Israel to Welcome Unvaccinated Travelers Again Next Month
Israel will welcome unvaccinated travelers next month, relaxing one of the strictest border policies in the world.
Starting March 1, Israel will allow both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers into the country, according to the Prime Minister's Office. This reverses Israel's previous policy of welcoming vaccinated — and boosted — international tourists as well as travelers who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered within three months.
"We are seeing a steady decline in the morbidity data; therefore, this is the time to gradually open what we were the first in the world to close," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement. "At the moment, the situation in Israel is good. This is the result of correct and dynamic management; therefore, we are now opening up. At the same time, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and in the event of a new variant, we will again act quickly."
Going forward, all travelers will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken before their departure as well as undergo a second PCR test upon landing in Israel. All visitors will have to quarantine in their hotel until they receive the results from their on-arrival test or for up to 24 hours, whichever comes first, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism shared with Travel + Leisure.
As it currently stands, vaccinated travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours or a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours before their flight, as well as get tested with another PCR test upon arrival, while travelers who contracted COVID-19 and recovered can show proof of that instead of a PCR test. Travelers must also fill out an entry statement form within 48 hours of their departure.
"We are thrilled that the government is taking the necessary steps to fully reopen Israel to all travelers around the world," Eyal Carlin, the tourism commissioner for North America, said in a statement provided to T+L. "This ease in restrictions allows for more travelers to enter our country while also ensuring the health and wellbeing of all. Despite the country's closure over the past two years, we are back and better than ever and travelers can expect refurbished historical sites with increased accessibility, new hotels, new museums and more."
Beyond easing entry protocols, Israel has also eliminated the need to show its "green pass," or digital proof of vaccination, to enter places like restaurants and tourist attractions, according to the Ministry of Health.
Currently, the country is seeing a decrease in both cases and hospitalizations, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still classifies Israel as a "Level 4" country, warning Americans to "avoid" traveling there due to "very high" levels of COVID-19 transmission.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.