Contact us

Do you have a question or are facing a problem? Do you have an idea how we can optimize our service? We would be happy if you would get in touch with us by email.
Contact us

Guide to Customs Benefits for Immigrants

What are Customs?

Customs - is a tax levied on the import or export of goods. Its main purpose is to protect domestic production against competing imports. It is a source of income for the state.

The tax is calculated as a percent of an object’s worth, called the VAT (Value Added Tax), or as a flat purchase tax called the fixed tax. Sometimes, when both are calculated together, it is called the mixed tax.

When you arrive in Israel after claiming your luggage, you exit the Arrival Hall through one of the following two lanes:

The Green Lane :

You can go through the green lane and not have to pay tax only when you are carrying permitted personal effects of the kinds and quantities listed below.

Your entering the green lane is a statement that you have only the permitted types and quantities of items prescribed by law.

The Red Lane:

If you have any items to declare and pay taxes for, you must go through the red lane.

If you are unsure which track to choose? Go to the red lane!

Remember ! Importing objects and / or amounts against the law, is a criminal offense for which you will pay an administrative penalty or face prosecution, and / or confiscation of goods.

Customs benefits for an immigrant

As part of promoting and encouraging Jewish immigration to Israel, Israel gives immigrants and / or the others listed below the right to full (and sometimes partial) tax exemptions for the belongings in their possession.

Please note! An immigrant can exercise his benefit rights from the day he officially immigrated to three years after the date he came to Israel.

His rights are set down in the Law of Personal Imports, and depend on his status, age, and marital status on his official day of entry to Israel for the first time, which appears in his entry document.

Conditions to receive immigrant status for Customs

An immigrant - is an Israeli resident aged 17 and over who enters Israel with an immigrant visa under the Law of Return. He

•  An immigrant certificate or a certificate showing he is in the process of getting immigrant status, or a returning minor certificate.

•  A passport showing the official status he entered Israel with or an immigrant visa issued by an Israeli mission abroad.

•  A citizen born abroad and a returning minor — One must ensure one has a valid Israeli passport and Israeli passports for children born abroad, as long as one resided abroad continuously until his official date of entry to Israel, and didn’t visit intermittently or consecutively for four months of each year before his final entry into Israel.

•  For marrieds — the passport of one’s spouse.

•  A returning / immigrant minor — parents’ passports and parents’ affidavit.

•  A filled-out declaration form detailing one’s belongings (Form 130). You can get a sample form at our office or download it here.

Others who qualify for benefits like an immigrant

A returning minor - A minor who left with his parents (or one parent who has custody of the minor) before reaching 14 years old, was 17 years or older when he received this status, and had lived abroad for at least four consecutive years before his official return to Israel, his legal status is akin to an immigrant providing that if he hadn’t been an Israeli citizen, he would have been eligible to become an immigrant under the Law of Return.

This is conditional on the minor's parents not going abroad for five years for the purpose of assuming an Israeli government or organization position overseas before the minor returned to Israel.

It is also contingent on his parents not working for a private or public Israeli employer in a business registered abroad but whose control and management is operated in Israel, or whose business name is identical to the name of a corporation that was registered in the past in Israel, or had the identical business name as (or is fundamentally identical to) the name of the company where his parents worked in Israel.

A returning minor can visit up to four consecutive months in any calendar year in the four years before his request to change his status, and in addition is entitled to special visits including studies at an accredited institution and military service.

An immigrant citizen — One who is age 17 and older who was born abroad to a parent who is an Israeli citizen, is eligible to receive an "immigrant" status under the Law of Return if it wasn’t that he is already an Israeli citizen, and he lived abroad continuously from his birth until his entry to Israel, and visited Israel not more than four months a year, his status is akin to that of an immigrant.

A permanent resident — who possesses a visa and a permanent residence permit under the Law of Entry to Israel.

Conditions for importing tax exempt personal effects when you enter Israel (green lane)

•  Personal belongings - such as clothing, footwear, and personal toiletries, of the types and quantities that any person might bring.

•  Wines and beverages - up to 1 liter of an alcoholic beverage and 2 liters of wine for a person aged 18 and over.

• Alcoholic perfumes - up to ¼ liter per person.

•  Tobacco of any kind - whose weight does not exceed 250 g, up to 200 cigarettes in one packet for persons 18 years and older.

•  New items for personal use or as a gift for another person, whose worth does not exceed $200 (US) - for each person entering, age two and older.

The exemption is individual for each person, and one can not combine the amounts of those entering Israel together to get a tax exemption for an object worth more than $200.

The tax duty on an object whose value is more than $200, is for the full value of the object instead of the amount over $200.

•  Used objects for personal use that belong to the passengers, such as a camera, camcorder, laptop, TV, personal jewelry, musical instruments, baby stroller, sports equipment, non-motor bike, etc.
• Food - up to three types of food, as long as they don’t exceed 1 kg of each type.

Note : The tax exemption for the personal effects mentioned above which allow you to pass through the green lane is only if you brought the items with you when you arrived in Israel. In other cases, you must go through the red lane

Conditions for importing "household items"

Household items -  includes standard objects that are used in an apartment, including home sports equipment (home gyms, bikes, tennis equipment, etc.) and home office equipment, such as a printer, fax, etc. "Until one item of any kind "and the following conditions:

•  Devices and tools which are industrial in nature or are not usually found in an apartment or backyard can not be imported duty-free from Customs. These include plumbing goods, construction materials, flooring, wallpaper or wall coverings, tiles, etc.

If in doubt, one should check in advance with Customs whether the exemption applies, and whether the object in question is eligible for a "household goods" exemption.

•  Two shipments only — A "shipment" can be a container, and it can also be a small cardboard box.

Delivery of a single tax-free cardboard box will be considered as utilizing one shipment of the two permitted shipments. The personal household items in your personal luggage (about 50 pounds) when you enter Israel will not be charged taxes and will not be considered as one shipment which is deducted from the duty-free two shipments. However, you have to go through the red lane to declare the goods.

The entitlement to two shipments are for a family whose members have the same status.

•  A family can import one item of every kind of electric and electronic appliance but may have two televisions and two personal computers. Likewise for major furniture items.

•  You must furnish proof that you have your own home in Israel (you have to present a document that shows you are an apartment owner or you have to show a contract for a rented apartment that bears a stamp duty).

•  All the import items and documents must be registered in your name.

•  Within one year of your entry to Israel, you must report for compulsory army service, or prove that you are exempt from reporting for army service.

•  All the things that are released with you must be for your use in Israel for a period of at least six years (for car imports, the period of personal use in Israel is for 4 years) and must be of a reasonable quantity when they are released from Customs, as stipulated in Customs regulations.

•  One may not transfer the objects to others before the end of the eligibility period, with or without remuneration.

•  You must make a declaration and detailed list of all the objects in your luggage.

•  The Tax Authority may require, at its discretion, and for a period determined by the Authority, that you deposit a bank or other guarantee to ensure compliance with the conditions.

Conditions for importing household goods by mail delivery

If you get a mail delivery which contains household items (as defined above), the mail delivery will be considered as one of the two shipments that you are entitled to duty-free.

However, if the mail package sent to Israel contains only personal items such as clothing and footwear, it will not subtract from your eligibility to receive two duty-free shipments of household items.

This is provided that the mail package arrived from 30 days before your arrival in Israel until three months after your date of arrival.

Items forbidden to import

Objects forbidden to import to Israel include:

•  A knife, except for a pocket knife, a knife designated for use with your profession, or for household purposes, or any other legitimate purpose.

•  A laser speedometer jammer.

•  Firearms that appear like a pen or starting pistol, or that operate on gas, etc.

•  A tear gas canister that looks like a firearm.

•  Prohibited gambling / lottery games.

•  Explosives and flammable substances, and similar dangerous objects.

•  Live creatures such as poisonous snakes.

•  Tools used in the preparation or consumption of a dangerous substance.

•  Break-in or indecent items.

•  Forged and counterfeit coins and documents.

•  Dangerous toys.

•  Objects that may incite violence, terrorism or racism.

•  Objects that show identification or sympathy with terrorist groups.

Objects whom an authorized authority must approve for import

There are objects that must meet the criteria set by an authorized authority to be imported, such as:

•  Gas grill (barbecue) - if certified by the Standards Institute.

•  Mobile phone - with the approval of the Ministry of Communications.

•  Motorized scooter - if certified by the Ministry of Transport.

•  Meat, milk, and fresh fish - with the approval of the Ministry of Health.

•  Fruits, vegetables, and plants -  if certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.

•  Drugs - with the approval of the Ministry of Health.

•  Raw materials - with the approval of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Sometimes they will require an individual import authorization / license. To clarify the criteria, you should check with the relevant authorized authority.

Conditions for importing hand tools

During one’s period of entitlement, one can import tools duty-free (that are not considered part of one’s personal luggage) provided that the tools are designated for one’s professional needs, and they are tools carried by hand whose value does not exceed an amount equal to $1,650 - according to their value in the Customs price list.

Conditions for importing devices and machines for a business

Machinery, devices, and tools needed to start a business in Israel, of the kind used in industry, workshops, agriculture or other approved purposes, are duty-free under the following conditions:

•  One must deposit a bank guarantee of the amount of taxes due on tools of this type.

•  The value of all the equipment does not exceed $36,000 — including the hand tools (listed above).

•  The equipment will be used in the immigrant’s plant, and will be kept on the plant premises.

If the immigrant is not the sole owner of the plant, but a partner or shareholder of the plant, he must prove that he has at least 50% control of the said plant and is active at the plant.

In this case, the immigrant is entitled to rent to a plant the goods that he imported and released duty-free, provided that this fact is stated explicitly in the contract between the entitled person and the plant. The partnership or the company is entitled to use the goods as long as the immigrant is a partner or shareholder and he is himself active at the plant.

In the event of the dissolution of the partnership at the plant before the 5 year period from when the goods were released is up, the imported duty-free goods will remain in the possession of the immigrant, and will not be transferred to the possession or use of anyone else without the approval of the Israel Tax Authority, and after payment of applicable taxes.

Conditions for the duty-free purchase of household items in Israel

An immigrant is eligible to purchase household effects" in Israel duty-free, provided that they are produced in Israel, and provided that Customs approved his eligibility to purchase them.

An immigrant may exercise this right up until four years from the date he entered Israel.

He has to ask for an official price quotation, which he must present to the Customs office in his area to get a duty-free certificate.

Once he receives his eligibility form, he must submit it to the store to get the product without paying VAT.

Spouses who divorced during their period of eligibility will each be able to exercise their rights when purchasing household effects in Israel.

Conditions for bringing or sending money in and out of the country

According to the Law of Return, when an immigrant enters Israel the first time, he has to report if he has 1,250,000 NIS or more.

He must fill in a "Money entry and exit report" form (Customs Form 84). You can get a sample form at our office or download it here.

You can also receive the form at any one of the customs branches and customs units at border crossings.

Note : The Anti-Money Laundering Act stipulates that any large sum of money beyond what is permitted by law that enters the territory of Israel must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Authority. Although the entry of large amounts of cash is not a criminal offense, bringing in capital without reporting it is a criminal offense.

The obligation to report applies to both bringing money in and taking money out of Israel. Anyone who violates the reporting requirement is liable to six months imprisonment or a fine.

When you remove the money from Israel, you must submit the form prior to taking the money out of Israel.

When you bring the money to Israel, you must submit the form within 72 hours from receipt of the money.

Other conditions regarding import rights

An immigrant - who annulled his Israeli citizenship or whose citizenship was annulled before he finished the period of his eligibility and exercised his entitlements, if he left and re-entered Israel again he will be entitled to retain his rights as an immigrant (subject to the Law of Return Section 1-2).

But one who annulled his Israeli citizenship or whose citizenship was annulled after he finished the period of his eligibility without exercising his entitlements, and he left and entered Israel a second time, his status is like that of a returning resident. See the Guide to Customs for a Returning Resident.

An immigrant - who went abroad for more than six months in a row before ending his entitlement period, his stay abroad will not be deducted from his entitlement period and he can complete the entitlement days he missed when he was absent, after he returns to Israel.

An immigrant / returning minor - will be eligible for tax exemptions provided that on his entry to Israel he was at least 17 years old, and within one year of entry he reported for compulsory army service or showed he was exempt from enlisting, or began studies as a regular student in an institution of higher education within 18 months, and studied at least two consecutive years.

An immigrant / returning minor - who is a minor (before age 18) on the day he enters the country will be eligible for a tax exemption on a number of items that he brought with himself or close to the time he came, provided that they are for his own personal use in his room, such as furniture, a portable radio system, a small stereo, and musical instruments (except a piano and organ).

Other conditions related to a couple’s eligibility to import items:

•  An immigrant  is eligible for tax exemption benefits for home items that his / her spouse already utilized in the past before their marriage, provided that six years passed from the date the spouse utilized the benefit.

•  An exemption for one of the spouses will not be approved without checking the passport of the other spouse even if only one of them has eligibility status.

•  Spouses who entered the country together or individually after they had separated, or are in the middle of divorce proceedings, shall be considered as married, and will have to present the passport of the other spouse.

•  One who is entitled and comes to Israel without his / her spouse, and would like to receive the Customs rights of a returning citizen, has to come equipped with a Customs form "Permit for a spouse living in Israel to exercise the spouse’s eligibility”, with the spouse’s notarized signature or a statement made in the presence of Israeli consul abroad. He should attach a photocopy of the passport of his / her spouse who remained overseas (Form 142). You can receive a sample form at our office or download it here.

Contact information:

Below is a list of Customs branches:

Jerusalem Customs branch — 66 Kanfei Nesharim, Jerusalem. 02-6545555.

Center Customs branch — 3A Israel Galili, Rishon Lezion. 03-9421666.

Haifa Customs branch — Port Gate 3, Haifa. 04-8354811.

Ashdod Customs branch — 2 HaBanaim St., Forum Building, Ashdod. 08-8510610.

Ben Gurion Airport Customs branch — Ben Gurion Airport, Lod. 03-9751111.

Eilat Customs branch — Eilat port, Eilat. 08-6383888.

Questions and Answers:
For how long can I utilize my rights to customs benefits
Until 3 years from the date of immigration.
Does one entitled to a tax benefit have to show his spouse’s passport
If I travel abroad, will I lose my immigrant status
Yes. Visits of more than 4 consecutive and cumulative months per year before receiving your status as an immigrant can affect your customs benefits.
An immigrant who came under the Law of Return and left Israel before his period of eligibility expired, it was annulled or he cancelled his citizenship before he had utilized his rights, and then he returned to Israel — can he utilize his rights in the future
Yes, he is entitled to use his rights later.
An immigrant who came under the Law of Return and left Israel after his period of eligibility expired, it was annulled or he cancelled his citizenship before he had utilized his rights, and then he returned to Israel — can he utilize his rights in the future?
No, his status is the same as a returning resident.
Email is must
Invalid email
Last name is must
First name is must
Phone is must
Please confirm that you are not a robot