Archives for category: Israeli bureaucracy

We took advantage of Noah’s last school vacation for one last trip before our time here is over. We took a long weekend to Eilat & Jordan, via the Akaba border crossing. We flew Israir from Haifa to Eilat Thurs. morning, and we were at our hotel by 10am. Otherwise it would have been a 6 hr drive. Eilat reminded us a little of Cancun and a little of Las Vegas, in the sense that it is a resort town seemingly sprung out of nothing in the middle of nowhere. But without the gambling or the alcoholics.

The Red Sea, the city of Eilat, the mountains of the Negev all in one stunning view.

The main attractions of Haifa revolve around the water, which meant that many things were not an option for us since Noah doesn’t swim yet. Instead we took a tour of the coral reefs in the Red Sea in a glass bottom boat, which is one good option if snorkeling is out.

Coral reef, Red Sea, Eilat, Israel

School of fish, Red Sea, Eilat, Israel

Keep in mind that these pictures were taken through a window and you get a sense of how remarkably clear the water was.

We ended our day with a swim at the hotel and got ready for an early start to the next day.


Or, we learned this the hard way, so you don’t have to.

1. If you and your spouse/partner have different last names, you must bring a copy of your marriage certificate.

2. If the mother and child have different last names, you must bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

3. If you are Jewish, bring with you a copy of a letter “from your home community” (from the rabbi of your synagogue will suffice) asserting that you are Jewish and belong to a Jewish community in the US. With proof of Jewishness, your visa extension will be free, rather than approx. 200NIS per person or more for multiple-entry visas.  But, they will ask for more information and take 2-3 weeks to investigate your background.  You’ll have to return.

4. When you make your appointment at the interior ministry, you must specify the number of people (including children) who need visa renewals. One appointment for the whole family is not sufficient.  (Actually, it’s probably fine,  but getting this right will give the people in the office one less reason to be rude to you. They are resourceful and will find another.)

5. Do not attempt to make an appointment with the interior ministry cold. Your university/institute should make the appointment on your behalf. Make sure you specify to them how many appointments they need to make (see #4 above).

6. If your spouse is affiliated with a different university/institute, then s/he should not take care of visa business separately. Take care of it as a family via one institute and do not involve the other institute.