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Converting a Foreign Driver’s License to an Israeli Driver’s License
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 elapses, one needs to convert his foreign license to an Israeli driver’s license. Note that insurance coverage may depend on it.
Since 2017, the Ministry of Transportation 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 a general medical examination. No fees will be charged for the conversion process; the eye test costs 50 NIS and the Israeli license itself costs about 226 NIS for 5 years.
The conversion process is as follows:
1. Go to the automated kiosk at your preferred license office and generate an identity number (called an “89” number as it begins with these digits).
2. Complete the online driver’s license application and health declaration (only available in Hebrew as far as the GPO can tell – apologies) using your identity number.
3. Take an eyesight test (50 NIS) and get your free license photo at one of the dozens of photo stations nationwide, which have an arrangement with the Ministry of Transportation. Most of the photo stations are located inside optometrist shops so you can have both done at once.
4. Set up an appointment via My Visit site, at your preferred license office, using your identification number (89XXXXXXX). You will be asked to 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 valid for at least 3 months, and C) a valid GPO card.
There were cases when an applicant was also required to present an “Israel entry and exit report,” if this is your case, such a document can be obtained at the Population and Immigration Office (where you get your B1 visa, so it is a good idea to ask for it just in case upon the renewal of your visa).
5. A temporary paper license (valid for six months) will be issued on the spot at the license office and becomes valid upon stamping the payment (it’s about 80 NIS per year, to be paid at any postal office).
6. 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 does not – inquire at 08 9949700) – but meanwhile your paper license is valid. Congratulations!