Guide for Driving with a Foreign License in Israel and Converting a Foreign Driver’s License to an Israeli One
For the benefit of visitors to this site, we prepared a clear, detailed guide on the conditions required for driving with a foreign license in Israel, converting a foreign driver’s license to an Israeli one, and how to get an Israeli license. The following requirements relate to converting a driver’s license for a motorcycle up to 500 cc, and private vehicles and trucks that weigh up to 12 tons.
Good news for tourists, immigrants, and returning residents with foreign licenses who want to drive in Israel!
Beginning in August 2017, a tourist, a returning resident and an immigrant who wish to convert their foreign driver's license will be able to convert his foreign license immediately without the need for a mivchan shlita (driving test) or any type of medical examination, provided that he has a driver’s license for at least five years (from the date that their first license was issued). All that the applicant has to do is submit a Green Form containing his computerized picture to the Licensing Office.
However, if the applicant has a valid driver's license for less than five years (from the date his first license was issued), he will have to do a mivchan shlita in addition to submitting a Green Form.
Important: Even though the new regulation exempts those who have a driver’s license for five years from taking a new mivchan shlita, it does not apply to an applicant who failed a mivchan shlita before the new regulations came into effect. In this case, the previous regulation that was in effect before the new regulation was passed still applies to him. This will also be the case if any new regulation is passed and the applicant had already begun the process of licensing under the previous regulation.
|Who has to convert a foreign driving license to an Israeli one?|
Every driver driving in Israeli territories must have a valid Israeli driver’s license. The law stipulates that a foreigner who wants to continue driving in Israel after the time he is permitted to drive with a foreign driver’s license, has to convert his foreign driver’s license to an Israeli one of the same category as his foreign license.
Remember: If you are driving with your foreign driver’s license at a time when you are forbidden to drive in Israel, the law defines you as one driving without a driver’s license who may be prosecuted in court and who may even face time in prison or be disqualified from getting a driver’s license for a minimum of three months.
Similarly, in the event that your vehicle was involved in an accident, the insurance company has the legal right to demand to see a valid driver’s license. If you show a foreign driver’s license that should have been converted to an Israeli one, the insurance company will refuse to pay compensation to the victims, and will claim that you were not driving with a valid license and the insurance policy does not cover the event, and you will lose the insurance coverage.
|Who is obligated to convert a foreign driver’s license to an Israeli driver’s license?|
A new immigrant, tourist, temporary resident - and returning resident are allowed to drive in the country with a valid foreign license for up to one year from the date of their entry to Israel. However, this is conditional on him reaching the requisite age in Israel for a driver’s license (17) and that his license is appropriate for the vehicle he is driving. From the point of view of the law, his driver’s license will be accepted like a valid Israeli driver’s license, according to the regulations stipulated in law.
After he is in Israel a year, he may not drive in Israel even with a valid foreign driver’s license, but he may convert his foreign license to an Israeli license according to the regulations stipulated in law. (One who has made many entries and exits from the country, will be judged on the merits of his case in accordance with the transportation ordinance).
|The conditions required for driving in Israel with a foreign driver’s license:|
• A new immigrant and returning Israeli citizen - is entitled to drive in Israel with a foreign license for one year from his date of entry into Israel, on condition that he lived abroad at least one year continuously during the two years before his last entry to Israel.
As stated in the law concerning an Israeli resident who returned to Israel, “his last entry” is defined as the last time he entered the country after he spent 14 consecutive days abroad.
• A tourist and a temporary resident - is entitled to drive in Israel with his foreign license for a year after his “last entry” to Israel.
“The last entry” (which the law stipulates for a tourist) means his entry to Israel after being three months continuously abroad.
One who went abroad for more than three consecutive months during the period of a year beginning with his first entry date, can restart the year’s count for using his foreign license. But if he went abroad for a period of less than three consecutive months within the year, his trip abroad will not begin anew the year’s count for using his foreign license.
|The Conditions for Converting a Foreign Driver’s License:|
• An Israeli immigrant - can convert his foreign license within five years of his entry to Israel (to the same category as his foreign license) on condition that his foreign license was issued before he came to Israel.
• An Israeli citizen who is a returning resident - can convert his foreign license within five years of his return to Israel (to the same category as his foreign license) on condition that he had lived six consecutive months abroad after receiving his foreign license.
• A tourist and a temporary resident - can convert his foreign license (to the same category as his foreign license) within five years of the date of his entry to Israel, on condition that he has a valid resident visa.
The above license conversion conditions are contingent on the age terms required for an Israeli driver’s license (17, for a private car). One who has a foreign driver’s license and is younger than this age, can convert his license only when he reaches the minimum age, and for a vehicle that conforms to his license level.
Important! One whose Israeli driver’s license was exchanged for a foreign license, will not have to fulfill the requirements imposed on a new driver.
Important note: If you want to drive in Israel but you do not fulfill the conditions listed above for converting your driver’s license, you will have to go through the same licensing procedures like any Israeli who is getting his driver’s license for the first time in his life who will have to take (expensive) driving lessons and a written test and a driving test.
|To print how to convert your driver’s license, click here.|
Important: In every application, one must bring an identity card or passport with a visa valid for at least three months, and a valid computerized driving license with a picture.
|1 .An applicant who does not have an identity card (i.e. a tourist) must first approach the Licensing Office branch close to his place of residence in order to get a valid identity card number. Afterwards he can access a list of photo stations authorized by the Ministry of Transportation close to his place of residence in order to fill out a green form (Licensing Office form 18).
2. Go to one of the scanning stations licensed by the Transportation Ministry close to where you live in order to fill out a Green Form (form 18). For the list of licensed scanning stations and their reception hours, click here. Remember! There is no need for either a family doctor or an ophthalmologist to sign on the Green Form.
3. Once you have the form, go to the Misrad HaRishui Conversion Department. For a list of Misrad HaRishui offices in Israel and their hours of reception, click here.
Bring the following documents:
You passed the mivchan shlita? Congratulations!
Now, go with the application form to the Misrad HaRishui and get a driver's permit (a temporary driver's license). You will be able to drive after paying the fee.
What is the mivchan shlita?
One who wants to convert his foreign driving license must do a driving test (“mivchan shlita”) in addition to bringing the necessary documents.
Mivchan shlita - A short driving test lasting a quarter of an hour in which the driver is tested on how he drives his car and proper road behavior according to the conditions and laws in Israel. (The test time is a short 15 minutes and the fee for the test is 68 NIS.)
One can take the test up to two times. If one failed twice, he must do both the theoretical test and the regular driving test (the fee is 141 NIS) like everyone else applying for a driver’s license although he is exempt from taking the minimum number of lessons required from new drivers.
It is recommended to take one or two driving lessons before the driving test with an experienced driving teacher to refresh one’s driving skills (especially if one hasn’t driven in a long time) and to correct any problematic driving habits which one may have acquired over the years which might cause him to fail the driving test.
Important: If the foreign license holder of a 1C commercial type driver's license twice fails the driver's test for this level, and he wishes to give up the conversion of his license to level 1C and instead convert it to the level of a private vehicle - he has the option to perform two additional driver's tests on a private vehicle.
|Period of validity for an Israeli driver’s license that was converted from a foreign driver’s license:|
For a tourist – His license is temporary and valid for only six months, or until the date when his resident visa expires (whichever occurs first). He can renew it again at the end of that period.
An immigrant and returning resident – The driver’s license is permanent and valid for ten years. (Converting a driver’s license at an older age will sometimes be valid for less time.)
|The authority that has the power to disqualify a license:|
The courts. The Misrad ha-Rishui. Israel police.
Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety - Misrad HaRishui.
National information center — to get a human response.
To call by telephone: You can call from all networks to: * 5678.
Citizens living abroad can call: + 972-3-9695678.
Questions and Answers:
Can I drive with a foreign driving license after living a year in Israel
No, you must convert your license to an Israeli driver's license.
How long is my driver's license that I converted to an Israeli license valid
Six months, or until your current visa expires, whichever is first. This doesn’t apply to an immigrant and returning resident driver’s license which is valid for ten years.
What does a mivchan shlita (driver’s test) cost
What is the mivchan shlita (driver’s test)
A short practical driving test, about a quarter of an hour, in which the driver’s control of his vehicle, and his behavior in Israeli road conditions, is examined to see if it is in accordance with the law.
A tourist went abroad during the year; can he restart counting the year he may use his foreign license when he returns
If you are gone for at least three months, you can start counting your year again.
How long can I drive in Israel with my foreign driver's license
You can drive in Israel using your foreign license only for a year after coming to Israel.
Until when can I convert my current foreign driver's license
A tourist and returning resident, for up to a year. An immigrant, for up to three years from when he immigrated.
I failed my driver’s test. Can I do it again
You can take up to two driver’s tests. After two failures, you will also have to pass a theory test like all Israeli citizens.
I went over the time I was permitted to convert my foreign license. What should I do now
You will have to take 28 compulsory classes, a driving test and a theoretical test like all Israeli citizens.
A tourist who wants to convert his driver's license, must have a current visa for how long
A tourist visa that is valid for three months is enough.