Interior Ministry stops foreign entry applications till after Sukkot

The Population and Immigration Authority of the Interior Ministry has stopped accepting entry permit applications from foreigners for entry into Israel and will reopen the application process in two weeks’ time. 

A spokeswoman for the Population Authority said that since government offices will be closed over the Yom Kippur and Sukkot holidays and that applications would therefore not be processed, there was no point in accepting applications at this time. 

The first working day after Sukkot is September 29. 

Applications can still be made through the Foreign Ministry’s application forms, which are processed by the relevant embassy or consulate, and in some cases by staff in the Foreign Ministry itself. 

As of August 31, the Population Authority said there were some 3,000 pending entry permit applications. 

Israelis at Ben-Gurion Airport as coronavirus cases increase, August 5, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)Israelis at Ben-Gurion Airport as coronavirus cases increase, August 5, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)

Over recent months the application process has become extremely difficult, with many applications unanswered, or answered at the last possible moment creating serious difficulties for those seeking to enter the country to see relatives and attend family celebrations. 

The Interior Ministry has not designated extra manpower to the Population Authority to deal with the applications, despite the body having to deal with tens of thousands of such applications since Ben-Gurion Airport was reopened to foreign nationals with first-degree relatives in Israel in April this year. 

The Foreign Ministry has declined to say whether it has allocated extra manpower to embassies and consulates, while Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office has said questions as to whether the government will provide extra staff for processing applications should be directed to the Interior and Foreign ministries.

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