A foreign driver’s license (including an international license) is only valid in Israel for a period of one year (from the date of first entry); before this year expires, one needs to convert his foreign license to an Israeli driver’s license. Note that insurance coverage may depend on it.
Since June 2017, the Ministry of Transportation has introduced a policy for foreign journalists who hold a valid B1 visa and a GPO card – they are now exempt from the road test (as well as the theory test) when converting their driver’s license. The conversion process is now straightforward and conditioned only on an eye test and general medical examination. No fees will be charged for the conversion process; the eye test costs NIS 50 and the Israeli license itself costs NIS 226 for 5 years.
• The minimum remaining period on your B1 visa required for the beginning of the conversion process is three months. We recommend renewing your B1 visa and GPO card just before converting your driver’s license.
• Converting to Israeli license does not mean that you have to give up your foreign national license – it remains valid.
The conversion process is as follows:
1. Unlike Israelis who
must set an appointment, foreign nationals do not, and can visit one of the four
Ministry of Transportation district licensing offices without an appointment:
Jerusalem: 10 Haoman Street, Talpiot (Ms Yana is known to be helpful)
Holon (center): 1 Halokhamim Street
Haifa: 2 Edison Street
Be’er Sheva: 5 Hamanof Street
- Reception times: Sun-Thu 8:00-13:00; Tuesdays also 15:30-18:00
Ask for an identity number (called an “89” number as it begins with these digits). In order to receive such a number, the applicant must present: A) a valid foreign license (if your license is not also in English, an international license is necessary), B) a passport with a valid B1 visa and C) a valid GPO card.
2. After receiving an identity number, visit one of the dozens of photo stations nationwide which have an arrangement with the Ministry of Transportation. Have your photo taken, free of charge, and receive a “green form” for driver’s license – free of charge.
3. With your “green form” go to an optometrist and have your eyes checked; most of the photo stations are located inside optometrists shops so you could have both done at once (NIS 50 for the eye check). Lastly, have your doctor confirm your general medical status and sign the green form as well.
4. Now that you have a “green form” with identity number, a photo and two signatures (doctor & optometrist), return to one of the four Ministry of Transportation district licensing offices to complete the license conversion process. A temporary paper license (valid for six months) will be issued on the spot and becomes valid upon stamping the payment (NIS 80 per year).
5. The Israeli plastic driver’s license, valid for 5 years and bearing your photo, will be sent to you by post to the address you have given to the Ministry of Interior upon your B1 visa application. The permanent plastic license should be received within a month (if it is not – inquire at 08-9949700) – but meanwhile your paper license is valid. Congratulations!