Import is permitted within 3 years starting from the date the status is approved
  • Vehicles – Similar to business tools, vehicles can be imported within a 3-year timeframe from the date of status approval

Extending Eligibility Periods

There are several cases and conditions where Olim are entitled to extending eligibility periods:

  1. Military Service – If an Oleh is drafted for mandatory IDF military service during their eligibility period, this time is not included in the eligibility countdown. The remaining eligibility period before enlistment resumes once military duty is completed.
  2. Academic Pursuits – Olim who enroll as full-time students in an accredited academic institution within 18 months of their decisive entry and study continuously for up to 5 years (longer for medicine and law students) are eligible for an extension. The eligibility period extends by 1 year from the end of their studies. This extension is neither frozen nor prolonged, even if the student leaves Israel immediately after graduation.
  3. Extended Stays Abroad – If an Oleh spends over 6 consecutive months abroad during their eligibility period, they can apply for an extension. This is done through an eligibility web form for Olim who have been away for more than 6 months, eliminating the need to visit customs offices or send documents.
  4. Exclusions for a Returning Minor (Katin Chozer) – Please note that an extension does not apply to returning minors under case 3.

Opening a Customs File Upon Arrival

Upon arrival in Israel, the details of Olim are automatically transmitted to the customs authorities by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, initiating the creation of a customs eligibility file. Essential documents for this process include a certification from the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Olim’s foreign passport with the Aliyah visa or an Israeli passport (Ezrach Oleh or Katin Chozer), and, for married individuals, their spouse’s passport.

Spousal Shipping Rights

There are conditions under which spouses of Olim can exercise their rights regarding household items. It is important to understand how these rights apply, whether both spouses share the same status or different ones, and the significance of mutual documentation verification. Additionally, there are specific exemptions for previously released goods and the eligibility criteria for re-exemption based on the duration since the initial release. This information is vital for couples looking to make the most of their rights and benefits during their transition to life in Israel.

Eligibility for household item exemptions for spouses operates under certain conditions:

  • Unified or Varied Status – Spouses can avail themselves of household item rights regardless of whether they share the same status or have different statuses
  • Mandatory Passport Review – For either spouse to receive an exemption, authorities must review the passport of the other spouse. This step is crucial for validating the eligibility
  •  Restriction on Previously Exempted Goods – Goods that have already been granted a tax exemption, either under the rights of the eligible individual or their spouse, will not qualify for a subsequent exemption
  • Time-Based Eligibility for Re-Exemption – In cases where one spouse had previously availed an exemption for certain goods before their marriage, and 6 years have passed since those goods were released, the other spouse may then be eligible for an exemption on similar goods.

What Items are Eligible?

Upon receiving eligibility approval, you can import goods in Israel without the burden of paying taxes. This exemption, as of 2024, covers various items, including personal belongings, household items, portable work tools, and equipment or machinery used for business purposes. Additionally, there is a provision for a partial tax exemption on motor vehicles. However, it’s important to note that this tax exemption is conditional.

Importing Personal Belongings

When importing household items to Israel, it’s essential to understand the specific exemptions and guidelines to ensure a smooth process while also avoiding unnecessary taxation.

Regarding personal belongings, there are specific guidelines for items that can be brought into Israel:

  • Clothing, Footwear, and Personal Toiletries – These should be in quantities typical for hand luggage
  • Alcoholic Beverages – Each individual aged 18 and above is allowed to bring 1 liter of alcohol, liquor, or spirits and 2 liters of wine
  • Alcoholic Cosmetics (Perfumes) – Up to 1/4 liter (250 ml/8.45 fl. oz.) is permitted per person
  • Tobacco Products – The limit is set at 250 grams/8.81 oz., which equates to about 200 cigarettes or one carton
  • Other Miscellaneous Items – Items for personal use or as gifts, valued at under $200 USD per entrant aged 2 and above, are allowed. Within this $200 limit, you can include up to 3 kilograms (6.61 pounds) of food, with each food type not exceeding 1 kilogram (2.20 pounds). However, some items are prohibited from import (details provided elsewhere)

For personal belongings, there are also certain tax exemptions and import guidelines, including:

  • Tax Exemptions – Tax exemptions for imported items are specific to each individual and cannot be combined to cover higher-value items. If the value of a single item exceeds $200 (USD), the full value of that item is taxable, not just the excess over $200
  • Eligible Household Items – Eligible items for import include general household goods typically found in a residential apartment. This excludes items meant for permanent installation, such as plumbing supplies, building materials, flooring, or wall coverings (e.g., wallpaper, tiles, marble)
  • Importation Period – Household items must be imported within a 3-year eligibility period from your date of return to Israel
  • Number of Shipments – You may import household items in up to 3 separate shipments
  • Accompanying Luggage – If you choose to bring a household item with you as accompanying luggage upon your return to Israel, it will not be taxed and is not counted as one of your 3 eligible shipments. However, you must go through the RED CHANNEL to declare these goods and follow any further instructions.

Importing Hand Tools

For an Olim looking to import hand tools into Israel, there are specific conditions to be aware of during the eligibility period:

  • Purpose – The tools must be intended for professional use, as verified by a customs official
  • Type – Only tools that are portable and carried by hand are eligible, according to the Customs Tariff
  • Value Limit – The total value of the tools, as appraised at the port of importation, should not surpass $1,650 USD (as of 2024)

Importing Business Machinery

For Olim establishing businesses in Israel, there’s a tax exemption available for machinery, devices, and tools used in industry, crafts, agriculture, or other approved activities. Here are the key conditions for this exemption:

  • Value Limit – The total value of the equipment, including portable tools, must not exceed $36,000 (USD); this is included with the value of portable tools capped at $1,650 (USD) (mentioned above)
  • Usage and Location – The equipment must be utilized within the premises of the eligible Olim’s factory, workshop, farm, or business
  • Director’s Approval – The exemption is based on the Director’s approval and requires a bank guarantee for the amount of the taxes as a condition

Importing Items Through the Post

When receiving postal packages containing household items, these are counted as one of your tax-exempt shipments. However, there are specific conditions for packages containing only clothing and footwear to be exempt from taxes and not considered part of your shipment allowance:

  • Timing of Arrival – The package must arrive in Israel within 30 days before your entry, on the day of your entry as accompanying luggage, or within 3 months after your entry
  • Content Restriction – This exemption specifically applies to packages containing only clothing and footwear

Vehicle Importation

As a new Oleh, you might be considering importing motor vehicles. In this case, according to customs regulations, the term “motor vehicle” includes:

  • Motorcycles – Two-wheeled vehicles designed for personal transportation
  • Passenger Cars – Vehicles classified under types M1 or M2, as per Regulation 271A of the traffic regulations, intended for passenger transport and not exceeding a weight of 3,500 kilograms

Ways to Emport Vehicles

When importing a vehicle into Israel, you have 2 primary options to consider, each with its own set of procedures and requirements:

  1. Using a Vehicle Importer
    • Convenience – Opting for a professional vehicle importer offers ease and efficiency. These experts handle all aspects of the import process, from paperwork to customs clearance
    • Expertise – Importers are well-versed in the regulatory landscape, ensuring compliance with all Israeli import regulations and avoiding common pitfalls
    • Cost – While this option adds a service fee, it can save you time and potential complications, making it a worthwhile investment
  2. Importing on Your Own
    • Direct control – Handling the import process yourself gives you direct oversight of every step, from selecting the vehicle to managing its shipment and customs clearance
    • Cost Savings – By bypassing the importer’s fee, you might save money. However, be prepared for the detailed work of navigating the import regulations and procedures

Vehicle Importation Guidelines

When considering importing a vehicle to Israel, it’s essential to understand the specific requirements regarding the vehicle’s origin, standardization, and documentation. Here’s an overview to guide you through the process:

  1. Country of Manufacture and Standards:
    • European Commonwealth Standards – Israel’s vehicle standardization aligns with European norms. A Certificate of Conformity (COC) is required to demonstrate compliance
    • US and Canadian Standards – Vehicles adhering to the US FMVSS or Canadian CMVSS are eligible for import, regardless of manufacturing location. Documentation needed includes a Certificate of Title and a CARFAX report detailing the vehicle’s history
  2. Import Approval and Maintenance:
    • Model Approval – Verify if your vehicle model is permitted for import by consulting with a certified car importer in Israel
    • Maintenance Services – Before clearance, you’ll need a certificate from a local importer or a licensed garage confirming their ability to provide maintenance and original parts
  3. Special Requirements:
    • The speedometer must display kilometers
    • Vehicle signals should conform to the European code
  4. Import Process:
    • Title Ownership – Ensure you have a clear title. Leased vehicles or those with ownership disputes may face import delays
    • Shipping – Vehicles are typically shipped in containers, possibly with household goods. A structural support ensures the vehicle’s stability during transport
    • Insurance – Check with your insurer about coverage options, noting that some only offer total loss policies for used vehicles

Tax Rates on Imported Cars

Olim enjoy a significant tax benefit when importing cars into Israel, paying a reduced tax rate of 50% compared to the standard 92% rate applicable to native Israelis. This benefit is further complemented by VAT applied to the car’s total value post-tax.

Here’s a breakdown of how these taxes are calculated:

  • Car Tax Calculation – The initial tax is 50% of the car’s global market value
  • VAT Calculation – VAT, set at 17%, is then applied to the sum of the car’s value and the initial car tax

The evaluation of a car for tax purposes in Israel is conducted by Customs Tax (Meches ), which assesses the vehicle’s global market value. In instances where Meches challenges the declared value of the car, the importer and the Oleh have the right to appeal the decision in writing.

For more information regarding the document and process in order to clear vehicles through Meches, visit the Israel Tax Authority here.

Terms & Conditions for Customs Benefits

  • The benefit must be utilized within 3 years from Aliyah, with possible extensions for IDF service, academic pursuits, or prolonged overseas stays
  • The benefit covers motorcycles and passenger cars (M1 or M2 class, under 3,500 kg)
  • The vehicle must be registered in the Oleh’s name and is restricted to personal use for 4 years post-import, after which ownership transfer and driving permissions can be freely managed

For detailed inquiries or to remove the post-import restriction, Olim are advised to contact the Customs Authority directly at [email protected]

Transporting Pets

Looking to make your move to Israel with your furry companion? We’ve got you covered. Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development oversees the importation of animals, including dogs and cats, into Israel. This supervision aims to prevent the introduction of animal diseases, safeguarding public health and animal welfare.

Which Pet Can Purchase a Plane Ticket?

  • Dogs and cats that are at least 4 months old
  • Dogs must be vaccinated and implanted with an electronic microchip compliant with regulations

How to Prepare

  • Apply For an Import License – Prior to your travels, you must fill out this application form (in Hebrew) and obtain the license for your pet from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s Director in Veterinary Services. Following the payment, the receipt must be kept for future notice
  • Health Certificate – Acquire a veterinary health certificate from a government veterinarian in the country of origin, signed no more than 11 days before flight departure
  • Health Certification Inclusions – To ensure that your pet is free of infectious or contagious diseases, you must include proof of rabies vaccination within 12 months before entry to Israel, with at least 1 month passing since vaccination, as well as a confirmation of a normal rabies antibody level (above 0.5)
  • Import Notification Submission – Submit an import notification and a photocopy of the veterinary certificate to the Ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary services via email ([email protected]) or fax (03-9485869) at least 2 business days before arrival

Airline Restrictions

Please note that airlines have their own guidelines when it comes to bringing your pet on board. For pets weighing up to 15 lbs, including their carrier, there’s an option to fly in-cabin, though availability is limited.

Booking a pet seat is possible only after receiving approval for Aliyah flight reservations. Given these constraints, exploring alternatives for your pet’s travel is advisable. A pet travel service or airline offering cargo plane transport for animals can provide reliable solutions.

The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) is a valuable resource for assistance.

Before Arriving in Israel

Once you’ve submitted your import notification and veterinary certificates, keep an eye on your email for a confirmation from the Ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary services. It’s crucial to wait for this official permission before proceeding with your travel plans involving your pet. Without this approval, you risk being unable to board your flight or facing complications upon arrival in Israel.

To avoid any inconvenience, make sure to complete all required steps mentioned above and receive your confirmation well in advance of your departure date. This approach ensures a smooth journey for you and your furry companion, allowing you both to embark on your new adventure in Israel without any setbacks.

Upon Arrival

  • Entry – Animals can be brought through Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, Ashdod Port, and the Eilat Port
  • Plan Your Flight Accordingly – Plan your flight according to inspection hours at cargo terminals in Israel: Sunday-Thursday from 06:00 on Sunday until 24:00 on Thursday. For port entries, coordinate by phone.


For information regarding entry and cargo terminal hours, directly contact the ports below:

  • Eilat Port: 08-6323054, 050-6241350
  • Port of Ashdod: 08-8565673
  • Haifa Port: 04-8623647