Living in Israel and the OPTs
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- 28 January 2014
Essential information for British nationals residing in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries beyond the information and links listed below.
See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals, under Our Services.
This information supplements the Travel Advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Before travelling to Israel and the OPTs please visit the Health section of our Travel Advice.
Health care in Israel and the OPTs is not free and any form of medical treatment can be expensive. Check that you have full insurance cover for emergency treatment, hospitalisation and medical evacuation to the UK. If you cannot obtain cover for a specific illness, ensure that extra funds can be sent to you easily. Hospitals will insist on payment and may take legal action to delay departure until bills are settled.
Employment and recognised qualifications
For information on employment in Israel please visit the Working in Israel guide from the Israeli Government Portal.
Entry and residence requirements
Visit our Travel Advice page for information on entry requirements.
Further information can be found on the Coming to Israel section of the Israeli Government Portal.
For further information on residence requirements, including on how to stay in Israel and the OPTs for longer periods, visit the websites of the Israel Embassy in London and the Palestinian Ministry of Interior.
More information on the crossing points in the OPTs and the District Liaison Offices please see the following link: The Israel Defense Forces Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories
For airports and border terminals please visit the Israel Airports Authority
The National Insurance Institute is responsible for the social security of only residents of Israel and does not provide social welfare benefits to non-Israeli nationals.
Find out what benefits you might be able to get while abroad and how to claim them by visiting Benefits if you’re abroad on gov.uk.
You may need to tell the relevant government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax that you’re moving or retiring abroad.
Driving licence and vehicles
New immigrants, tourists, temporary residents, returning citizens (who have resided overseas continuously for at least one year) may drive in Israel using their valid foreign licence, for a period of one year from their date of entry into Israel.
For more information, visit the Driving in Israel page of the Israeli Government Portal.
For more information regarding the banking system in Israel and monetary policy visit the Bank of Israel website.
The Israeli Tax Authority website includes information about personal import taxes, commercial import taxes, VAT and customs related issues, and additional useful information about taxation in Israel.
Guidance on bringing medication into Israel
Property and property disputes
There are risks involved when purchasing property in Israel on land considered to be occupied under International Law, such as East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan. Potential purchasers should be aware that a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria, could have consequences on property they purchase in these areas. The FCO does not offer legal advice or become involved in private property disputes.
Social ethics and traditions
Israel is a culturally and religiously diverse society and people feel strongly about their beliefs and customs. It is important for visitors to be aware of this at all times. For example, it is not wise to enter or drive in ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem on Shabbat (Saturday). It is also important to be sensitive when taking pictures of people in Muslim areas, the military or police anywhere. All travellers who are new to the area should get a good guidebook which covers these and other local sensitivities.
Modest dress is advised in Jerusalem, the West Bank and especially Gaza.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy/consulate by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British embassy/consulate will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.
Published: 28 January 2014
Related guides: Notarial and documentary services guide for Israel