Moving to Israel From US

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Introduction

If you are moving to Israel or planning to move to Israel sometime in the future, then kol tov (all the best)! We know you will have a pleasant experience because truly, what’s not to like about Israel?

Jerusalem, being the Holy Land to three awesome religions, is truly a wonder of its own. How about the Dead Sea, the lowest part of the earth, where thousands of people come to join other Israelis to have a ‘good float‘ and clothe themselves in the cosmetic power of its mud? 

Or, would you rather move to Tel Aviv, where all the coolest stuff truly happens? Certainly, if you are moving to Israel or just hoping to visit, you will be lost in the marvels of this beautiful Middle Eastern country where the religious meet the secular and the Eastern embraces the Western. But what happens if you are an American, can Americans move to Israel?

Israel, unlike some other countries, is not an immigration country. So, as an American moving to Israel, you will have to meet the Aliyah requirements if you have Jewish roots, but if you don’t, you can either move to Israel by applying for a work visa, student visa, volunteer visa, tourist visa, or special investor visa.

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How to Move to Israel from USA

Visa

American traveling to Israel does not need a visa if he intends to stay in Israel for 90 days. All that is required is a valid passport that would remain authentic for six months after his departure. 

Once he arrives at the airport in Israel, he would be offered a free 90-day tourist visa. However, if he intends to stay in Israel for more than 90 days, then he would have to check the available visa options, which include, A/2 Student Visa, A/1 Temporary Resident Visa (Aliyah), A/3 Clergy Visa, A/4 Spouses and Children Visa, B/1 Work Visa, or the special investor visa.

To obtain a visa to Israel, you need the following documents, visa application form, proof of funds, a valid passport, two passport-sized photographs, a birth certificate, all old, canceled, or expired passports that you hold, flight bookings, and visa application fee. The cost of an Israeli visa is quite affordable. Here is a table revealing the costs of an Israeli visa.

Visa Type
Cost ($)
A/3 Clergy Visa
47.00
A/4 Temporary Visa
47.00
B/3 Visa
24.00
Group Visa – Per Person
7.00
Group Visa
24.00
A/2 Student Visa
47.00
B/2 Visitor Visa
24.00
Separate Form – B/2 Visa
24.00
B/4 Volunteer Visa
24.00
B/5 Permitted to Work (Foreign Investor Rules)
205.00
B/52 Permitted to Work Unrestrictedly
205.00
B/51 Permitted to Work (foreign Investor Rules- Employee)
205.00
B/53 Foreign Investor Rules – Child
205.00
Permanent Residence Visa
191.00
Permanent Residence Visa – Per Person
23.00
A/5 Temporary Residence Visa
47.00

Cost of Living in Israel vs USA

According to Expatistan, Israel is 6% more expensive than the United States. Also, based on Expatistan’s analysis, Israel is the second most expensive country in the Middle East and the cost of living in Israel is more expensive than 83% of countries in the world. 

This means that as an American moving to Israel from USA, you will have to save enough money and stick to a practical but strict budget. However, it is pertinent to note that regardless of how expensive Israel might be,  the living expenses could double up or reduce considerably depending on your lifestyle and choices. 

If you spend more time touring this beautiful country, eating out (entertainment is 13% more expensive in Israel than in the US), or shopping (clothes are 6% more expensive in Israel), your total living expenses will increase to a significant level. 

Conversely, if you plan your budget and stick to it, your total living expenses could reduce. Here is a table that explicitly shows a comparative analysis of the average monthly cost of living in Israel and the US.

Average Monthly Cost of Living
Cost in Israel ($)
Cost in the US ($)
Family of four
5,051.23
4,622.00
Single person
2,703.99
2,615.00

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Jobs in Israel (Checklist along with their Salaries)

The Israeli job market is quite competitive, and with an average annual salary of 237,239 ILS, which is 71,312.56 USD, the job market got more appealing. 

However, it will do you a lot of good to know what jobs are common in Israel to enable you to know what awaits you as an American moving to Israel from USA. So, here is a table showing the list of the common jobs in Israel and their average annual salaries. 

Jobs
ILS
USD
Software Engineer
293,070
88,063.78
Accountant
117,450
35,292.22
Computer Programmer
161,500
48,528.68
Marketing Manager
149,330
44,880.10
Architect
229,480
68,968.63
Product Manager
297,305
89,352.96

Regardless of how appealing the Israeli job market may be, there are some things you have to do to ensure that you get yourself a job quickly. 

Even though the Israeli job market is occupied by scientists and engineers, you could increase the chances of getting a job as a foreigner by customizing your CV to meet the Israeli requirements and by learning Hebrew (though English is widely spoken, Hebrew remains the language of the people).

Tax System in Israel

The taxation system in Israel is on an individual level unlike before; the tax system in Israel used to be on a territorial scale, and tax is levied on the income earned in Israel or outside the country (abroad). 

With Israel being one of the highest-taxed countries in the world, 25% is levied on the income of Israelis based on how much they earn. This, however, means that the more one earns, the more one is taxed.

In calculating the income tax, the annual or monthly salary is considered. If one’s monthly salary ranges from 0-6,310, he is taxed at a 10% rate, if the salary ranges from 6,311-9,050, he is taxed at a 14% rate. More details in the table below.

Tax Rate %
Average Monthly Salary (ILS)
10
0-6,310
14
6,311-9,050
20
9,051-14,530
31
14,531-20,200
35
20,201-42,030
47
42,031-54,130
50
Over 54,130

Apart from the Income Tax, there are other taxes in Israel, which are shown in the table below.

  • Income Tax
  • Value added Tax (17%)
  • LAnd Appreciation Tax
  • Purchase Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax

Life in Israel for Americans

An American who’s considering moving to Israel from America is permitted to live in Israel for six months without a visa. 

But it’s most likely that you would love to stay a little longer after savoring all the beauties of this Startup Nation. Many people do feel the need to extend their stay because of all the comfort and sunshine they get from Israel. 

Life in Israel is very different from what you experienced or had in the US. For instance, in Israel, you will need to sacrifice your Sunday relaxation as the working days are between Sundays and Thursdays.  

You also have to understand that Saturdays are considered a day for rest and most stores are closed. Also, you’d have to get used to spending a little too much on clothes, food, and entertainment because these items are more expensive in Israel, and generally, Israel is expensive to live in.  This is why most Israelis find it difficult to buy properties.

Shipping to Israel from USA

The cost of shipping to Israel from the USA solely depends on the weight of the item and the shipping company or courier you are using. If you decided to utilize a tracked mail service, which happens to be the cheapest method of shipping your package or item to Israel from the US, the shipping costs could reduce to a significant level. 

The tracked mail service is cheaper because the final delivery is the local postal service. Conversely, a standard courier service would cost more. In shipping your package or item to Israel, ensure to check for the best courier company that offers the best service at an affordable price.  

Nonetheless, here is a table showing the cost of shipping a package to Israel based on Parcel Monkey.

Weight
Price ($)
Service
1lb
26.10
Light Packet
5lb
56.23
EMS Parcel Post
10lb
80.05
EMS Parcel Post
20lb
125.39
EMS Parcel Post
30lb
176.96
EMS parcel Post

Israel Healthcare System

Israel has a universal healthcare system and provides universal health coverage to its citizens and residents. This is why every Israeli citizen or resident must seek public health insurance. 

However, the public health scheme does not cover dental or optical services. This is why most people prefer to get private insurance coverage to give them access to amenities or health services that aren’t included in the public scheme.

The healthcare system in Israel is free and available to all citizens. However, you don’t have to worry if you are not a citizen. As long as you are legally employed in Israel, the law states that your employer must provide health insurance for you as part of your employment packages. 

So, Israel’s free and universal healthcare is funded by taxes and employers deduct the cost of healthcare automatically from their employees’ salaries.

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Travel Restrictions to Israel from US

Owing to the global pandemic that struck the world, some travel restrictions must be adhered to for your safety and the safety of Israel. Recently, Israel’s travel restrictions are being eased, and unlike before, Israelis trapped abroad are permitted to return via air. 

According to the Times of Israel, Israelis and foreign nationals trapped abroad are to self-isolate at home instead of state-run hotels once they arrive in Israel. 

Failure to do this could lead to a fine. It is pertinent to note that foreign nationals must have an entry clearance before entering Israel and must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result to the airline staff. 

However, as regards foreigners, the Israeli government is yet to lift the travel ban, but only essential travels are permitted. Also, tourists who are in Israel must leave before their visas expire, and only in rare cases will a tourist visa be extended. 

Nonetheless, before entering Israel, you must make sure you present a negative Covid-19 test result that was taken 72 hours before your arrival. Face Masks are another necessity for anyone entering the country; ensure to wear your facemasks, and most importantly, don’t forget to self-isolate for 10-14 days.

Conclusion

Israel is certainly a beautiful country with loads of opportunities for you. Although it could be a lot different from the United States, and you would have to get used to so many things like, not being able to eat what you want whenever you want (religious festivals affect the activities of stores and restaurants), going to work on Sundays (the working days are so different from that of the US), having to trek all the way to your destination on Shabbat, hearing people argue over little things (Israelis love to argue and are quite blunt), Israel is still a fascinating country.

 Despite all these, the pros or benefits of moving to Israel outweigh all the cons. With time, you will get used to enjoying all the religious festivals and the chatters and arguments of friendly Israelis in the restaurant while having the popular Falafel.  

You will also get used to enjoying the 137 beaches in this sunny Middle Eastern country. Give it time and Israel could make you forget how fun life was in the US because life in Israel is more interesting, and of course, to some extent, safer than some western countries. If you eventually get yourself to the Holy Land, mazel tov!

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