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Helpful Bureaucratic Tips for Israel Study Abroad

A quick, handy guide on what to prepare and expect from your Israel experience.

By Avi Lewis

Studying abroad in Israel is so exciting! However, after making the big decision to make Israel your home for almost five months, taking care of all the nitty-gritty, details can become overwhelming. Well, the following is a quick, handy guide on what to prepare and expect from your Israel experience. It's well known that Israeli bureaucracy and culture can often be difficult to navigate and understand, so we decided to compile an easy list on some of the main things that you need to know before embarking on your journey. 

1.   Visas: you have to get them sorted.

Before coming to study in Israel, you need to apply for an A2 student visa at your local Israeli consulate. This is mandatory for anyone planning on studying for one semester or more. The visa is valid for up to a year and can be used to enter and it the country multiple times during that period. For full information on what you need to in order to apply for this visa, check out the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Note: US citizens visiting Israel for a period of less than 3 months can receive a free tourist visa when they land at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. The visa can be extended every 3 months for up to one year – but is not applicable to tourists only.

2.   Safety:

Israel is generally considered a safe a place, and levels of crime are among the lowest on the Western World. Hebrew U’s campus and student dorms have full 24/7 security and surveillance, and most parts of Jerusalem are safe to walk around at all times of the day and night. That said, it is wise to be plugged in to the news for political developments and to check the US embassy in Israel travel warning guide for further information. For any more questions, get in touch with the Thrive staff!

3.  Transport

Israel’s public transportation is highly developed, particularly in the large cities, such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, the main forms of transportation are public buses, which operate from Saturday night until Friday afternoon, and the light rail, which crisscrosses the city from north-east to south-west and passes through the city center, as well as beside the Old City and Hebrew U’s dorms.

A standard bus/light rail fare is around 6 Shekels ($1.7 USD). In addition, there are taxis that operate in and around the major cities 24/7, including on Shabbat. Another quick and comfortable way to get around is by train. The new Jerusalem-Airport-Tel Aviv line will be up and running in April 2018, and it will cut down travel time between the two cities to 35 minutes. For up to date bus times, we highly recommend that you download the ‘moovit app’, which provides real-time arrivals and directions.

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